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Laundry Pros Reveal Genius Hack for Keeping White Clothes White — No Bleach Needed

The best whitening weapon is already in your medicine cabinet!


It’s laundry day, and you just realized that you don’t have any bleach on hand. You know your standard laundry detergent isn’t going to cut it for all those stained shirts and socks, but you don’t feel like going all the way to the store. Or maybe you just don’t want to use bleach because it’s a harsh chemical. Well, not to worry! We asked laundry pros for their quickest laundry hacks for keeping white clothes white — bleach-free. In fact, all you need is your pantry or medicine cabinet!

What is the trick to keeping white clothes white?

The only thing you really need for keeping white clothes white is that bottle of aspirin that’s likely already in your medicine cabinet.

Whether your whites are super stained or they’re just starting to look gray and dingy, these tiny magic pills can help you restore the sparkle. The process of using them to whiten laundry might take a little longer, but the results are totally worth it.

To do: Dissolve 5 aspirin tablets in 2 gallons of hot water. Place your white clothes in the mixture to soak and let them sit overnight. In the morning, place your clothes in the washing machine, and add 3 more aspirin tablets to the wash. For really stubborn stains, you can also make your own aspirin paste by crushing 2 aspirin tablets, adding a few drops of water and mixing together. Then apply the aspirin paste directly to the stains, place your clothes in the washing machine, and run your wash as usual. Voilà — your laundry is as white as ever!

Here’s a quick video tutorial on how to use aspirin for keeping white clothes white. As the video explains, it works because the main ingredient in aspirin, salicylic acid, acts in the same way that vinegar, lemon juice and boric acid do to break down stains.

Fascinated by this new hack? You’ll never believe some of these other household uses for aspirin — they’ll make your life so much easier!

2 more natural tricks for keeping white clothes white

1. White vinegar

A natural must-have you’ll find right in your pantry? White vinegar! “It helps remove soap residue and restore the brightness of your garments, keeping white clothes white,” says Carrie Flitcroft of UK’s Shiny & Cleaning Services.” Just add half a cupful of the vinegar to your rinse cycle, then wash on a hot cycle and always air-dry in direct sunlight where possible. “Sunlight has a natural bleaching effect keeping your whites bright and contributing to a longer life span for your fabric,” shares Flitcroft.  

2. Lemon juice

Laundry pro Laurie Fulford of, the world’s largest on-demand laundry service, swears by lemon juice for restoring whites. Her secret: “For a medium load, add ¼ cup of lemon juice to the drum of your washing machine before adding clothing. If it’s a larger load, add ½ cup of lemon juice and run on cold.”

Lemons in laundry machine
pic chik/shutterstock

How to make sure white clothes stay white in the wash  

Regularly cleaning the inside of your washing machine when not in use can make the difference between keeping your white clothes white or pulling them out of the washer looking dull, gray and dingy. “That’s because a residue can build up within your drum and transfer onto your clothes,” says Flitcroft. “A monthly deep clean of your machine will help keep your whites in tip-top condition.”

We asked master appliance repair technician Gary Rima for the easiest way to clean your machine and sidestep that dreaded residue. His how-to: Simply soak a rag in bleach and wipe down the inside of the machine along with the rubber door gasket. Next, run a hot water cycle; once the tub is filled with water, add ½ cup of baking soda. This will help prevent mineral buildup, keeping your machine running smoothly and your whites looking white!

How to keep white clothes from turning yellow in the closet  

Surprise! Even the way garments are stored can impact how fresh and bright they look. The easy trick to keeping white clothes white while in the closet? “Organizing your clothes in color order will prevent your clothes from color transfer, which can result in your garments turning yellow,” says Flitcroft.

For more tips on organizing your closet by color, check out this video from Judi Igwe Enih, aka Judi the Organizer:

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