How to Keep White Blouses White

How to Keep Your White Blouses White2016 Update: check out our newer post on how to keep whites white!

How DO you keep your white blouses and tees white? Reader L wonders, and as summer’s heat is upon us I think now is a great time to discuss this…

Currently, I’m living in hot and sunny south Florida. Not to be overly gross, but my whites just do not stay as white as they should simply because of all the sweating that I do here! I know that I could go see a dermatologist or I can try a new deodorant, but that’s not my question/issue. My question is: other than bleach, what do you do to keep your whites fresh and white? It’s my opinion that Florida living prevents white clothing from ever looking totally clean, and that’s a total damper on a DC girl who lives an ill-fitting black/gray/blue suit and a white button-up. What do you do?

We actually have talked about the best deodorants for the working woman — but as you note, this is a different question. (Pictured:  Stretch Poplin Blouse, on sale at Saks as part of their new designer markdowns (up to 40%!) – was $395, now $237.) The tips that I know of for keeping whites white:

a) Think about your undergarments. A white blouse frequently needs a camisole anyway (I’m a fan of the nude-for-you bra paired with a white camisole, but that’s me) and so look for one that has high arm-holes — the cotton camisole will help “catch” the sweat (yes, eww, but still).

When you’re laundering it,

b) Avoid the dryer at all costs. Even if the shirt says “tumble dry low,” most of the yellowing comes from the dryer — so hang your white blouses, or lay them flat to dry. If the tag says “dry clean only” or even “dry clean” (the latter of which usually means it can be washed), I’d be inclined to get the shirt dry-cleaned if you really like it.

c) Before you wash it, pretreat areas that are likely to be dirty. My husband always sprays the collars, underarms, and cuffs of his button-down shirts with Spray n’ Wash before we do the laundry. I’ve read about a number of other solutions for cleaning whites — peroxide mixes, baking soda mixes, etc, but I’ve never tried them myself — readers, please weigh in!

d) If all of this still doesn’t help, look into underarm shields. I only know about this product because a friend wanted to invent it — alas for her, a lot of companies beat her to the punch, including the folks behind Hollywood Fashion Tape (Dress Shields Behind The Seams Garment Protectors by Hollywood Fashion Tape), but this is great news for white blouse wearers.

Finally: keep in mind that while the white blouse is classic, it is by no means the only thing you can wear to look professional — check out the Corporette Guide to the Best Tops For Under Suits!

Readers, what are your tips for keeping your whites sparkling white?


  1. Oxiclean – I use the powder stuff and let it soak (use hot water so it dissolves better), then dump the pretreated garments and soak solution in the washing machine and wash as usual.

    I was able to revive some (nice) white t-shirts this way, which had previously gone through the dryer.

    • I second Oxi Clean. I wash a lot of white undershirts with, er, sweat marks (kids and hubby) and Oxi Clean really whitens them up. Occasionally I also run all my whites through the “whites” cycle on my front-load washer. It takes 2 hours and includes a stain cycle, bleach rinse (post detergent) and an extra rinse cycle. Whites come out looking new!

      • I should add that I use the Oxi Clean powder and just throw it in the wash with the detergent according to the package instructions. But Eponine’s post has got me thinking about trying the spray version for stains.

        Another laundry tip (from my grandmother): for getting grease spots off of clothing, try Fulsol from Fuller Brush Co. I order it online. It really works every time. And it also gets out lots of usually impossible stains – lipstick etc.

        • Anonymous :

          Thanks, I’ll try this. I’ve had no luck with Oxi Clean. :o(

          • I LOVE Oxi Clean! I didn’t discover it til I had a toddler who loved playing in dirt, but I now put a scoop in every load of laundry I do. It gets out stains and brightens colors and whites without fading them. Yeah for no more yellow pit stains!

    • Third the OxyClean. I use it both as the pre-soak overnight and dump a scoop in with most loads. It’s the only thing I’ve found that keeps the Mr.’s socks clean.

    • Ditto on the oxiclean. I had a ton of white shirts with underarm stains for years. Here’s the clincher – you need to BOIL a potful or two of water. Throw your shirts in a large bowl/bucket, add about a cup of so of oxyclean, and dump in the water. Put on rubber gloves and stir around. 24 hours later, check the stains. You might need to dump out the water and add more oxiclean and more boiling water for a second sitting. Then, wash as usual.

  2. I second the rec for Oxiclean. I use the spray, and I spray areas that are likely to yellow before washing (actually I spray when I take the shirt off before I put it in the hamper, but so long as you let it sit for 10 minutes or so it should be fine). It works like a charm – Oxiclean is seriously the best laundry product out there. It removes blood, coffee, wine, you name it. I use the spray on all kinds and colors of clothes, not just whites.

    • Is it ok for oxiclean to dry on the garment?

      • For the spray version, yes, it’s fine. It actually says in the instructions to let it sit at least 15 minutes. Not sure about the other Oxiclean products.

      • You have to be careful – I’ve had it bleach clothes when it dries.

    • North Shore :

      Yes, Oxiclean. I didn’t know about it until I had kids, then suddenly I was using it every day. I like the powder that you dissolve in water and soak clothes in, but I’ve also had good results with the spray. Recently, I took some older white shirts that didn’t look so good and soaked them in Oxiclean for a day or two, then washed them, and they are nice and bright and stain-free now.

  3. Can anyone recommend specific underarm shields that stay put and don’t add bulk (or make crunchy crinkly sounds, as some amazon reviews suggest certain disposables do)? Preferably washable ones, but open to inexpensive disposable options.

    I’ve mostly been in the short-sleeves-under-blazers camp , but recently picked up a few lovely sleeveless shells that are currently my nicest under-suit tops. I don’t sweat a ton, but one wearing directly up against my underarms is enough to send a jacket to the cleaners!

    • BigLaw Refugee :

      I tried various ones for a while – wasn’t happy with anything and gave up. The sticky ones end up falling off; I’ve tried others that you clip on with a tiny paperclip and have elastic going over your arm, which are uncomfortable. I was always self-conscious and worried about them, so I gave up.

      I also had a little bralette thingie with arms that had a thicker underarm shield built in. It was lovely until I washed it, but then the stuffing in the pad got all messed up in the wash.

      My current plan is to someday find some thin pads and sew them into my jackets, then remove and replace them each season.

    • Kathryn Fenner :

      Check out the selection at a fabric store–there are good ones at my local Jo-Ann

  4. Oxiclean, Biz, and other non-bleach whiteners can work wonders. And yes, you can let Oxiclean dry on a garment. I wouldn’t do that on silk, to be on the safe side. For whites that are clean, not stained, yet somewhat gray or yellow, Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing restores that pristine look. I bought mine from Vermont Country Store, but I can’t find it there anymore. has it. I feel much less frustrated washing my whites now!

  5. Drying your whites in the sun rather than on a rack inside. If you are lucky enough to live in a sunny region, the sun can do wonders for bleaching out your whites, plus they will probably dry faster than inside, *and* in my experience they always end up smelling really nice.

    Sadly not a regularly scheduled option for someone like me who lives in rainy climes…

    • This! UV light is amazing at breaking down organic stains!

    • This!

      1. pre soaking in stain remover/whitener
      2. machine wash with normal detergent
      3. drying in the sun

  6. Sleepless in DC :

    I know there have been a few threads lately on “what to do when a friend makes a bad decision” but this one is really tearing at my heart and my gut. I could REALLY REALLY REALLY use some advice and you ladies always have the greatest! I’m sorry that this will be a bit long…

    A bit of background. My best friend of 20 years is amazing (we are in our 30s). I love her dearly. She’s one of the greatest people I know. We live too far away to see each other often but we talk all the time on the phone. She’s had such a hard time in her dating life and I know for a fact it hasn’t been easy for her since many of us have married and had babies. She wants nothing more than to be a wife and a great mother (which I know she would be).

    Now to the meat of the issue. She has had a history with this particular guy. He’s struggled with anger and control issues, can’t hold a career and has discovered that she is his ticket to stability. Since they’ve known each other, she has brought him a lot of consistency and love and according to her, he’s worked on (but not resolved) some of his issues. In return he gives her someone to hang out with on the weekends (she lives in a relatively remote area). They dated, then were strictly friends, then, after a pretty scary instance of him bursting into her house while she with someone else, they didn’t speak. During that time apart, she told me she felt liberated and healthy and was so glad to be out from under his thumb. Because she’s loving and a people-pleaser and he plays the “lost puppy” card way too well, he weasled his way back into her life and home and has literally been living off of her. To be really honest (because I can here – thanks Corporette!), he’s possessive, cold, creepy, needy and a manipulator. She was about to kick him to the curb when he poured out his heart to her, blah blah blah. She has now made the decision to officially “be” with him to give him one last chance and the plan, as communicated to me, is: If it works, they will get engaged and marry. If it doesn’t work, they will end it. CRAP. This is killing me and I can’t talk with my friends about it since because I’m just not comfortable airing her laundry with them. I can’t rely on my husband’s opinion because he loves her so very much, is very protective of her and wants to kick the guys’ you know what from his antics years ago. Years ago, I tactfully told her that I was concerned about their relationship and explained why so deep down, she knows how I feel. She said that her family had expressed the same concerns.

    I’m honestly so worried about what will come of this. I know our taste in men are different and I don’t expect her to choose someone that I would choose. But this goes way beyond preference. This is just not okay and it makes me ill. What the heck do I do? If I spill my guts to her and she stays with him (which I deep down think she will) we will forever have that undercurrent. If I play along with this, I am enabling this bad situation and not being the friend that I am and need to be…. Please tell me what you would do. I’m not thinking very clearly right now. I really want to shake her out of her haze, tell him to “f” off and shield her this situation but, of course, I can’t do any of that.

    • Have you seen him since he came back into her life?

      Just for perspective, one of my best friends dated a man several years ago and they split up for very good reasons. They reconnected 3 years ago, and started dating soon after. I remembered him as the bad dude who made her cry a lot and was really opposed to their dating. But he really had changed, and they took things slow while he proved it. He also made a concerted effort to make her friends and family see how he’d changed. If they’re taking it slow and she’s given him the ultimatum that he only gets one chance, your friend’s situation might work out for the best. My friend is now happily married to a stable, wonderful guy.

      I’m not saying all formerly bad relationships can work out this way. But some can, so if you haven’t seen the guy in a long time, I’d be inclined to give him (and your friend’s judgment) the benefit of the doubt.

      • I think that’s a good way to broach the subject with her – acknowledge that some people can mature over time and that it’s possible he has (keyword has – not that he will mature if he hasn’t already). With that context/preface though, it’s okay to tell her that if he’s anything like he was in the past, that as someone who cares about her deeply, you really don’t think he’s the right person for her, that she deserves someone who treats her much better and doesn’t mooch off her, etc. At the end of the day though, she’s going to make her own decisions and your input will carry limited weight.

        That’s what I would do. I know others think it’s best not to say anything, but I think if properly presented, you can share your view and limit downside risk if things do “work out” with them.

    • That friend :

      To be honest, I think now is the time to be direct with the friend. I know some say that’s the worst thing you can do, but I have a close friend who married a guy about whom most of her friends had a lot of doubts. He had serious mental health issues he was reluctant to treat, but we all thought it was the right thing to do not to say anything. Now it’s to the point where they have two small children and he flat out refuses to take his meds or go to therapy. It sounds like the fights are escalating to a dangerous level and I feel like I lost my only real chance (before they were married) to convince her it was the wrong thing to do. I think all of her close friends are feeling the same because her husband is so volatile.

    • lawtalkinggirl :

      Please let your friend live her life and make her own mistakes. Tell her one last time that you think this guy is no good, then be quiet about it unless she asks for your opinion. It will be hard, but please do not tell your friend what to do. You are not “playing along” with her situation by just being a supportive friend to someone who makes what you think are bad choices. Just try to remember that what seems so clear to you is not always clear to the person in the situation. I have been the friend who was in a “bad” relationship (not manipulative or abusive, just not right) and it was not helpful to have a close friend judging my actions and telling me what to do about it.

    • Anonymous :

      I wish everyone had a beautiful, truly loving friend like you.

    • I am normally a vocal member of the “stay out of it” camp, with a healthy dose of “mind your own business” thrown in, but three things in your post made me think hard about whether I could give my usual advice.

      1) “We live too far away to see each other often but we talk all the time on the phone.”

      2) “She’s had such a hard time in her dating life and I know for a fact it hasn’t been easy for her since many of us have married and had babies. She wants nothing more than to be a wife and a great mother (which I know she would be).”

      3) “she lives in a relatively remote area.”

      Taken out of order, what this boils down to is, she really wants to have a family, she has limited options where she is, and she doesn’t have the benefit of seeing your reaction to the way this guy treats her. Deep down, she may feel like she’s flirting with choosing the lesser of two evils (“at least I’ll have a husband and some kids, and he’s not that bad”).

      If you want to give her the best chance of either deciding FOR HERSELF that a) this guy is the greater of the two evils available to her where she is, or b) that there are other options out there for her, I will suggest that you follow at least one of these two suggestions:

      1) Visit her.

      2) Have her visit you.

      Visiting her gives her the benefit of seeing your reaction to her situation. If you bring your husband (assuming you have a healthy, stable relationship) you’ll have the opportunity to model some sane, healthy, loving behavior, and maybe give herself something to compare her current relationship to. And maybe (maybe) the previous poster is right, and you’ll realize that he’s really, truly trying to change. Unlikely? Sure. Possible? Yes. Maybe you’ll feel better about the situation. Maybe she’ll feel worse, and it’ll be the kick in the butt she needs to realize that this isn’t good, what she has.

      As for her visiting you, you get additional opportunities to model good coupley behavior. You also give her the opportunity to see what life is like where you are. You’re not clear about how remore her area is, but she wouldn’t be the first succesful woman (or person, really) to realize that the dating pool is limited where she is, and that if she wants pickings other than those in arm’s reach, she’ll have to move. I have no idea if this is a realistic option for her or not, but if she and this guy are stuck in the same small town, and she feels like she’s aging out of that town’s dating pool, she may need to realize that the guy isn’t the lesser of two evils (marrying him or staying single), he’s the second worst of three (marrying him, staying single where she is, or moving elsewhere).

      Ultimately, though, the usual advice holds, because you cannot convince her of anything. She needs to believe, deep down inside herself, that she is worthy of better than him. If she does not believe that, then no amount of logic and rationality from you is going to make a lick of difference. No amount of reminding her that she used to feel differently will matter if this is how she feels now. If she decides to go ahead with this: you have two options. You can tell her that you can’t approve, and that you can’t support her in this decision, and that you’ll be there if she changes her mind; or you can be her friend and try to be a link to the outside world in case she changes her mind afterwards. (This is imporant for abuse victims, if that’s what your underlying fear is. That’s the impression I got from your story about him bursting in on her.) There is no one right path for you to take in that circumstance: it’s up to you and your comfort level with the idea of “enabling” a bad choice.

      Regardless of what you do, know that it will suck in the short term, but that hopefully it will all work out for the best in the end, whenever that may be. Best of luck, and thanks for trying to do right by your friend.

      • lawtalkinggirl :

        Well said! Better advice than mine.

      • Great advice! I’d just like to add – is your friend seeing a therapist? It might not be a bad idea for her to actually have someone to talk to as it appears she is insecure. It may help your friend to hear from an impartial source who will guide her to make the best choices for herself.

    • Anon for this :

      I was your friend. I was in a horribly unhealthy relationship with a man for 3 years. I had a few friends who hinted that he was not the right person for me, but I really wish I had a friend who was brave enough to have told me that I should kick him to the curb. Ultimately, the only one who was very blunt with me was my mother, for whom I will always be grateful.

      With all this said, it’s very possible that at the time I was in the relationship, I simply would have ignored any advice from my friends, and your friend may do the same with you. Nonetheless, I think it’s critically important that you tell her how you’re feeling and why you feel the way that you do. She may ignore you, but she also probably values your opinion a lot and will think seriously about what you tell her.

    • Sleepless in DC :

      I cannot thank you enough for your thoughtful responses. This gentle guidance is what I was looking for and what makes Corporette so amazing (of course, great deals on super cute shoes, stain removal tips and what to wear underneath white shirts makes it amazing too!).

      Since he came back into her life, but before they made the decision to get back together, I stayed a weekend at her house and I truly kept an open mind so that if he had matured, I would see it. I wanted to see it for her sake. But, I did not. He was still creepy, she still said “sorry” over and over to him for lame things (like dropping his call when we were running errands because she lost signal), she still tippy-toed around him in HER home that he was staying in rent-free, etc. etc.

      We live 4 hours from each other so I will set up a time sooner than later when we can get together with just us and we can talk about it. I have no intention of harping on her about this over and over so I think once I share my point of view with her, I will shut my trap and let her make her own choices without feeling like she can’t share her life with me. I will also, in the most respectful way possible, suggest that she find a good therapist to talk with. I think it’s a great idea.

      Thanks again, I really appreciate it.

      • Make sure that if she does decide to stay with him, you don’t abandon her. She’ll need a pal… especially if she decides to leave him down the road. (And don’t say, “I told you so” then either.)

      • Seattleite :

        It can help if you focus your attention not on HIM-and-what’s-wrong-with-him, but on HER-and-how-she-feels-when-she’s-‘with-him.’ The former invites her to defend him. The latter beams sunlight on things you don’t have time to think about when you’re with a high-maintenance, toxic partner.

    • There is SO much good advise here that I REALY can not add to much to it. But all I can say is that you have to be REALY carful when it comes to matters of the heart. My dad told me I would have to kiss alot of frogs and beleive me, I have, but what is logical for one person is not for another.

      You are probabley right that the guy is a jerk, but she has some need for that or she would have dumped his sorry ass along time ago.

      So I would tred very carfully around the issue, but show her other examples where men have been assholes. You can EVEN show her my post, b/c I thought Alan (an accountant) would be the PERFECT guy for me and then he turned out to be an alchoholic, perferring the bottle every night over ME! What a DOPE my dad says.

      So it is hard, tell her, to have to dump him, but believe me, she will get over it, as I have, even though I do NOT have a BOYFRIEND yet. I am hopful I will get a new boyfriend who is NOT an alchoholic. I do NOT even care if he is an accountant or a lawyer at this point, only that he loves me and RESPECTS me.

      Good luck to her. YOU are a angel she should apreciate!

    • I had a similar situation, years ago. My best friend since we were 12 was with a guy who was just horrible — emotional abuse doesn’t even begin to describe how he treated her. And just like your friend, she just tiptoed around it. We talked and talked about how unhappy she was (I wasn’t lecturing her – she was crying on my shoulder about how unhappy she was, and what she needed to do to “fix” the relationship) and all of the fights they had, everything. It went on for at least 3-4 years. I too lived about 4 hours away at that point.

      I think the turning point was one time when I was visiting her/them (they lived together), and he tried out his crap on me. I went ballistic on him. I said, you can treat her like crap if you want to and if she chooses to take it, but you will NOT treat me that way. I mean I really, really went off on him — all those years of pent up frustration watching the way he treated her, I just unleashed it on him, and we got into a complete blow out (verbal) fight – it was pretty ugly. She tried to stop us, and I got right in her face too and told her to butt out, that this wasn’t about her, it was between me and him.

      Afterwards, she asked me, “does he really treat me like that?” And I said yes, he does. And she finally got it. They broke up not long after, and she ended up marrying the kindest, most wonderful guy, and they have a great relationship.

      I’m not necessarily advising that you do this. I didn’t plan it – it just happened. I suppose it just as easily could have ended our friendship, but she finally saw him for what he was, and I was able to tell her – albeit by telling him exactly what I thought of him – and she actually saw it.

  7. White blazer :

    Re-posting to see if I can get a response:

    I seem to have missed the memo on white blazers, and most of the stores I’ve visited recently are already sold out of them. Can anyone recommend a less than $50 white blazer still available in stores? Would love recs on non-see through white pants as well. Thanks!

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      Can’t help on the blazer, but I recently got these pants in white and love them. Not see through, but not too heavy. I do warn you though, the flare is sort of substantial (this is what I was looking for).

    • I’ve been looking for a white blazer, too. Never found what I wanted, and by now I think they’re gone from stores. The best I’ve been able to come up with is a white denim jacket or a white cardigan.

  8. Houston Attorney :

    Oxy-Clean Spray. It is the ONLY thing that will keep my son’s white baseball pants white. If it works on a boy’s clay stained white pants, it surely works on sweat stained clothes.

    All my white shirts get laundered. As for white t-shirts, they never last more than a season. That is one reason I buy them at Target.

  9. If you already have stains in the underarms, you can make a paste out of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, then scrub it onto the stained area with a toothbrush or other small brush. Let it sit for a bit, then wash as usual. It’s worked like a charm for me!

    Another tip… if you have a sleeved item that you are worried might show underarm wetness (like a silk top or dress), you can use pantyliners to absorb the wetness. I know, it’s kind of weird or gross-sounding, but it does the trick! You just stick the sticky side to the garment (or undershirt if you’re wearing one), and voila! It’s maybe not perfect, but it definitely helps.

    • Wow, that is a great tip! I’d worry a lot about them accidentally falling out, but I may just need to give that a try!

      • This sounds perfect. And you could use the very small pantyliners… great idea. Thanks!

    • This is a MacGyver I can seriously get behind. Thanks!

    • I do that with panty liners for jackets! But I cut them in half and round off the straight corners. I always figured that’s what sweat shields were – I was just cheap.

  10. Maybe I’m a laundry rookie, but is it ok to wash white cotton t-shirts and white dress shirts in warm or hot water? I think that typically gets them cleaner, but my husband and I are both tall and so I’m always worried about things shrinking. I never dry t-shirts or dress shirts in the dryer but wasn’t sure about using warm/hot water.

    • TooBoredToBill :

      Both my husband and I are taller than average and have long torsos (God help our children if we ever have any… they will be all torso and no legs!) and I can’t even think about washing our shirts in warm or they will shrink to the point of no wear. I wash everything in cold/cold and have never had a stain issue. I live and die by my oxy spray and every once in a while, I toss a bit of bleach with my all-whites. I’ve never had stains survive.

    • Hot versus cold laundry water has nothing to do with cotton shrinkage.

  11. It took me waay too long in my 20s to figure this out, but I solved the problem of yellow stains on shirts simply by stopping the sweat (through my pits, at least). I finally figured out that I am an excessive perspirer, and have now switched to Certain Dri, which you apply at night. No sweat through pits means no yellow stains. I know some people are a little grossed out by this, but this solution worked for me.

  12. Another thing to note is that some of the yellowing in the underarms is caused not just by sweat but by the aluminium found in most antiperspirants. I made the switch to an aluminum-free deodorant and found that it really helped.

  13. As someone mentioned above, yellowing is caused by deoderants, not actually sweating. I have found it helpful to immediately rinse off the underarms of my white shirts once I take them off, since I may not be doing an actual load of laundry for another week or so. I have also heard that spraying them with vinegar before you toss them in the wash helps, though I haven’t tried it. I have tried baking soda and found it not that helpful. And yes, you can always just bleach them if they’re solid white shirts.

  14. This might be wasteful, but I tend to buy cheaper basics like tank tops and blouses from Target if I want basic colors and cuts. When they fade/stain/tear I just toss and buy another one.

  15. I’ve never used it, but an old-fashioned, eco-friendly tip is Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing. I have a friend who swears by it (I’ve just stopped wearing white instead).

    Supposedly the slight blue tint it offers counteracts yellowing without using bleach. You do have to be careful to use only a tiny amount in each load.

  16. Bleach actually causes yellowing, so it’s best to use Oxiclean. The best thing for me has been to put some freshly squeezed lemon juice on any yellowed areas on white clothing and then set it out in the sun for a few hours. I’ve also added the juice to the wash and it works like a charm.

    • Liz (Europe) :

      Oxi definitely works on just about everything. You have no idea what grime I got off (and out of) a bunch of old mattresses with it (the idea was to rent out a place furnished), sneakers, etc. It’s like magic. Also, supposedly if you want oxi fresh on the cheap, you can make it yourself:

  17. I read a few years ago to replace white oxford type shirts every season or two. Since I started doing this, I don’t seem to have problems.
    And, they always go to the cleaners.

  18. A girlfriend of mine turned me onto using plain old aspirin to keep white loads white without using bleach. The link below also shows how you can use it for spot treatment – easy because it’s something you already have around. Just make sure you shave off the colored outside (carefully) with a butter knife if it’s not a white pill already!

  19. cubedweller :

    My favorite stain remover is Babyganics Stain Stain Go Away. I bet if you pretreated the armpits with it, it might prevent yellowing. In any case, it works brilliantly on tomato sauce covered baby clothes! I keep a travel size spray bottle of it in my purse in case I experience lunch mishaps at my desk.

  20. Underarm shields have been around for AGES. Before deodorant! They used to be cloth and button into shirts.

    Another suggestion is to pick up a bottle of “bluing.” It’s what people used to keep whites white back when everything was hand washed and boiled.

    Maybe not so great on sweat stains but awesome for dingy-ness.

  21. One more thought about the friend with the bad guy. My oldest friend was involved with a married man for 10 years. Complicating factors: she lied about it for a couple of years because she was scared of what I would say; she’s Atheist and I am Catholic so we didn’t have a shared value system to work with; and I’m a therapist and try not to give my friends advice.

    What I did was make rare, gentle, non-values-based comments. Such as “I’m concerned that this situation is not one that will lead to your happiness,” or “I’m afraid that he is incompletely committed to you.” I socialized with them and accepted his many gifts–felt uncomfortable, but I did. Although I couldn’t be sure I was handling the situation optimally, I felt that my friend knew that I loved her and that I didn’t think the situation was good for her.

    Eventually my friend got pregnant and he took off for someone else (still married, but someone else not his wife). This opened my friend’s eyes. Then even when he came back begging she didn’t take him back even though he persisted for months. I told her I was scared she would take him back (was this stupid?) and she assured me she never would.

    I feel the situation turned out well because she was able to see for herself, and also because our friendship was unimpaired by the whole thing. She has said to me, “You can say more than you do. I listen to what you say.”

    So… I think your friend loves you and knows you love her. I think she is listening. She still needs to do things in her own time. But your love and your opinions matter to her.

    • Anonymous :

      “she’s Atheist and I am Catholic so we didn’t have a shared value system to work with”


      • Liz (Europe) :

        It’s what I thought when I read it. That said, more people should follow the example and not meddle into their friend’s affairs, as poster Therapist above seems to have done.

  22. Liz (Europe) :

    For underarms and clothing protection, I’ve been using alldays (the very thin kind) ever since I was 14 lol. It’s an actual product? Interesting!

    Make sure to wash on a hot cycle, my experience is that 40 degrees (centigrade, just over body temperature) doesn’t get the fats out. Also, not all deodorants are equal. Rexona seems to be ok on clothing, cheaper deodorants often leave yellow spots after time. Take care with your perfume too, it can leave yellow spots. Of course, wash your whites together with whites only – no beige, pink, etc. That leaves clothing to discolor over time.

    Supposedly, you can get blue-ing solutions at the drug store (at least around here) for shirts and white curtains that make the yellow discoloration go poof. Never tried it.

  23. I worked at a dry cleaners a couple of summers during high school and learned that the best thing for white shirts (or any shirts for that matter) was to take a bar of “Fels Naptha” Soap (I think that’s how its spelled…You can usually find it at the grocery store), buy a small paintbrush, wet the brush and then get a good lather on the bar of soap. Brush that into the collar and underarms of the shirt. Sort of like a spray-and-wash but tons more effective and much cheaper! Like others have said …wash it in hot water and let it dry in the sun if possible.

  24. I just wear undershirts! They work for guys! I got a bunch of white v-neck tshirts and wear them under button-down shirts.

  25. I haven’t read all the comments, but for anti-perspirent stains, I used amonia. My washing machine says to make a paste with colour safe powdered bleach, but I don’t usually buy that. Amonia will break down the waxiness.
    I don’t have any luck with sunning whites to get them bright, and Oxyclean works best on fresh, not baked in the dryer issues (definately don’t over bake clothes in the dryer!). I wash in hot! water, and don’t have shrinkage issues. With some items, you can even boil them to get rid of excess detergent residue, which is a huge issue with dulling colours. Most detergents do not need nearly as much as on the label. Try filling up your washing machine with no clothes and super hot water (even boil some to add), and let it agitate. You might be surprised at how much suds you get (even though I usually do two rinses (one in hot water), I still get build up. I know this is probably not a big issue with whites, but still a general laundry tip.

  26. I just want to say that behind the seams is a great product. I run a small boutique and I have several customers that use them. They love that they save on dry cleaning bills and also save their clothes.

    We have horrible water where I live and white turn brown in the armpits. We use iron out because if you add bleach it will make it worse.

  27. Little Red :

    I don’t have issues with underarm sweat stains but with grimy collar and cuffs. I pretreat mine with Shout everytime I wash them. I don’t know what else to do.

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