Skip to main navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

How to Get Towels and Bed Linens Really Bright White

How to Get Towels and Bed Linens Really Bright White

So, how can you get your towels and bed linens as bright white as the towels and bed linens in a luxury hotel?

There’s an optical whitener called a fluorescent whitening agent in most detergents. It’s a colorless dye that deposits onto fabric during washing.

These dyes absorb light from the ultraviolet part of the spectrum, which you can’t see. They reflect it in the visible part of the spectrum — typically the blue wavelength, which increases brightness and makes up for light that gets trapped in fabric that isn’t clean. Light can’t reflect off fabric if it interacts with dirt.

To get your towels and bed linens the brightest white, while still getting them clean, follow these steps:

  1. Wash in hot water

    Select a hot water wash temperature. The hotter the water, the better the cleaning. This makes a difference not just after one cycle, but also over time.

    The hot water you get in your washing machine is only as hot as the temperature you set your hot water heater to. If you have turned the heater down a lot to save energy that will affect cleaning performance.

  2. Add Clorox®

    Add 1/2 cup (125 ml) of Clorox® Bleach or Clorox® Scented Bleach, along with your favorite detergent, to the washing machine. Using either of these Clorox® products will get your linens cleaner than they would with detergent alone and the cleaner the sheets, the whiter they will look.

  3. Measure detergent

    Make sure you add the right amount of detergent. Using too much can cause oversudsing, which cushions the load and reduces cleaning performance. It also makes it harder to rinse out all the detergent. That means more particles on the surface of the fabric, which prevent light from reflecting off it. Using too little detergent means you won’t have enough cleaning agents to remove dirt and soil.

    Use the right type of a good detergent. If you have a high-efficiency washing machine, make sure you’re using a high-efficiency detergent. Check the ingredients list to make sure it has enzymes and an optical whitener in addition to cleaning agents.

Don’t overload the washing machine. It’s very important that the laundry can rotate or tumble in the wash water freely. Laundry packed in too tightly doesn't agitate properly and doesn’t get as clean.
Don’t use fabric softener, especially with towels. Fabric softener leaves a coating on the fabric that reduces absorbency. It also keeps light from reflecting off the fabric, which reduces whiteness.