Easy, Professional Tips To Brighten White Garments
Ever wondered how professional cleaners get whites looking so bright and vivid? With a little care and a few insider tricks, your whites can look like they did when you first saw them in the shop. At Meurice, we're famous for producing crisp, bright whites for all our clothing. Here are some of the simple tricks we use to produce that signature shine:
1. Start with the care labels.
Annoying tip, we know, but trust us. It goes a long way. No matter what garments you’re cleaning, care labels are the road map to keeping them in great condition. Even if you think you know what a garment is, check the label. There are often surprises!
2. Sort your wash carefully, and don’t overload the machine.
Our clients are always asking why our white are so much brighter than the other cleaners. Our answer? We sort very, very, carefully! The number one factor we see in whites that have grayed is dye transfer or bleeding from other garments. So, don’t cut any corners, especially in the "gray area" (pun intended). Yellows are not whites. White with a dyed pattern is not white (you should wash those separately). Off-white more often than not is not white. Trust us, strict sorting will pay big dividends!
3. Treat stains immediately.
Heat and time are the two biggest factors in setting stains. Never dry or press a stain, and don’t delay when you see one. When you get a stain, flush it immediately with water and put it in the wash as soon as you can. If the stain is still there, keep washing until it’s not! And remember, hot water is always best for white garments!
4. UV rays have an impact on natural fibers
We don’t practice this method in our plant, but it's true that cotton tees can be brightened via drying on an outdoor line. The sun's rays have a positive effect on the white pigment within fibers--just don’t hang them in any gritty NYC streets!
5. Wash whites after each wearing.
Have you ever put a white shirt away for storage, only to take it out weeks later to find a bright yellow stain that wasn't there before? This is an oxidized stain, that occurs over time--especially if you sweat or came in contact with any sugary fluids. Got a little perspired during your big interview? Got a little champagne on your shirt from your friend's wedding? Get it washed.
A few other things to keep in mind:
- Don’t let stains linger on any garment, but particularly with whites, since stains are so ready apparent. In the business we call them invisible stains, because certain blemishes like body oil and perspiration don’t always show right away. In addition, some stains can caramelize or oxidize over time – think about how an apple browns after the skin has been removed.
- Don’t leave clothes in plastic bags, even the ones from the cleaner. Fabric needs to breathe, and fumes from plastic breaking down can lead to yellowing and discoloration.
- Don’t neglect to clean your washer. Your whites will only come out as clean as the inside of your washer. If there is grime and dye leftover from past loads it can tint the color of your clothes. To clean your washer, add 3 or 4 cups of distilled white vinegar to an empty load of hot water. This should be done every 2-3 months for a machine of average use.
- Finally, don’t bleach. Bleach doesn’t remove a blemish, but covers up stains by dying them, often an ugly shade of yellow or grey. Bleach is great for your grunge jeans, but spare your whites!