I have several white shirt and they're in yellowish color. I've tried to boil them with bleach + detergent but it's failed. And also there are rust stain too. How can I make my shirts perfecly white again?

  • What are they made of?
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 23, 2016 at 6:50
  • some made of cotton, and some made of fabric
    – Vahn
    Aug 23, 2016 at 6:56

3 Answers 3


There are essentially two types of bleach, chlorine & oxygen.
I assume you have tried the first, but not the second.

Chlorine bleach is the most common - the one that smells like a really strong swimming pool, the one most likely to be kept under the sink or by the toilet.

The other type is oxygen bleach - particularly effective on organic fibres.
Oxygen bleach, hydrogen peroxide, is pretty much odourless, can be made at home by adding sodium percarbonate to water. It has quite a short shelf-life once made up domestically by this method & any left over should be disposed of immediately. Continuing reaction in a sealed container can cause the container to leak, or burst because of the increased gas pressure. Any spills should be immediately flushed with copious water.
Any left over can safely be poured down the sink & flushed down with water. The byproducts are just hydrogen & oxygen.

The name I know best as a household washing whitener which contains peroxide is 'Vanish' - though whether that is UK market only, or truly international, I don't know. Supermarkets also have own-brands, very similar.
Products of that type will contain other detergents & optical brighteners [blue & fluorescent dyes] to enhance the appearance still further.

You can actually buy sodium percarbonate on eBay & similar sites & make the solution up yourself. It's considerably cheaper that way, but needs careful dry storage (eg an old Vanish container, suitably labelled ;-) & of course contains no additional detergent/brightener, so needs to be used in conjunction with a regular washing detergent for best results.

There are also liquid cleaning products tried on the domestic/household market - usually as surface cleaners rather than laundry - but they don't seem to have gained much traction & are harder to find than they once were. Look for 'Oxy' or 'Oxygen' somewhere in the product name or description.

Oxygen bleach is also pretty good on 'organic' stains, but not 'chemical' - wine will come out better than marker pen, for example.

Note that cotton & other natural fibres are far more likely to come out white with this method than artificial fibres, which can yellow over time & cannot be brought back to white by bleaching.

  • I've ever tried using vanish. It's better but still kinda yellowish. maybe i need stronger chemical
    – Vahn
    Aug 23, 2016 at 9:00
  • @Vahn There's only so much you can do to whiten things - white, over time, does tend to yellow a bit. And nothing removes rust marks...
    – Bamboo
    Aug 23, 2016 at 9:11
  • Too bad. White shirts are my favourite
    – Vahn
    Aug 23, 2016 at 9:14

There are products called whitener. You probably have minerals in your water.

Bleach + detergent is not the best combo as in some ways they compete. Split into one wash of detergent then a second wash bleach. Don't over bleach as it is hard on the fiber. Then a third wash with whitener.

  • is whitener the same as bleach?
    – Vahn
    Aug 23, 2016 at 7:55
  • No they use a coloring agent that tries to mask the yellow
    – paparazzo
    Aug 23, 2016 at 8:00
  • 1
    Incidentally, bleach yellowing is not just minerals in your water. Clothes turn "yellow" because you are beaching out the white coloring agents used to create those ultra-white clothes. Cotton is not that white naturally, so bleaching fades that artificial color... just like any other dyed color that fades away with bleach. With modern detergents, you are better off not using bleach to get your whites clean again — bleach should only be used if it serves another purpose (like hard-core disinfection). Aug 23, 2016 at 13:52
  • @RobertCartaino Cotton is not naturally white?
    – paparazzo
    Aug 23, 2016 at 14:02
  • @Paparazzi No, raw cotton has "...the yellowish off-white typical of modern commercial cotton fibres". Aug 23, 2016 at 14:24

Use a product called Spray Nine. Douse it in this product, throw it in the washer, and then throw it in the dryer. White.

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