My Thoughts On Washing Whites

posted by Andrea | 11/10/2015
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washing whites

This post is updated from a post I wrote 4 years ago.

Most of you know that I love white! From our sheets, towels, and curtains, to our couch, and even our rugs — the majority of the fabric items in our home are white.

I know that might seem like a lot of extra work to keep things clean, but honestly, it seems so much easier to me because I just bleach everything with hot water (or use my favorite OxiClean) and everything comes out sparkling white again.

If you’re in the market for new bedding, towels, washcloths, cloth napkins, or bathroom rugs, I would highly encourage you to at least consider using white. I promise it won’t be as horrible as you might think 🙂

Washing-Machine

Here’s how I keep the white items in our home clean. 

Sheets and blankets:

When we got married, everyone told us ‘don’t register for white sheets, they’ll show everything’. So I didn’t get white sheets… and every day when I made our bed I would think ‘I wish I had white sheets’.

After about a year, our not-white sheets were starting to fade… so I decided to make my own decisions, and I went out and bought white sheets and blankets. It’s now been about 8 years and I have never regretted that decision since. I have since purchased white sheets for Nora’s bed, Simon and James’ cribs, and our air mattress.

I bleach our sheets in hot water and I’ve replaced our white sheets once (with more white sheets) due to a rip in the fitted sheet. Our white sheets are not gross or dirty — and in my opinion, they look much nicer than the faded colored sheets we had that first year.

Bathroom towels and washcloths:

Aside from Nora’s bath towel that she got as a gift, almost all our bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths are white or cream. We’ve had the same towels for our entire marriage (9.5 years now) and they are holding up fabulously.

We have replaced our washcloths several times since the oil from my homemade face cleanser tends to leave a residue over time (even when we bleach them).

Also, since the towels are white, I can use hot water and bleach to clean them, and this helps to prevent that stinky towel smell that so many of you have asked me about.

Rugs:

Obviously, I don’t use white rugs by any of our entry ways, but all of our bathrooms have white fluffy rugs!

Since we don’t usually wear shoes in the house, these rugs don’t get very dirty — I simply wash them with a little bleach every month (or as needed) and they look brand new!

bathroom rugs

Kitchen rags, towels, and napkins:

Yes, we use white kitchen rags, towels and cloth napkins!

The kitchen rags and towels are not dirty looking, but since having kids, the cloth napkins have gotten several stains. However, we often use paper napkins for company (yes, I realize this is a bit backwards) so our family is the only ones to see the stains and we don’t care!

I change out our kitchen towels and washcloths every day, so they get washed A LOT, and they are all still holding up marvelously.

clean-napkins

Couch Slip Cover:

I have received a fair amount of astonishing looks when people realize that I have a white couch and 3 little kids. Yes, our couch gets dirty, the kids have spilled food on it plenty of times, they’ve spit up and drool on it, they’ve peed (and pooped) on it, they’ve even color on it — but, since it’s a slipcover, the stains and spills always come out!

Personally, I think washing the slipcovers every few months is easier and less expensive than having a professional cleaner come in to clean non-slipcovered furniture.

I know this might sound like an awful lot of laundry to do each week, but I usually only need to do 2 loads of whites (and then 2 loads of everything else) each week. I have a good system down so it doesn’t take any extra time at all.

I should also mention that I (almost) never spot-treat anything. Hot water and bleach do a great job for my whites.

Oh, and if you ever have a problem with your white items turning a bit yellow, use the new OxiClean White Revive — it’s like a little miracle for dingy whites!

We’re hoping to hang a clothesline next spring — which means I’ll FINALLY be able to line-dry many of our sheets and other white linens. In my experience, the sun does an amazing job whitening whites (plus, everything smells so fresh!)

What are your thoughts on washing whites?

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69 comments

  1. Jamie

    11/11/2015

    I’ve dreamt of a white couch for as long as I can remember, with or without kids it seems challenging. But, slip cover is genius!! Do you have a second cover that you alternate while one is washing? I also have 3 under 4 and know there is never an end to the laundry. Oxi is my hero when it comes to that, i soak any stains in it and it hasn’t failed me yet! I’ve always been afraid of bleach though, it doesn’t wear away on the fabric after awhile? My other concern is the hot water. I thought that would shrink things? Does it all fit into the washer in 1 load? And do you put it on a heated dry or lay out to air dry?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi jamie, I’m probably not the best person to ask all of your laundry questions — because I’m really hard on my clothing and do not take many precautions when washing or drying anything.

    That said, I wash my slipcovers as needed with hot water, bleach, and I dry them all the way. I have never had any issues and they still look very good after 5 years with 3 kids!

    It takes about 3 loads if I’m going to wash everything — but we have a large corner sofa, so a smaller piece wouldn’t take as many loads.

    [Reply]

  2. Melissa

    11/11/2015

    Andrea- Thank you for this post! I love bleaching whites too, but I’m never quite sure how to do it. I’m trying to gather how you do it from reading through the comments. Do you add bleach to the dispenser, use hot water, AND add detergent? I’ve always done a bleach cycle and then I do another cycle with just detergent, but maybe I can stop running two cycles. Also, do you bleach your whites every time you wash them, or just occasionally? And then do you use white revive on different washes without bleach? I would just love to know more detail.

    I absolutely LOVE whites, not only because they can be bleached but also because I love how white looks. So lots of my home is white and I have littles too and have never had a problem with it. Thanks again!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi melissa,
    I’ve honestly never read any “rules” about bleaching — so I might not be the best person to ask… however, here are my ‘answers’ to your questions.
    — I use bleach, hot water, AND detergent for all my whites.
    — I never do 2 cycles
    — I use bleach for my whites every time. I’ve been doing this for years and haven’t noticed any issues with fabrics wearing down
    — I only use White revive when bleached items start to yellow — like pillowcases, t-shirt armpits, etc.

    Hope this helps!!

    [Reply]

  3. Julia K

    11/11/2015

    Gotta agree – I just LOVE white linens.

    Ever been to a 5 star hotel and had coloured sheets ???? NOOOO – because white sheets are so classy ! I agree that they are almost easier to manage because you can use the hot water / oxy action products and bleach if needs be.

    Now here’s something that will make your eye’s roll Andrea – I IRON my sheets !!! I know – I’m a “linen tragic” – but I swear – NOTHING feels nicer than having had a warm shower and shaved / waxed legs, then climbing into a bed made with freshly laundered and ironed white sheets – BLISS !!

    I went on a trip with a friend of mine and six children between us. We were staying in a place where you had to bring your own bed linen (weird I know). I knew my friend was low on bed linen so told her not to worry as I had plenty . She laughed as I produced the small carry on case and was staggered to believe it contained all the sheets for our trip. We made up the beds before having dinner and settling the kids down. The next day she got up and the firs thing she said was “OMG – it was like sleeping in a 5 star hotel sleeping on those sheets” LOL !!

    [Reply]

    Liane Reply:

    Julia,
    I iron mine also. If I’m short on time I just do the cases and top sheet.
    And I have an observation about colored vs white sheets too! I have stayed in hotels in places like Vail where they use double top sheets.

    Andrea,
    I have an ulterior motive for the dryer finish. Often times even with really sunny days the elastic band on the bottoms may stay a bit damp so if I run them through the dryer for a while I can get them back on the bed quicker.

    My bugaboo is mattress pads with elastic. They take eons to dry and the high setting kills elastic dead. I’m toying with the idea of getting a second mattress pad for each bed so I don’t have naked beds all say waiting for that thing to dry!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Liane!
    Also, I have 2 mattress pads for the kid’s beds — this way, I have one available in case of an accident!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    What? You’re kidding me!! That just made me smile 🙂

    I will say, I love the hotels with the double sheets that are so nice and crisp — however, I dislike ironing enough that I don’t do it at home. Maybe once the kids are older, I can have an “ironing day” like my Grandma does and then I’ll wash and iron all the sheets every week!

    [Reply]

  4. kathy w

    11/10/2015

    Can you use bleach and oxiclean white revive together? I can’t wait to try the revive and want to use it correctly. Thanks so much for this information. Your blog is just amazing and I am always learning something new. Thanks for all your hard work.

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    Definitely do NOT use bleach and oxiclean together. I’m not sure if oxiclean white revive has the same effect as just regular oxiclean though (although I’m guessing it does). I bleached and oxicleaned a white shirt at the same time and my shirt was eaten through, totally destroyed! I called oxiclean and they told me that it should never be used with bleach.

    [Reply]

    Liane Reply:

    You are right about that. And we need to be careful about using chlorine bleach with detergent that has a non chlorine bleach built in. I stopped buying Tide with bleach and just use the white revive or Clorox but never both.

    I bought white revive somewhere and could not remember where. I looked for it at Target– not there. So I found it at Amazon. It may be cheaper than Amazon at a store but it’s not worth driving to multiple stores to find it. So nice to get it delivered to my door with free shipping.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I think it’s an either/or deal — but just read the packaging to know for sure. I don’t have any White Revive in the house right now, otherwise I’d go look for you. I don’t use the White Revive on a weekly basis, just for when whites get a little dingy or yellowed from the bleach, I’ll do a separate load of just those things with the white revive. make sense?

    [Reply]

  5. Jenni

    11/10/2015

    Okay, maybe I am missing something here. I have white dish towels and they get stains that do not come out. I think I have added bleach in the past, but am I missing something? When people say that they don’t worry about whites because they can just bleach them, the only thing I think is that they must have to soak them a long time in bleach, because my white dish towels do not get clean. I will try washing them again with hot water and bleach. How much bleach do you add per load?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    My dish towels and cloth napkins definitely do have some stains — but not crazy. I guess I just like that bleach and hot water kill any germs and bacteria in my kitchen towels. I never soak or pretreat anything, just detergent, bleach, and hot water. The stains don’t bother me one bit!

    Also, I have a bleach “cup” in my washer so I just fill that to the “fill line” — I’m not sure how much it is.

    [Reply]

  6. Amy

    11/10/2015

    This is my favorite bleach. It is more expensive, but I don’t use much, and it doesn’t splash or ruin things like I used to do ALL the time with regular bleach. I’m definitely going to try the white revive stuff though. I think Oxiclean is a miracle anyways!
    https://www.clorox.com/products/clorox-ultimate-care-bleach/

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for the link Amy, I also love the splash-less bleach 🙂 Definitely try the OxiClean White Revive — I’ve been SOOO happy with it!

    [Reply]

  7. Linda M

    11/10/2015

    I have always admired your sofa slipcover. Would you mind sharing where you purchased it and what brand it is? Thank you so much!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Linda,
    Here’s the blog post I did about our slipcovers: http://andreadekker.com/lets-talk-slipcovers/

    The couch is from IKEA — almost 5 years ago — and it’s holding up quite well!

    [Reply]

    Linda M Reply:

    Thank you, Andrea! I will certainly appreciate the info and will be checking this out…..sounds like just what I am wanting.

    [Reply]

  8. Ashley Tubbs

    11/10/2015

    Andrea-you don’t have to get rid of your washcloths for buildup! Do a search for how to strip cloth diapers, it’s the same process. It’ll get all the buildup out and get you a lot more life out of your washcloths

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — thanks for that information Ashley. I’ll definitely have to look into it. Thankfully, I usually just buy cheapy washcloths at the dollar store (10 for $1) so I wasn’t out much money!

    [Reply]

  9. Tamara

    11/10/2015

    What temp do you set your hot water to?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Tamara, I’m actually not sure what the exact temperature is… but it’s HOT 🙂

    [Reply]

  10. Stephanie

    11/10/2015

    I’m so the opposite! Haha. Bleach scares me because I have accidentally bleached out things I wasn’t trying too. But I also use bleach very sparingly because we have a septic tank, and weekly use will destroy its ability to work.
    Our well water also tends to make our whites look dingy no matter what, so we stay away from white. Cream and beige are ok though.
    Hot water and detergent does a good enough job for me. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Liane Reply:

    Hi Stephanie,

    We have same issue. Bleach plus iron makes things yellowish. I still use it for husbands very dirty white socks, his smelly-hair pillowcases, and kitchen dish cloths and towels. Nothing, sunlight included, gets that dirty hair smell out of my white pillowcases. But bleach helps.

    For the kitchen things, I like bleach because it kills germs and I use the hottest water possible. I have no issue with the odor of bleach at all but I do use an extra rinse on those things. I recently had my front loader serviced and the guy told me I use too much soap. I washed a load of nothing but white towels, dish cloths and socks and used only bleach and everything was clean. Funny how that works. I’ve cut way back on detergent but still use my bleach.

    I’d rather have things a little dingy from the iron in the water than spread food borne bacteria like listeria, salmonella, campylobacter and E. coli to everything I wash.

    I suppose every time someone brings up the subject of bleach there always will be those who oppose it for various reasons, but I wanted to point out that in the civilized world, all municipal water supplies are disinfected with chlorine. The alternative is dysentery, typhus, cholera and all those third world water borne diseases. We don’t have our own well but have city well water. It tastes and smells gross, so we use a RO system for drinking, cooking, coffee and tea making.

    Someone mention White Revive. I LOVE that product. I use it on all the white stuff that contains elastic or spandex like some lingerie and tees that turn yellow plus my husband’s white tees because bleach seems to break down the fabric over time.

    We have all white sheets and cream colored sheets also. Wash in hot, line dry, then fluff in dryer to remove cardboard like quality.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Liane — also, I will be taking your tip for line drying and then “fluffing in the dryer” next year when we (hopefully) get a clothes line. That cardboard like feeling is the one thing I hate about line-dried sheets and towels… but now, you have just given me a way around that!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I’ve heard that bleach isn’t the best for septic tanks… we do not have that issue to work around though.

    Also, I know I’m probably jinxing myself here, but I have honestly had the BEST luck with bleach over the years. I can not tell you how many times I’ve accidentally splattered or spilled a bit of bleach with absolutely no consequences on my colored clothing.

    Oh, and I will agree with you about the cream and beige. I recently switched to beige hand towels for our bathroom off the kitchen (the ones the kids use all the time). They don’t show the dirt and grime as much as white but I can still bleach them without ruining them!

    [Reply]

  11. Jen

    11/10/2015

    I second the Oxi Clean White revive! It is a MIRACLE!!!! I have a son who plays sports with white uniforms and the Oxi Clean is amazing!! I won’t wash whites without it. And it smells so good too! One thing I have found, unfortunately, is that HOT water makes a huge difference. Maybe it’s my stinky teenage boys but cold water just doesn’t get the clothes as clean.

    I LOVE to hang my clothes outside. We don’t have clothesline now but I’ve been known to spread my whites out on a blanket on the lawn on a sunny day! I’m sure the neighbors are THRILLED!! HAHA

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Jen, we always use very HOT water for all our whites. In fact, I tend to use hot water for most of my laundry because our clothing is not very “delicate” and I like to know everything is super clean.

    I’m excited to get a clothes line next year… but Nora and I were actually just reading the Little House on the Prairie books and they did what you do — spread out a large blanket and lay their clothing right on the grass to dry. I thought that was such a neat idea, and of course, now Nora wants to try doing that (in November, in Michigan!)

    [Reply]

  12. Michelle

    11/10/2015

    Hi Anndrea! Thanks for the post on whites I very much needed! 🙂 Do you run an extra rinse after bleaching the whites? And when you use bleach, just to make sure I understand, you use your homemade detergent AND bleach in the compartment? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Michelle, I do NOT run an extra rinse — but I’m sure it couldn’t hurt anything (except maybe your water bill!) Also, YES, when I use bleach, I still add my normal DIY detergent but then add bleach to the bleach cup as well. Sometimes I add color-safe bleach for non-whites as well… just depends on what I’m washing.

    Hope this helps! !

    Also, I can’t highly recommend OxiClean and the OxiClean White Revive enough. They have saved so many of our clothes over the years!

    [Reply]

  13. Chris

    11/10/2015

    Sadly, this depends on water sources. We have a well. When we bought our house, the previous owner told me not to use bleach as it turns things yellow. Well, she was right. I even buy us colored underwear because of how dingy our water turns white things. 🙁 Great tips, though! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh no — that’s horrible! I guess in your situation, I would not be buying so much white… sorry to hear that! At least there are lots of fun colored underwear on the market today 🙂

    [Reply]

  14. Reality? Check. | FiveMasons

    07/25/2015

    […] Pretty Princess erupt all over her sheets. Thank goodness for white, bleachable sheets! (And to Andrea Dekker for the tip.) While A thought he could get a few more hours of sleep in before getting up for work […]

  15. moya

    07/29/2014

    I have everything white like you sheets pillowcases all kitchen cloths and towels . I love bleach but I have asthma so cant use it. I wash the towels in bio detergent – it is an environment friendly one and strangely works better on a low water temperature. My husband and I both have white towels and also our kids. I sew a small initial on the corner of the towel . All the washcloths are white and get washed with the towels. My curtains are all off white so I wash them regularly to prevent dust mites. I have hotel type bath mats that look like heavy white towels . I wash these separately . White household stuff is quite easy to keep and you know its clean. I find white easier to keep than colour- no sorting no fading just bung it all in and lasts forever.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    sound like we think alike Moya!! I LOVE my white linens. And yes, I agree, they are very easy to keep clean. You know when they are clean (and you also know when they are dirty!)

    [Reply]

  16. Katie

    02/15/2014

    Andrea, I just wanted to get your opinion on this. We currently have white/light bathroom towels and washcloths and red kitchen towels/wash cloths. I do not use (and don’t want to start using bleach… sorry

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Katie,
    I’m honestly not sure what you’re asking here — there is no question 🙂
    My opinion would be to use bleach because I use bleach for ALL whites and even most lights.

    [Reply]

  17. Cassie

    08/01/2013

    I totally agree with you on the bleach thing! I am a fanatic. LOL I just bought 4 bottles tonight! I have a 4 and 2 year old. I did/do cloth diaper and I have cloth wipes. I bleach those every other day. And I bleach All my daughters’ panties with them. My oldest has super sensitive skin and has no issue with this. It makes me feel like I got them clean enough for my babies. I have 2 sets of white sheets for my bed lol and white towels and rugs just so I could bleach them! What I noticed is that the cheaper fabrics DO yellow with the bleachings. I did feel like a stain=dirty for years and years, but am attempting (with 2 small kids) to overcome this and allow those as playclothes. Its hard… Also as an interesting bit, I bleach everything that stains and I cannot remove it. Before an item hits the play clothing stack as “clean” I bleach it, no matter the color. I have saved SO Many items this way! 95% of my first daughters clothing was 3rd hand from family. The formula stains were Awful! So I washed and washed and washed(with tide) and then said heck with it, and bleached them. I only ruined 2 things that year. There were 9-12 boxes(packing boxes!) and 2 HUGE trash bags of clothing. So if you have something you do not think is salvagable- try it. Whats to lose? Sometimes you get a stain free tye-dye. Thats ok too! I do make my own home cleaners and no longer use tide-we make our own here. MY detergent is Amazing on whites with the bleach! Removes oils too! But I cant live without my bleach. I love the smell of that load of laundry just permeating the house. Mmmmmm…….

    [Reply]

  18. Wendy Bryan

    07/19/2013

    I do not take things to the drycleaner either. My thought is….why keep buying the same outfit over and over again when I can buy something new instead???

    [Reply]

  19. Carole

    11/01/2012

    I came across your post during a search for ‘why bleach doesn’t clean my towels’, but haven’t really found an answer here. After years of using various colors of towels, I first made the switch to white in the kitchen with bar mop towels (for sanitary reasons). I’ve had them for years and they’re still in very good shape. They get bleached at every washing.

    I eventually talked myself into white bath towels. Granted, they’re not expensive (via IKEA), but I didn’t want to plunge head first into white in the bathroom until I knew how well it was going to work. Unfortunately, the towels have yellowed. Bleach has not helped. I find that very interesting. Maybe because they’re cheap towels?

    I’ve recently purchased a set of Martex towels from Costco. I’ve only washed those a couple of times, and without bleach, so we’ll see what happens.

    I’ve used oxygen bleach for ages, and have not found any differences in the expensive brand over the inexpensive brand. Since my main purpose of using it is freshening the laundry (none of the brands have ever really gotten out stains – even with pre-soak), there’s no point in spending $6 over $2. They all have the exact same ingredients.

    I don’t love bleach, and I use it sparingly because it does break down fabric fibers. Plus it hasn’t really helped where my bath towels are concerned. :-/

    Maybe I should try Borax and/or Fels-Naptha soap bar again. Although, with a front loading machine I’ve got to be careful how much and of what I put in. Very little soap is needed in a front loader (ask any appliance repair how many machines they’ve had to service due to over use of soap), and adding a bunch of other stuff on top of that isn’t good for the machine either.

    As for “letting things slide”, if something is “clean” and there’s still a stain, I don’t consider it really clean, but that’s just me.

    Kim, that’s interesting about the oxy and hydrogen peroxide.

    [Reply]

    Carole Reply:

    Interestingly enough, I just read at another blog that using too much bleach causes whites to yellow. One reason is because it does break down the fibers. Another reason stated that bleach removes any protective ‘agents’ that whites may have, thus causing yellowing. I’ve never heard that one before, unless by ‘protective agents’ the person means antibacterial properties, which I’d rather not have on my towels to begin with thank you very much.

    [Reply]

  20. Crystal H

    03/09/2012

    We use bleach….lots of it in fact. We have a child with several medical problems and urine, blood, and feces is a common occurance. We have all white towels, washcloths, bedpads, and sheets. I know that might sound odd but we have those BECAUSE we have to bleach everything…call me lazy (although believe me I am not) but with all the medical challenges we struggle with everyday, tossing all of these items in the washer with some bleach and having the sense of security that it is clean and bacteria free is a small relief to me in my chaos I call everyday life. 🙂

    [Reply]

  21. Tina

    11/23/2011

    I have a septic tank and bleach harms your bacteria balance! So bleach alternative suggestions are wonderful!

    [Reply]

  22. Jen @ BigBinder

    11/21/2011

    Bleach lover; right here. I have tried to give it up. I can’t. And whites get washed in hot water. And bleach. When my kids were little and used cloth diapers, we soaked the diapers and wipes (home made re-usable ones) in vinegar and then washed them – I bleached them like once a month and it worked great!

    [Reply]

  23. Sue

    11/21/2011

    Sorry everyone.. I am with Andrea.. I love bleach.. I also use it to clean my front loader washer.. I got a front loader about 2 years ago.. and I really hate it.. one thing I hate about it is if you close the door when not in use and then keep it closed for a day or so.. it smells.. So about once a month I run a cycle on the hottest setting and put in about a cup of bleach.. seems to keep the smell down or out of the washer.

    Honestly, I think there is nothing that smells better than clean, bleach cleaned sheets hanging on the clothes line.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I know I am a bit strange !

    sue in NJ

    [Reply]

  24. Firesparx

    11/21/2011

    We too use minimal chemicals in our house. We wash everything in cold water….except whites. I get a secret pleasure washing those in hot water with bleach. It’s like my one little bit of environmental rebellion. We only do a load of white every other week and it’s a high efficiency washer so I try not to feel too bad.

    [Reply]

  25. Mae @ WoFin Blog

    11/20/2011

    Andrea,

    Here is a couple quick links listing eco-friendly, but effective bleach alternatives. I did not want to list just 1 or 2 b/c I figured you would want to research which ones you could find cheapest near your home in MI, or online.

    http://www.thegoodhuman.com/2007/10/02/consider-these-environmentally-friendly-alternatives-to-bleach/

    This link has an at home recipe with only 3 ingredients
    http://betsywild.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/greener-alternatives-to-chlorine-bleach/

    Hope this helps
    Mae @ WoFin.wordpress.com

    [Reply]

  26. Susanne

    11/20/2011

    We are definitely a NO BLEACH family.. Bleach IS toxic. It is extremely difficult to rinse out of anything in the washing machine. We use white vinegar in the rinse cycle for laundry. For stains, I use “Zout” which is an enzymatic cleaner. Enzymes break up the stain without bleach. It can be a skin irritant so I just use it on the spot itself. I have used bleach in the past for the food disposal to sanitize it, but I find that using baking soda pour in first and then pour white vinegar into it…. It just bubbles for about 30 seconds, then I rinse well. It works for us. I use homemade cleaning products most of the time. By the way, I collect dishes as well. I just love to mix and match solid colors of the same pattern. Organizing them is my next project. Hope this helps.

    [Reply]

  27. Dorothy

    11/19/2011

    We’re a no-bleach household. I don’t even OWN bleach. I guess having 3 boys has meant that I have to let some things go. I don’t have white sheets. Or white kitchen towels. Or white napkins. Or white bath rugs. Mostly because I won’t use bleach–but also because I don’t want to be a slave to my linens. My boys would have a bloody nose on the sheets. THey would wipe up mud with a white dish towel. They would use white napkins to clean up marker. And bath rugs? YEah, those get dirty too–even after my kids bathe.

    But my kids’ socks are clean without bleach. Get this–you can buy socks with grey (or colored) bottoms. SO the socks never look dirty. My boys’ white undershirts are very white. And when they have a nosebleed on navy blue sheets, I wash them in very hot water so they are CLEAN but if there’s any remnant of a stain we can’t see it.

    I hope this doesn’t sound mean, because I’m not trying to be mean. But maybe you might have to let some things slide a bit when you have that sweet little baby. Spit up happens. Puke happens. Poop gets EVERYWHERE. And you’ll have stains. And you won’t care!! =) Because you won’t want bleach near your little baby’s skin.

    Just my .02.

    [Reply]

    Lovemybusybuzzybees Reply:

    Thank you for posting this. I thought I was the only one! Maybe its the fact that I have 3 rambunctious boys and an equally rambunctious husband who works in the autmotive field, but we do not own many purely white items. No bleach in our household either…If something is really needing a good treatment, I Oxyclean the spot and throw it in the Santize cycle – voila! Problem solved. It was a bad moment when some bottled bleach I had bought at the store leaked all over my trunk and the smell still lingers from time to time. No thanks!

    [Reply]

  28. jane casey

    11/19/2011

    I love the post. I like bleach too but feel a bit guilty because it is so harmful. Hydrogen Peroxide and baking soda are what I use most of the time.
    Jane

    [Reply]

  29. KimH

    11/19/2011

    I dont use bleach often myself. Occasionally I use it to clean the bathroom, and maybe once a year I’ll beach my white socks. Oh, I do use it in my white kitchen towels and wash clothes. Thats about it. Everyone else in my family are bleach happy like you…

    For the most part, I use a household cleaner I make with lemon juice & vinegar to clean just about everything else, counters included.

    My step mother though is a white fanatic, like you, 😉 and she swears by Oxiclean & hydrogen peroxide. She leaves a bucket of Oxiclean solution in water in the laundry room & drops all her soiled whites into it, and then washes at the end of the day.

    Everything white in her house is BRIGHT WHITE! Its quite beautiful.

    [Reply]

  30. Ashley

    11/19/2011

    I was curious why people tend to think that bleach is so terrible to use and that it’s not “green.” So I bing’ed it. LOL I remember my grandmother telling me that bleach was an all natural disinfectant (she was a science teacher) and yes, it’s harsh, but it does the job. I also remember my mother hanging our clothes in the sun to dry because the sun kills bateria and mold as well. 🙂

    This is what I found on Bing: “Bleach is a chemical compound derived from natural sources used to whiten fabrics.”

    Read more: How bleach is made – material, manufacture, making, history, used, components, steps, product, industry, machine, History, Types of Bleach, Raw Materials http://www.madehow.com/Volume-2/Bleach.html#ixzz1eCAkcJke

    [Reply]

    KimH Reply:

    I think the biggest reason one would want to stay away from bleach is that it is poison. Very simply put, it kills LIFE. We use it to kill bacterias, but in reality its doing as much damage to us as it is bacterias.

    Did you know that Splenda is chlorinated sugar? They take a chlorine molecule and attach it to a sugar molecule.. and whalah.. you have splenda.

    I did a test one time.. I had been using Splenda quite freely but for some reason, my inner compass was telling me I shouldnt be. One day at work, I decided to pour my leftovers of about 1/8th of a cup of coffee w creamer & splenda in one of my potted plants & see what happened. I had heard that chlorine is the same thing as DDT, which is a horrid and toxic defoliant. (Agent Orange anybody?) I used to dump my coffee w sugar & creamer in my plants occasionally with no ill affects. I wondered if what I had been reading about splenda & chlorine was true. When I came into work the next morning, all 5 or 6 of my plants looked litterally DEAD! This had been a healthy vibrant mixed potted basket of beautiful plants.
    I felt so bad, like i had killed my children. I immediately grabbed the basket and ran to a kitchenette, and ran water thru the soil for about 15 minutes, until I hoped I had gotten rid of any remaining splenda in the soil.. My poor babies.. Only 2 of the plants lived.. the rest died..
    Toxic toxic toxic.. I decided right then & there, Splenda would never touch my lips again.. I drink my coffee black today because of that little experiment.

    I dont drink chlorinated water either. I have water filters on my frig & my kitchen sink that removes chlorine, & fluoride too. Pure poison.

    Heres a link to Dr Joseph Mercolas website & an article regarding chlorine & splenda too. There are many others, this is just one.

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2001/06/23/chlorine-part-two.aspx

    [Reply]

    Robert Reply:

    While I share your suspicion of artificial sweeteners, you do know that chlorine is part of table salt, right? As in NaCl.

    [Reply]

    Stacey Reply:

    In response to your remark that DDT is the same thing as Agent Orange, please research before making such comments. 2,4-D was used in Agent Orange – it is an herbicide. DDT was an insecticide. They are two totally different things.

    If the thought of having 2,4-D in your food supply scares you, you may want to research GMO’s. 2,4-D is used regularly to combat superweeds that have resulted from overuse of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.

    But I agree with on avoiding the use of artificial sweeteners. Honey is a much better alternative on all fronts.

    [Reply]

  31. Leithing

    11/19/2011

    I have a thing about white bedding and towels too. I use a mixture of Vanish for stains and Varnish for whites. It gets amazing results, much better than just using one of them. Don’t know if they are available in the US, I’m in Scotland.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    hmmm…I’ve never heard of these products, so I’m thinking they aren’t available 🙁 I’ll have to look into them though!

    [Reply]

  32. jerilyn

    11/19/2011

    I might send you into labor with my comment, you can thank me if that happens.

    I wash my whites along with everything else.

    {gasp!}

    Okay, we don’t have many whites. My husband changes oil for a living. If we had whites before he started that job I would have gotten rid of them. Every once in a while I will bleach all of his white undershirts in one load, but this is like less than once per year. Me and our kids don’t really wear white either. Once they’re in school, their uniforms will have more white and I’ll have to figure something out. 🙂 I’m also the type of person that isn’t bugged by the fact that our bath towels and rug don’t match. Our bedroom linens don’t really go with our room paint either… *shrug* 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Actually… I don’t think that’s so bad!
    I don’t sort any of my laundry… just the white stuff b/c I use bleach. Everything else {and I mean EVERYTHING} gets dumped in the washer together!!

    [Reply]

  33. Kristia

    11/19/2011

    When do you put the bleach in?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Kristia, I put the bleach in right at the beginning because my washing machine has a separate compartment for detergent, bleach, and fabric softener. If your washing machine doesn’t have those compartments, I would probably put it in the water with the detergent, let the washer fill up and THEN add your clothes. if you dump the bleach right on the clothes it might get “spotty”.
    Hope this helps!

    [Reply]

  34. Karen @ Abundance on a Dime

    11/19/2011

    I use soapnuts for laundry, too. I add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Borax to each load and find that helps as a stain-removal booster and deodorizer. For stubborn stains on white/light coloured items, I pretreat with hydrogen peroxide, or if that doesn’t get it out I make my own “oxiclean” with hydrogen peroxide and washing soda. For really soiled items I’ll presoak in warm water with about 1/2 cup of the oxiclean solution added.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Ok, good to know Karen! I’ll have to give some of those “recipes” a try some time!

    [Reply]

  35. Amanda

    11/19/2011

    I love bleach. I have white sheets, towels, socks and mostly white panties. I do 1 or 2 WHITE loads each week with bleach. Not only do my whites stay white, but my house smells clean.

    [Reply]

  36. Thrifty Mom in Boise

    11/19/2011

    I love bleach! I’ve tried all kinds of things but I always go back to bleach. Nothing works quite like it.

    [Reply]

  37. Leigh

    11/19/2011

    How do you find oxygen bleach compares? I do a 24 soak with anything dingy or stained monthly (a la Clean Mama) and it does the job very well.

    And a hint for baby messes. Nothing gets poop stains out (before the dryer particularly) like putting them out in the sun. Even in winter. Works wonders on white onesies.

    [Reply]

    Amanda Reply:

    Diaper wipes will also get most anything off clothes. If I spill something on myself or if my 2 year old spills something on herself (or me), I use a diaper wipe first.

    [Reply]