There is something classy and elegant about a clean, white bra. Unfortunately, it may be hard to keep white bras their original color, and they frequently turn yellow or tan as they age. One solution is to opt for ivory rather than white, which is much better at hiding the yellow color that creeps into bra fabrics as they age. If you love the classic look of white, however, several ways help keep your bra looking bright, and bluing agents may make it possible to restore previously white bras that have faded with time.
Clean Your Washer
White bras can be hand-washed in a clean sink or washed on the delicate cycle in a washing machine. But hard water deposits and detergent buildup can leave a mess inside the machine that could transfer to your whites. Clean the washing machine a few times a year by filling it with hot water and 2 cups of chlorine bleach. Run the machine through its longest cycles then fill it again with hot water, this time adding 2 cups of distilled white vinegar. Again, run the machine through its longest cycle.
Remember to clean dispensers, too, leaving them sit full of vinegar for a few minutes before the wash cycle or soaking them in white vinegar if they are removable.
Wash Your Whites Every Time
The oils and perspiration from your body turns whites yellow as does many deodorants and moisturizers. Although you may get away with wearing darker bras a second time, one of the best ways to keep white bras white is to wash them after every wear.
Always examine white bras before putting them in the washing machine and pretreat any visible stains. To pretreat, soak bras in a tub of warm, soapy water before washing. Use whatever mild detergent you plan to wash them with or dish soap as the pretreatment and rub stains with your fingertips to work the soap into the fabric. Allow the bras to soak for 10 minutes before washing them.
Employ Proper Washing Techniques
The easiest way to wash white bras is to toss them in the washing machine on the delicate cycle, but you must do this properly in order to protect the bras' color and shapes. First, hook the bras so they do not snag on other garments and place them in a mesh bag for extra protection. Place the bag in the washing machine with other white articles only, and use mild detergent and oxygen bleach. For extra whitening power, cut the bleach in half and add baking soda to make up the difference. Adding 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle also gives you an extra punch of whitening power. Wash the bras in the hottest water that is safe for the fabric.
Consider a Bluing Agent
To counteract the yellowing of white fabric that occurs over time, try adding a bluing agent to your laundry. A bluing agent is a very pale blue dye that counteracts the yellow coloration in aging white fabrics to make them white again. This is a good solution for your favorite old bras that are no longer white but worth saving. Purchase the bluing agent at your local grocery store or online, then follow the directions on the bottle.
Sunlight naturally bleaches and brightens whites, so hanging white bras outside to dry is a good way to help keep them white. If the weather doesn't allow this or if you don't want your neighbor to see your unmentionables, dry your white bras flat on a white towel. The towel must be white or you risk dye transferring from the towel onto the bra.