In fact, after many washes, a white shirt will often appear yellowish, even grayish. Even white fabrics of natural fibers such as cotton and linen turn yellow when exposed to too much chlorine bleach.
White shirts turn yellow because they accumulate uric acid, which is yellow. People sweat, and white shirts collect their sweat. This sweat contains uric acid, the chemical that gives urine its distinct yellow color. So white shirts slowly turn yellow because of their wearers’ sweat.
Do not use chlorine bleach, as it yellows your clothes if combined with ironing and hot water. Chlorine bleach is excellent at cleaning and disinfecting but can produce yellowing when used excessively or on white synthetic fabrics such as nylon, microfiber, or polyester.
While bleach is a whitening agent, using too much of it on white clothes can make them turn yellow. Often, that extra iron in your water interacts with the bleach, which causes your clothes to be yellow. White clothes become yellow from sweat mixed with deodorant, excessive bleach, improper washing and rinsing, and improper storage. White clothes may not smell foul or have no noticeable stains, but body oils and sweat accumulate, causing the cloth to yellow over time.
Yellow Stains Build Up Over Time
Over time, yellow stains on white clothes accumulate with every washing, becoming more deeply embedded in the fabric, making it harder to get rid of. You can keep white clothes stain-free from food, sweat, and dyes, but they also become yellow over time simply by storage. Washing whites with other colored clothes to save time may result in yellowing or staining. If your yellowed garments are white, you can use a blue dye to help bring back their color.
Bluing adds tiny trace amounts of blue dye to cloth, making it look whiter. In storage, light bluing can make a white cloth turn to a slightly yellowish color. Like white fabrics, other surfaces with white dyes or coatings can turn yellow over time. When white shirts are left in a closet for a long time, the paint begins to fade to a yellowish color.
Overusing chlorine bleach also causes the white clothing to turn yellow if left on a clothesline outdoors to dry. The sun adds another layer of bleaching from the ultraviolet rays. Bleach can not only make your whites yellow and degrade, but it can also create holes and damage to your fabrics when used excessively or too frequently. Because of its harsh nature, it may often actually cause materials to be yellow over time as it degrades. Bleach is a powerful disinfectant; too much of this chemical in your laundry load can make fabrics shabby and yellowing over time.
How Yellow Staining Is Exacerbated
The deterioration is compounded if the bleach is not thoroughly rinsed away in the wash. The yellowing becomes worse if bleach is not thoroughly rinsed off after washing the clothes. Bleach makes stains worse, giving you a more significant problem to deal with.
If you do not wash clothes well, soap residues may remain and cling to fabric fibers. Another problem related to washing is using too much detergent or washing clothes improperly. If you are using too much detergent or fabric softener and are not washing it correctly, the high heat of your clothes dryer may bake residue into your fibers, leaving them gray or yellow.
Wearing white clothes more than 3 or 4 times before washing or not checking for stains before stashing them for later use is the biggest reason they become yellow, because of ongoing degradation and unseen chemical reactions. We all like wearing white clothes during summer but noticed they frequently turn yellow and develop discoloration patches around areas such as underarms, collars, etc. Areas such as the underarms are also the areas we sweat from most, so it is unavoidable. The problem is, these stains can occur on any color of clothes, not just white ones.
Unusual Effects of Normal Laundry Exerts on Clothing
One of the more irritating things about this is that everyday laundry can potentially leave a few unpleasant effects on your clothes, particularly on white shirts and T-shirts. Another error that keeps your white shirts from looking their best is the tendency to overburden the washer, according to Good Housekeeping. If you can wash the shirt immediately, it is the best way to eliminate the problem.
If you want to remove the stains from the shirt, first soak it in a bucket of warm water mixed with two cups of baking soda, then put it into your washer. You can apply bleach directly to any stains on your white clothes and allow it to sit there until the white dresses are washed, or you can add bleach to your washing machine as you run.
People usually store clothes in plastic containers too, but that too will result in yellow staining of the white garments once they are held, as it will catch chemicals off your clothes and moisture. Clothes are yellow when stored because they react with substances in their storage containers. Acids found in storage containers such as cardboard boxes, wood shelves, and plastic boxes may respond with your white clothes to cause them to be yellow.
Washing the clothes regularly will remove those added oils and keep them looking white. One of the best ways to bleach yellowing white clothes without bleach is by using a natural laundry detergent or washing soaps that are not so hard on your skin or clothes. Another way to help your clothes stay bright is by pre-soaking them in a bit of detergent, which helps to loosen up some stains, making them easier to get rid of during the actual laundering process.