How to Whiten Yellowed White Shirts

Lane Cummings

A crisp white shirt is one of the most versatile items in your wardrobe: it can look fresh and cheerful, or it can look quietly sophisticated. It matches well with many other articles of clothing that you own. However, a white shirt soiled with perspiration, dirt and other forms of grime can look dull and drab.

The yellow stains caused by perspiration make you appear to have poor hygiene habits. However, it is possible to return your yellowed shirt to its original bright state.


If perspiration stains are left on a garment too long, they can damage the fabric. Remove perspiration stains as soon as they appear.

  1. Add one cup of white vinegar to a small basin of cold water. Swish the water with your hands and then dunk in your shirt. Let it soak for three to five minutes.

  2. Rinse the shirt in cold water.

  3. Pour liquid detergent directly on heavily soiled areas that still haven't lightened. Gently rub the detergent into the soiled fabric and let it set in for about 10 minutes.

  4. Put your shirt into the washing machine with the hottest water that it can take, per the washing instructions on the shirt's tag.

  5. Add one or two capfuls of bleach if the "instructions for care" tag on your shirt allows.