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Dishwasher Detergent to Whiten Clothes

Stephanie Green

Heavily stained white clothes can present a tough cleaning challenge. To get whites their whitest, most consumers turn to household bleach when laundering. Along with special stain removal products and laundry boosters, there is one cleaner capable of whitening clothes that may surprise you. Look no further than your stash of dishwasher detergent. There are several methods for using dishwasher detergent to whiten clothes. Experiment to see which option yields the whitest whites for you.

Non-Bleach Whites

Use dishwasher detergent to whiten clothes.

For white clothes that are not bleach safe, try this somewhat time-consuming method to whiten fabrics. Fill a sink or bucket with warm or hot water--whichever your fabric will allow--and 2 tsp. of dish soap. Add the white clothes and let them soak in the solution for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse the clothes. To continue the whitening process, refill the sink or bucket with warm or hot water and 2 tsp. of ammonia. Let them soak for 15 minutes. Rinse and repeat this same process using 2 tsp. of white vinegar. After the clothes soak for 15 minutes, rinse and launder normally in the washing machine.

Dishwasher and Bleach

Cleaning maven Heloise with Good Housekeeping Magazine suggests mixing 1 cup of powdered dishwashing detergent with ¼ cup of bleach and 1 gallon of hot water. Stir the combination well and add white clothes like socks and t-shirts. Allow the clothes to soak in the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes, rinse and then launder as normal.

Detergent in Washing Machines

To whiten whites in a normal wash cycle, add ¼ cup dishwashing liquid to the laundry detergent. It is not advisable to use dishwashing detergent in high-efficiency machines, however, because it will produce too many suds, and may even cause damage to the machine.

Spot Treating

Use drops of dishwashing detergent on small areas of white clothes to pre-treat stains. Rub in the detergent with a fingernail brush and then launder as normal in a regular wash cycle.