January is the perfect time to stock up on linens, towels, sheets, and blankets, especially if you can snag them during your favorite retailer’s white sale. Once you get them home, follow these simple tips to keep your whites their whitest.
- Sort your laundry into separate piles of whites, mediums, darks & jeans, towels & sheets, and delicates.
- Keeping the white pile strictly white will avoid color transfer that leaves whites a dingy grey or yellow, which is tough to un-do.
- If your whites are new, wash in cold water with detergent prior to use.
- After the first wash, whites should either be washed in warm or hot water. Hot water is best for towels, socks and sheets. Warm water is best for light-to-moderately soiled white garments. In either case, check the care label before laundering.
- Lesser known kitchen wisdom, is that Lemon juice is a natural bleach alternative. Lemon juice brightens and freshens fabrics. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of lemon juice along with your laundry detergent.
- Wash your washing machine from time to time by adding a cup of white vinegar to an empty cycle using hot water. Keeping the inside of your washing machine clean ensures that any leftover residue doesn’t end up on your whites.
- Finally, although this isn't the season in most of the country for line-drying remember that sunlight is a natural whitener. Free for the taking, and enjoyable to use, just hang laundry out to dry in the sun. Sunlight not only brightens whites but also keeps fabrics smelling fresh.