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Two all-natural methods to brighten white towels in a flash – no bleach necessary


White towels can go grey over time, whether it’s from frequent use or because you’ve not been washing them in an all-white wash. However, rather than grabbing the bleach, Catherine Green, smol’s sustainable cleaning expert recommends two all-natural methods that can bring your bright white towels back to life.

She explained: “For towels that appear to be greying, a simple solution could be in your cupboard – bicarbonate of soda is an easy way to brighten white towels.”

Bicarbonate of soda, also known as baking soda, is often recommended for various cleaning tasks around the home and laundry is no different. As an added bonus, it’s also recommended for softening towels too.

“Mix one cup of bicarbonate of soda with five litres of warm water and leave your white towels to soak overnight before washing as normal,” said Catherine.

“Half a cup of bicarb can also be added straight to your washing machine’s drum if you don’t have the opportunity to soak your towels overnight.”

For a bonus, rather than popping your towels in the dryer, Catherine recommends hanging them outside to dry on a sunny day.

She said: “If you can get your white towels outside in the sunlight for a day this can really brighten them up. The UV rays will naturally bleach fabrics and don’t worry if it’s cold out, hanging towels by a window will have the same effect. “

However, if you want your towels to feel as fluffy as possible, Catherine admits you might need to put the tumble dryer to use.

“Hands down, line drying is better for the environment and will help your towels last longer but there’s no denying that a line-dried towel feels far stiffer than a tumble-dried one,” she said.

“This is down to the way water evaporates out of the towel. When your towel is wet, its fibres are less well connected to each other. But as the water begins to evaporate, its fibres bind more tightly together again, returning the material to a strong sturdy state.”

She continued: “In a dryer, the towel is constantly moving, making it more difficult for the fibres to re-bond as strongly. Essentially, this keeps the towel feeling softer. Hanging a towel out on the line where there’s no movement, allows the fibres to bond together again much more sturdily. Hence a stiffer feel.

“To get the best of both worlds, hang out your towels until they have almost fully dried and then pop them in the tumble for five minutes at the end to get a boost of softness.”

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