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Ask Dr. Laundry

How to treat white denim/white pants at the end of summer

By Dr. Laundry August 29, 2012

On Monday, I gave some tips on how to store your summer apparel to ensure they are ready to wear next Memorial Day. Today, I wanted to provide some extra tips on how to best whiten a pair of white pants or denim. After three months of use, this popular style may have started to look a bit less crisp than at the start of summer. With some quick care tips, you can change this so they are ready for next year!

First, one final wash before storage is always a good idea—be sure to pretreat any stains before washing so you don’t have surprises next spring! Start by checking the label to see if an item includes any spandex. 100% cotton items and polyester-cotton blends can be pretreated with Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel—rub a little of the gel into the stain with the soft scrubber tip and then wash the item immediately in hot water using detergent and ¾ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach. For white cotton and polyester-cotton blend items that also include spandex, you can pretreat stains with Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster:  apply a little directly to the stain and rub in. Wait 5-10 minutes (set a timer—never leave full strength Clorox2® on fabric for longer than the recommended time, and never let it dry out on fabric!) and then wash in hot water using detergent and additional Clorox2®. Air dry any items that had stains that you pretreated. Now you are ready to pack them away!