How to Keep White Blouses White

How to Keep Whites White | CorporetteWhile Kat recently rounded up white work tops for spring, we haven’t discussed keeping those tops white in quite a while. Before researching this post, my knowledge of how to keep whites white was limited to “wash them in the washing machine” (or more realistically, just don’t buy white shirts!), but to my surprise, there are many simple strategies to keep white blouses white. (If you haven’t seen it, check out our advice on washing “dry clean only” clothes, too.)

Pictured: Deposit Photos/fizkes.

Here are several easy tips:

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When Drycleaning Just Doesn’t Help

drycleaning doesnt workReader E has a fabulous question that we have always wondered about…

I just got some dresses back from the cleaner – a good one that I’ve been using for years – and noted that the underarm areas smelled less than fresh. What can I do about this, short of sending the dresses back to the cleaner (and possibly having them no fresher)? I’ve been trying to switch to washable shirts – detergent + Oxy Clean do a better job of getting rid of the stink. But meanwhile, what of the dresses?

Honestly, we’ve had this problem also, and don’t know what to say. (Pictured:  Stinky Bklyn, originally uploaded to Flickr by abbyladybug.) We’ve taken them back to the drycleaner, sprayed Febreeze, and more. We almost worry that once the clothes have been drycleaned the stink is, well, stuck on them.  We wish we could say the problem were limited to some particular fabric, but we’ve noticed it with natural fibers as well as polyester.  Perhaps there’s a secret trick we’re missing that a reader can clue us in on?

The best advice we can offer is to let your clothes airdry completely between wearings.  Hang them up outside the closet before you put them away, and do the same before you take them to the drycleaner.

But readers, we’re really curious — any other tips?


Looking for the 25th Hour? Our Top Time-Saving Strategies

time saving tipsDays at the office can be incredibly long — made only longer by the fact that there are still chores, errands, and other life issues to be dealt with. We thought we’d start an open thread by listing some of the things that we do to save time on life tasks, and then see what your thoughts are.  (Pictured:  Hungry Mouse Timer, available at for $8.)

Plan ahead. Lately, we’ve been trying to save time cooking by only doing one order from Fresh Direct for the entire month.  We figure out what recipes we want to make/try, what ingredients we need, and order everything at once.  Then, we print the recipes (we tend to copy recipes into our Palm Pilot), staple them together, and keep that printout in the kitchen for the month.  (It helps to highlight any “fresh” ingredients that should be used sooner rather than later.)  When the FD delivery comes, we put almost everything into the freezer until we’re ready to use it.   (We’ve been enjoying crockpot recipes from Kalyn’s Kitchen, lately.)
– Have a snack mentality through the day — yogurt, cheese, nuts, fruit, so forth.  Our point isn’t that you should eat low-calorie foods (to each their own), but that you can save time by finding foods that are relatively healthy for you and easy to grab and go without a lot of prep work.  Focus on calcium content, fiber, and protein — make your snacks work for you.  Other times, we’ll bring “components” to the office — for example, a blue cheese that was not a hit a party (too strong) gets added to the plain spinach and tomato salad we pick up with the deli.  We save money, get the satisfaction of using a food we bought, and don’t have to slave over “lunch” in the morning. [Read more…]

Reader Mail: How seriously do you have to take the “dry clean only” warning?


2016 Update: Check out our latest discussion on how to care for dry clean only clothes!

Today’s reader mail has to do with something near and dear to our hearts…

It drives me crazy when everything is labeled ‘dry clean only’. For wool and fine fabrics, ok. But synthetic tops labeled d.c.o.? Please. Am I correct in thinking this is butt-covering on the part of the manufacturer, and it’s safe to hand-wash these, and lay them flat to dry? This is what I usually do, and haven’t ruined anything yet, but they are huge pain to iron. This is why I hugely favor thin sweaters under jackets.

Agreed. When purchasing a piece of clothing, we often factor dry cleaning into the mix — that $50 dress at Filene’s starts to look a lot less reasonable when you think of the dry cleaning costs associated with it. First, there is a difference between “dry clean” and “dry clean only” tags — the ones that say “dry clean” CAN be washed in Woolite or by hand; it’s the “dry clean only” tag you’re supposed to pay attention to at your own risk.  So what should you risk?  Personally, we’ve always followed the dry cleaning instructions for our suits, jackets, and nice dresses — as well as for any other piece of clothing that we seriously love.  For everything else (which is most stuff), we have a “first year” policy:  for the first year we own a piece of clothing, we follow the instructions on the tag.  After that, we give it a whirl with Woolite.  Thus far, this policy has only netted us one shrunken going-out top (made of a synthetic material like polyester), but lots and lots of clean cashmere an wool sweaters, and even some trousers that have come out just as nice with Woolite.

We’ve experimented with Dryel, as well as hand washing, but mostly without success — Dryel didn’t seem to get the clothes as clean (although, let’s face it, sometimes a suit passes the point of no return and just won’t smell clean), and hand washing just was a huge, drippy mess and made us feel like the clothes were being pulled farther out of shape by either a) being rolled in a towel to dry them, or b) being hung up while still so wet.  Readers, what has your experience been?

Photo credit: Shutterstock/Dmitriy Sudzerovskiy.

Reader Mail: How seriously do you have to take the "dry clean only" warning?

Weekly Roundup

Liking these posts? Follow Corporette on Twitter — this is the edited version of what we’re reading! (We also Tweet if we hear about a good sale.)

bodysuit– We’ve feared this for quite some time: the bodysuit is back. [Refinery 29] We like them when worn with a high-waisted skirt or pants, but otherwise: blech. At least the one pictured at left comes with a twinset. (from Opening Ceremony, $185.)

– The boyfriend suit is also back. If they start telling us to wear a bodysuit with them, we think our heads will explode. [NYT]

– The Chicago Tribune has tips on how to store your winter clothes. [ChiTrib] Like them, we suggest laundering your winter gear before you store it (removing all plastic before you put it in the closet).

– Oooh, handy: seven questions to help you pick a financial advisor. [WSJ]

– Why that big meal makes you hungry (or, more evidence against bread and potatoes). [WSJ]


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