Homemade Solution for Whitening Your Whites

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all your white linens stayed just as fresh and pure and white as the day you bought them? Even if years went by?

Oh yeah, that would indeed be awesome. Maybe in a perfect world that happens.

But in my world, yellow and dingy happens. See picture below as proof. Yellow and dingy have indeed happened.

whitening solution

But there’s hope! I tested out a homemade whitening solution and was oh so pleased to find out that you can make the yellow and dingy go away. My old pillowcase was looking pretty darn good by the time I was done.

whitening solution

The homemade whitening solution is a simple mixture of laundry detergent, powdered dishwasher detergent, bleach, and borax. And yes, for those of you with sharp eyes, that’s STORE BOUGHT laundry detergent in the picture below. *Gasp*

I tried to hide it a bit in the back. And yes, that’s paneling in the background too.  Does anybody else still have paneling?

Somebody please say yes.

whitening solution

So anyway, for this whitening solution experiment I decided to use some of the laundry soap Hungry Son has around the house (because I am still trying to convert the stubborn kid to my homemade mixture).

I justified this in my head because my homemade mixture has a lot of borax in it already. I thought that might make the whitening mixture kind of heavy on the borax. The next time I do this I’m just going to charge right in with my homemade laundry soap and see how it goes.

Here’s how to do it:

Homemade Solution for Whitening your Whites

Adapted from One Good Thing By Jillee

You Will Need:
1 cup Laundry Detergent
1 cup Powdered Dishwasher Detergent
1 cup Bleach
1/2 cup Borax

Start filling the washing machine with VERY HOT water. It’s important to get the water as hot as possible. If your hot water heater is not set very high, you might want to boil some water on the stove and add that piping hot water to the washing machine too.

You only want enough water to just nicely cover the items to be whitened. This keeps the solution more intense instead of getting watered down.

So . . . . .while the washing machine is just starting to fill up, add the laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, bleach and borax. Then stop the water and put in the items to be whitened. If needed, let some more water fill into the washing machine, but try to have just enough to cover the items.

Then let everything sit and soak for at least a couple of hours. I let mine set all afternoon.

To finish it off, let the washing machine fill the rest of the way with hot water and then let it run through a regular wash cycle.

I have an older top loading washing machine so doing things in this order worked for me. But if you have a front loading machine you may need to soak the items in a washtub or something and then transfer them to the washing machine to finish things up with a wash cycle.

I’m also thinking this would only work on cotton fabrics, and not on anything like polyester or nylon. So far I’ve only tried this on sheets and pillowcases.

And I liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. I had everything in hand except for the borax so I decided to use a half cup of Resolve Oxi action crystal white and it worked beautifully. I wish I had taken a before and after picture. This recipe really really really works!

  2. Yes I have panelling also. Just paint it white and it looks great ,just like painted wood. My mid century modern house with sunken living room is very popular again. We like what we like. Thank you for all your good work. I appreciate you

  3. Hi, I have decided to try your creation of making whites whiter. Well I had all but the Borax. So I went to the store for that a few other things and left without the borax until I went to do my whites. I had about 1 cup of Oxy Clean left and added it in. So I will keep you posted on how it worked. I wasn’t sure what else to try. But they have only been soaking for about 10-15 min and the water is really dirty! But I have 2 young boys with dirty socks ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I’ve discovered the joy of dishwashing detergent for nylon blends. Just soak in hot water et voila! I am really picky and don’t want to wear stained ANYTHING, which is a problem since I am so messy.

  5. Being a newcomer to the USA I was shocked to find only highly damaging bleach for whitening. I use a mixture of washing detergent, baking soda and a tiny bit of peroxide. Most of the time I dry my whites “natural” Hanging it outside dries fast, free of charge and the sun gives a additional “bleach”
    Sorry, no paneling here ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. I still have panelling in o e room too. I plan to paint it, but it is the room least in need of improvement in my 85 year old home.
    Would this work with color safe bleach? My pillowcases are printed.

    1. We are the chicks with paneling!! I also used this whitening solution on a set of sheets that has a white background but also has little stripes of black and brown in a plaid pattern. It whitened the white without any damage to the colored stripes. But if you wanted to be cautious, you could try substituting a color safe bleach instead of regular bleach.

  7. Hi Bev: I have paneling!!! We live in a 1970’s mobile home that had lots of brown paneling. We have painted all of it except one room. It makes a nice difference (unless you’re into brown.) ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Oh I feel better already knowing somebody else has paneling ๐Ÿ˜€ I think my basement laundry room goes back to the 1970’s too. Thanks for cheering me up.