Vinegar Does Wonders

White vinegar can also help to brighten clothes that are beginning to lose their luster. Add about 1/2 cup of white vinegar to every rinse cycle to remove detergent residues from fabrics and prevent whites from yellowing.

More Great Tips for Brightening Clothes

  • Break out the vinegar -- If you guessed white vinegar, you're right! Some swimsuit manufacturers recommend soaking new suits in a mixture of white vinegar and cold water to prevent fading and bleeding. Use 1 tablespoon of white vinegar for every 1 quart of water, and soak for at least 30 minutes before wearing your new suit. To keep your dark jeans dark, soak in a 50:50 solution of vinegar and water before the first washing.
  • Don't over-dry -- The heat from the dryer is harsh on dyes and clothing fibers, so be sure to take clothes out as soon as they're dry. Try to wash and dry similar fabric types together, or remove quick-drying items before the cycle ends. If your dryer has a moisture sensor setting, use it!
  • Coffee or tea? -- Add 2 cups of brewed coffee or strong tea to the rinse cycle to restore the color to black or very dark clothes. Skip the cream and sugar!
  • Go blue for bright whites -- To brighten whites in the wash, add a bluing agent. Bluing agents don't remove stains; instead, they make whites appear brighter by adding microscopic blue particles to the fabric during the wash or rinse cycle.

For more great laundry tips, check out the resources on the next page.