Hints for Whitest White Towels

By Nathan McGinty

A neat stack of white towels can bring a touch of class to any bathroom. The problem with white towels is that they don't tend to stay that way. Since they're white, the towels pick up every trace of dirt and stain they come into contact with. These tips will help you keep towels their whitest.

Keep your towels looking their whitest with these tips

Get the blues

Believe it or not, you can make your laundry whiter by using a bluing process. Because they pick up every bit of dirt and stain, white fabrics begin to fade after a few uses. By adding specific blue dye to your laundry, you will give the towels a slightly bluish tint, which will make them appear more white. The process has been used for a number of years and, since it doesn't use any harsh chemicals, is safe on the environment. Follow the manufacturer's directions for the right amount to apply. To use Mrs. Stewart's bluing, for example, dilute a few drops into a quart of water and then add this diluted mixture to the washer.

Baking soda and lemon juice

No, it's not time to make a cake. Lemon juice (an acid) and baking soda (a base) can help keep your towels their whitest. Both of these work as natural bleach to help get rid of stains and dirt. Dump one-third cup of baking soda or one-fourth cup of lemon juice (one or the other, not both) into the washer when you add the detergent.


Try presoaking your white towels in a bathtub full of hot water. As the tub is filling, pour in one measure of your normal detergent. Add your towels. Allow them to sit for about half an hour. Be sure to rinse out all the soap. Then wash as normal.

Hot. hot, hot

Gather your white towels together and wash them on the hottest setting. Don't wash any other clothes or anything colored with them, as they can be damaged by the hot water.

Bleach is the word

Bleach is the old, familiar standby. Use about a cup per load and add it either directly to the wash or through the bleach dispenser, if your machine has one. If you have a top-loading washer, you can also try this trick: Add your bleach and washing detergent as normal. Don't add the clothes yet. Allow the machine to run for a few minutes. This allows all the detergent and bleach to distribute evenly through the water. Then add your towels.