How can I get my gray undershirts white?

by Dgreen
My DH wears sleeveless undershirts and no matter what we try they always turn a dingy gray. How can we keep them white or make them white, again?
  22 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Dec 12, 2016

    Try dabbing the stains with hydrogen peroxide and then wash them in detergent. Do not use bleach as it has been mentioned the bleach actually makes the stains worse.

  • Darlene Darlene on Dec 13, 2016

    I add hydrogen peroxide to my whites, but I also use bleach and laundry detergent at the same time. I also let them soak for a while. You can also try Borax.

  • Joanie Joanie on Dec 13, 2016

    Wow!! This is a strange one. Bleach has always brought my worst stains out!! Have you tried Ammonia or Baking Soda? I always SOAK with bad stains. Good Luck!!

  • Olg5766573 Olg5766573 on Dec 13, 2016

    I found that "Iron Out" when use in the wash, turns whites back to white. It is a little smelly and its powdered. But it does work. Can be purchased basically anywhere detergents are sold.

  • Lori Lori on Dec 13, 2016

    Try soaking in water and Oxy Clean, for a couple of days. Make it as hot an you can, mix it well, work in the shirts and forget about it for a while. This works really well for most stains.

  • Fre9844597 Fre9844597 on Dec 13, 2016

    I fill a 5 gallon bucket about 3/4 full, then add a big bottle of cheap lemon juice to it, sit it in the sun all day, and if there really bad, 2 days.. then wash as usual... that's all it takes... also works great on kitchen towels to remove grease and the greasy smell.

  • William William on Dec 13, 2016

    Bleach will remove stains, but breaks down fabric fibers over time. Also tends to yellow whites and make them dingy. In always use hydrogen peroxide with detergent for my whites. To bring back the white, try Rit Color Remover. It will remove all color. DO NOT USE ON ANY COLOR FABRIC!

  • Suellen Hintz Suellen Hintz on Dec 21, 2016

    Whites must be washed by themselves...never mixed with color clothes. The transfer of fuzz could be what makes them gray. I use detergent and bleach, hot water, longest cycle that includes soaking and stain cycle, and my whites are brillian. I also put blueing into the fabric softener dispenser as this eliminates yellowing. If I don't have enough whites for a good load, I just wait another week. I'd rather buy underwear and socks a bit more

  • Debi53 Debi53 on Dec 31, 2016

    For whites only, I keep a container of powdered dishwasher detergent and powdered Borax--about 1/2 and 1/2. I use my detergent, some bleach, and this mixture. I let the clothing soak in this in hot water in my washer. My sheets, towels, and whites come out beautiful. Of course if an item says not to use chlorine bleach, I leave the bleach out.

    • See 1 previous
    • Debi53 Debi53 on Jan 19, 2017

      You are absolutely right about not using it on colors. I only use this on whites like sheets and towels. You can also choose dishwasher powder that does not contain bleach if you wish.

  • Jody Jody on Jan 01, 2017

    My son wears a hand prosthesis- doesn't have a left hand. His undershirts had a bit of nylon and something else that kept them from twisting and lumping up under the straps. The label says NO bleach. Between my mother and husband they had his expensive shirts looking like they had been in a coal bin. Our dry cleaner mixed us some powder to soak them in. Mother owned a tax office and wore polyester pant suits during those 3 months which collected food stains as she ate at her desk. About 12-15 years ago, when we found oxyclean, discovered that we could soak several days- turn article and put a plate on them to keep them under water. Or, take a non aluminum soup pot, add the oxyclean and bring to simmer. Stir with wooden spoon. Add clothes, stir and check occasionally. Take out the white or clean ones, add more clothes and oxyclean as needed. This may take a few hours the first time because you may find 1/2 your clothes need help. It doesn't destroy the elastic in socks and underwear, doesn't remove the colors in the polyester that you want to keep. But if you simmer, pull out the clean into a colander and rinse, keep going. Run the clean stuff at least through a rinse cycle. Start with a large scoop and add more as you need. Give it at least an hour for some fibers. And don't tell me how to sort. It wasn't until I let my husband go to work and his staff called wanting to know where I found the lovely delicate pink scrubs. He would deliberately mix clothes. Took 25+ years and a set of pink scrubs to train him 😁. Detergents on your carpet might get out the stain but attract dirt back really fast. Oxyclean gets out the dirt and oils, the normal traffic patterns, doesn't attract dirt back. Gets rid of pet odors. Love that stuff!!! And no, I don't get a dime but wish I'd thought of it.

  • Allor Allor on Jan 01, 2017

    Hot water and Biz usually will remove most nastyness when left to soak overnight. While bleach (clorox) will whiten, It was my understanding that

    it was mainly a disinfectant. While battling the same issues I found that my

    main problem was the WATER. When using hot, hot water, my whites did not stay white very long. Too many chemicals and minerals in city water. Warm water and Biz soak overnight once a month, keeps whites white, and my colors fresh.

    Adding extra detergent to the final wash just compounds the problem.

    • See 2 previous
    • Jody Jody on Jan 18, 2017

      Hi Deanna, cheap hairspray has lacquer. It dissolves some stains like ball point ink. I use washing balls with ceramic beads. They help to "wet" the water. They clean most laundry without using extra stuff. Then I spot stains or soak extra oily or grass stains. The usual. Got away from scented soap and quit using fabric softener years ago.

  • Deanna E Deanna E on Jan 07, 2017

    @ Dgreen, I'm wondering what kind of fabric are the undershirts? A lot of mens undershirts are cotton and bleach would be OK but if you us bleach on a fabric that has cotton and nylon / spandex it will turn it yellow and will never come back to white. I did this in the past so I thought to ask you about the fabric.

  • Kcama Kcama on Jan 10, 2017

    Had this problem, too. Solved it completely. Never buy white underwear or socks, just heather gray!

  • Mary Gendron Mary Gendron on Jan 11, 2017

    use blueing. you should be able to get it in the detergent isle. It's been around for over a hundred years . Go on the internet and punch in" how to use blueing for laundry" it'll explain everything,. The greying could be from hard water, using too much bleach, or any other factors. Us white haired ladies use it to keep our hair white and getting rid of the yellow.

    • Dgreen Dgreen on Feb 28, 2017

      I tried using bluing and cannot see any difference. I tried using it with my white towels and had the same results - none.

  • Jean Jean on Jan 15, 2017

    After soaking in Oxy-Clean in a bucket or wash basin take all outside where you have green grass and just lay them out soaking wet in the sun. The sun bleaches them and completely safe, I have used this on quilt block that about 50 years old and came out perfect.

  • Pat Croley Pat Croley on Jan 15, 2017

    A friend told me to add dishwasher detergent to every load of whites. It works. Try it. Just don't put any colors in there.

  • Ruby Ruby on Jan 16, 2017

    The best whitener ever Brite White ....every stain ever imagined including hair dye out of towels, rust stains, red wine....have been using for a few years without it seeming to damage my towels sheets white jeans ...found at various grocery stores Walmart etc

  • Jjj12803723 Jjj12803723 on Jan 17, 2017

    I buy/sell vintage linens. Best product for white clothes is Biz, a powdered enzyme cleaner (buy in grocery store or Target). Oxyclean, is a non chlorine bleach that can harm some fabrics.

    Small load, soak overnight in Biz in bucket. Big load, let your washer do the work, fill, add Biz and clothes and pull plug until morning. Rinse well and dry in the sun. The white is blinding. If still dingy, soak longer, Biz will not hurt anything (I once soaked a patterned wool sweater full of cigarette smoke for a week, and it came out clean).

    For added boost, I like to use Tide "WITH bleach Alternative" in original scent. This is harder to find now, but it is enzyme and I often mix it with the Biz for stubborn stains.

  • Try washing them with bleach.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jan 08, 2024

    If pure cotton you can bleach, but if poly mix it won't work. Maybe you can dye them?

  • Mogie Mogie on Jan 08, 2024

    Lemons contain citric acid which has natural bleaching properties that penetrate deep into the fabric and remove dirt. If the clothes are very gray or yellowed, boil a pot of water with lemon slices then remove it from the heat. Add your stained laundry and let it soak in the pot for an hour then wash as usual.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Jan 08, 2024

    Oxyclean from the dollar store is amazing. It is a dry granular product.