How To Keep White Clothes Clean, No Matter What Fabric It Is

Since I highly doubt any of our wardrobes are made entirely from white shirts designed to be stained, you have to be prepared for the inevitable. NYMag recently broke down the deets on how to keep white clothes clean, but I want to go one step further and talk about how important it is to take whatever fabric you're dealing with into account before you decide on the best stain-removing strategy for whites. So, go have that glass of red in your favorite white knit summer dress and don't freak if you spill because I got your back.

Generally speaking, NYMag offered up some seriously solid white clothing advice. Their article suggests protecting your whites before you wear them with Scotchgard, always having a stain stick handy (I personally love Tide to Go), and giving detergent a boost with a little White Brite. But can you use detergent for linen and cotton? What about dealing with stains on your favorite white wool sweater? Hang in there, friend.

1. Cotton

If you're 100 percent sure the piece of clothing you stained is 100 percent cotton, then dabbing with bleach and rinsing is fine. Use a light hand, though. Bleach is intense! No other fabric can really handle bleach like cotton, but that doesn't mean your stained clothes can never be white again!

2. Linen

For linen, try pouring lemon juice and salt on the stain, then laying it out in the sun to "bleach." Then, rinse, rinse, rinse, and rinse.

3. Cashmere

Cashmere can also usually be handled at home. Rinse the stain with cold, cold water and scrub a non-bleach stain remover like Zout over it in a small circular motion.

4. Silk & Wool

As far as silk and wool are concerned, you can try to follow a similar approach to cashmere stain removal, but honestly, your best bet to remove stains from those fabrics without accidentally making things way worse is to get your pieces dry cleaned. It's a little more pricy, but certainly not more expensive than buying a new silk dress or wool sweater!

Also, if you're looking to geek out on even more stain removal knowledge, the Martha Stewart team has this insane chart. You're welcome.

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