How to Whiten Yellowed Wool Fabric

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Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar

  • Water, preferably distilled or filtered

  • Spray bottle

Tip

You can also sponge the solution onto your woolens, or soak the entire piece in the solution if the whole thing is yellowed.

If the vinegar doesn't work, you can try peroxide, mixed in the same ratio and used the same way. Test it first; peroxide may damage some colors and wool blends.

To prevent yellowing, wash your woolens gently with a mild soap. Store them in a cool, dry place with plenty of air circulation and no direct sunlight.

Warning

Chlorine bleach won't whiten woolen fabrics; instead, it can create a yellowish cast that's difficult to remove.

Always test solutions on an inconspicuous spot to check for possible damage, color bleed or discoloration before cleaning the entire piece.

Work in a well-ventilated area to prevent fume buildup from vinegar.

If using peroxide, protect your clothing and surrounding surfaces from spills and splashes to prevent bleaching.

Do not place wool in the dryer -- it may cause the fabric to shrink or change shape.

White wool fabric can take on a yellow tinge over time. Age is the most common cause, but improper care hastens the process and makes the yellow discoloration more intense. Exposure to sunlight and storing white wool clothing, bedding or linens in an airtight space can also cause yellowing. Harsh cleaning products cause yellow stains on white wool. You can remove yellow discolorations caused by age and damage from wool fabrics with a simple, gentle cleaning process.

Step 1

Combine 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with 2 cups of water, and pour it into a spray bottle. It's best to use distilled or filtered water, which have no minerals or chemicals to discolor the wool.

Step 2

Lay your wool piece out flat -- surfaces such as the sink counter or tub work well. Lay the fabric or garment out as flat as possible.

Step 3

Use the spray bottle to saturate the yellowed areas with the vinegar and water solution. Completely saturate the fabric, and go past the edges of the yellow discolorations.

Step 4

Allow the solution to remain on the fabric for 10 minutes, and then wash either by hand or on the gentle cycle in cool water. Hang, or lay flat to dry.

Step 5

Once the fabric is dry, inspect the discolorations, and repeat the process if necessary. It may take several tries to completely remove the discolorations.

references & resources

Rochelle Karina

Rochelle Karina has been writing for more than 20 years; her opinion and humor pieces have been published in local newspapers and international magazines. Karina was the creative force and principal writer behind the eco-design and decor blog Inspired Habitat. A San Diego native now living in Baltimore, she currently maintains several relationship blogs and has completed two novels, as well as writing for Demand.