Laundry question


Former desparate mom
<span style='font-size: 11pt'>Does anyone know where to get laundry blueing on line? I'm a bit of a bleach nut for whites but the towels are getting a bit yellowish and I want to add blueing.
Any ideas?</span>


Well-Known Member
They still sell it at the Safeway and Fred Meyers, I think. I know I have seen it at Target and Walmart, too.


Active Member
husband would be worth asking about this - he knows a fair bit about optical brighteners, etc. Since they began adding those to laundry detergent, "blue bag" went out of fashion.

You may find, Fran, it mightn't make the difference, especially if the laundry detergent you've been using has optical brighteners in it.

If you find the blue doesn't make enough difference there are still other things you can try. Drying it in the sun, especially after a rinse which includes some form of dilute acetic acid (watered down white vinegar or lemon juice) can help.

Depending on what the yellowing is from, here's a trick you can also try - splash the yellow areas with neat white vinegar. Then soak the garment in a laundry soaker (a lot of detergents can double as pre-soak) using water as warm as the garment can stand. If it's pure wool, cold water will do, just you might need to repeat this. Then wash as normal, hang it in the sun to dry (unless, of course, it's pure wool - we find even sunlight shrinks wool, especially in summer - and your summers sound a lot like ours).

This works especially if there is any protein component to the stain - perspiration, for example, can seem to have been washed out completely, but it leads to a garment yellowing with age, in the patches where the perspiration once was.

Good luck with it - and if husband has any more expertise to add, let's hope he has time in his schedule.



Active Member
Marg's Man here...
OK she dropped me in it so I gotta answer.
First, I quote Wikipedia under the heading "Bluing (fabric)"
(saves me having to type it all up myself)...
Bluing, laundry blue, or washing blue is a household product used to improve the appearance of textiles, especially white fabrics. Used during laundering, it adds a trace of blue dye (often synthetic ultramarine, sometimes Prussian blue) to the fabric.
White fabrics acquire a slight color cast after use (usually grey or yellow), because they can never be cleaned perfectly. Adding a trace of blue color to the slightly off-white color of these fabrics makes them appear whiter. Laundry detergents may also use fluorescing agents to similar effect.

Marg's Man's bit - these are what they call optical brighteners in the adverts. Basically it's 'fool the eye' stuff. The very slight blue tinge fools the ye into thinking a white surface is whiter than it really is. We used add a TINY amount of blue tinter (less than 2 ounces) to giant batches (6000 gallons) of white paint to get the same effect.

So now you know.


Former desparate mom
<span style='font-size: 11pt'>Thanks for the info.
I looked up the bluette on amazon. It's 1.49 a bottle and over 11.00 shipping. I don't think so.

This is for the white towels used in the beach rental house. I have them bleached every week but there is always suntan oil and various stains on them after a while. The bleach helps but they will yellow with time.
I will just buy it at the store and take when I go there next time.

Marge, I'm chuckling but I haven't hung laundry outside since I lived at my moms and even then it was before the dryer arrived. I think I was 11yrs old. This developments Homeowners Association doesn't even allow laundry to be hung outside. I don't know what the rules for HOA at the beach have to say about it but I suspect there is some restriction. I do occasionally air dry in the house. </span>


Active Member
There is a lot to be said for the power of the sun, rather than just the dryer. But you're right, you need to be permitted to use it! My mother used to use sun-bleaching on the baby clothes, using a sunny window sometimes. But towels do take up a lot more room!

Give the vinegar a try. Also, if you rub some soap on grease stains before washing, that can give your laundry powder more shifting power when you wash, even if you cold wash (like I do).

The ultimate coping strategy - buy navy towels next time. My favourite luxurious terry bathrobe is a deep magenta. easy child 2/difficult child 2 has a white one which is now so badly stained I think it should be dyed black. I firmly believe that all those resorts which use fluffy white towels are always buying new ones.

Places we stayed while we were away - we had white towels but were banned from using them at the poolside or anywhere else other than the bathrooms. They also provided dark brown towels to use at the beach or the pool.
Another place - pale pink towels inside, but they also provided some old (but still looking good) darker-coloured towels for wiping down the car, door mat in emergencies, cleaning car windscreen of snow & ice, on tiled floor on icy mornings, etc.

The combination of skin oils, perspiration, tanning lotions and oils - not kind to white towels. Bleach is also likely to contribute to yellowing (hence optical brighteners being useful). I remember when my sister used to bleach her hair - it turned a brassy yellow. She then would put a very dilute blue rinse through it, to tone down the brassiness. But it would rise out when hr hair got wet, and chlorinated pool water PLUS her hair - it actually would look green!

Hope you can solve your problem, Fran.



New Member
I've always used Dawn dishwashing soap for grease. It works great on clothes, sheets, towels, whatever. It takes the grease out of clothes the same way it does the dishes.


Active Member
Ask your grocery store to order the bluette. They can usually get it in a week or so and it does a wicked wicked job on whites and colors! Once word gets out, they'll sell it quick as all get out!