White is typically associated with the luxe life, and the idea of keeping it pristine makes it daunting for shoppers to consider. Here, Raena Cassidy wears an outfit from Fendi.
Wearing white needn’t be stain-fearing experience
Purple has been known as the color of royalty since ancient times, when purple dye sources were rare and to don such a marvelous color signaled one's elite status.
These days, the color of the elite is white, signaling leisure and freedom from toil and the means to keep those whites their whitest. To walk into a room dressed in white is to command attention as a rare being radiating light amid a murky sea of rainbow hues.
For the lucky few who can make white their wardrobe staple, the only hazard is the pasta luncheon, for Murphy's Law applies whenever whites share a table with tomato sauce and specks of basil and oregano. Those plant parts sure can fly.
Now that white is in the stores, you'll probably be seeing more men and women in white on the streets, and may wish to wear the color yourself. While anyone who's ever made the mistake of washing white unmentionables with something red may live in fear of cleaning whites, it's quite a forgiving color, according to cleaning pros.
That yellowing you see with multiple washings or a long stint in the closet represents the fading of brighteners applied by manufacturers to give clothing shine and luster as it calls to you from boutique racks.
"It washes out in the cleaning process and naturally diminishes over time. When it gets to the fabric, it gets dull," said Carl Patton, plant manager for Hakuyosha Dry Cleaners. To prolong the life of the brightener, he suggested handwashing in a mild detergent such as Woolite.
Body oils and perspiration add to the yellowing effect, although Patton said cotton may be easier to care for than other fabric. "It absorbs more, but it also releases it better in the wash."
Those who save up laundry and do huge loads at once are advised to avoid overloading their washers for optimal results.
"When you overload and you don't use enough detergent, you have redemption. That's where dirt from your other laundry can deposit on whites, so don't put your nice bright shirt with your dirty socks," Patton said.
When it comes to spot and stain removals, Patton said white cotton is one of the easiest fabrics to clean because it's durable and there's no need to worry about removing a dye job along with the stain.
You will want to stay away from difficult-to-remove banana sap and other plant sap and juices, but you're not going to do any gardening or hiking in your brand new whites, right?
If all else fails, you can always take your whites to a professional cleaner. Hakuyosha uses a triple-enzyme cleaner that's not available to regular laundry dweebs like you and me.
According to Patton, who wears black-and-white to work, there isn't much to fear from the color white, and he says the only color easier to wear is black.
"You don't see the stains so you don't have to worry about it," he joked. "And it makes you look thin, too."