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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Brightening White Towels: Your Questions

By Dr. Laundry September 23, 2008

Q: My husband likes to use a white washcloth in the shower on a daily basis. After a few launderings, the washcloth soon turns gray. I periodically bleach the cloths in hot water and Clorox Bleach, but, after a time, this no longer works. What is the best way to keep these washcloths looking clean and bright longer?

A: First off, make sure you’re using a good detergent. If you have hard water, you might consider moving to a powdered detergent. This type of detergent contains ingredients called builders that make the water softer when faced with complex water. Interestingly, better cleaning happens in soft water. Also, you might want to add a little extra detergent to make sure you’re in a good cleaning environment. This helps if you have a heavy soil load. It also helps prevent re-deposition of removed soil back onto the “cleaned” cloth.

Here are a few additional suggestions to consider:

  • Don’t overpack the washer — too much laundry means the detergent can’t get to all the stains/soils to remove them.
  • ALWAYS wash whites in HOT water. The hotter the water the better the removal.
  • I am a strong believer in adding bleach to EVERY white load — wash EVERY white load in hot water with detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 to help finish the job.