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How to Get Stains Off of White Shirts Without Using Bleach

author image S.R. Becker
S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.
How to Get Stains Off of White Shirts Without Using Bleach
Remove tough laundry stains from whites without bleach. Photo Credit Andrew Olney/Photodisc/Getty Images

There's no beating old-fashioned liquid chlorine bleach for its whitening power, but it's not the only option for removing a stain from a white shirt. A number of potentially less damaging products act as stain removers both before and during the wash. Whether your stains are from sweat or spills, a little elbow grease is your best friend when it comes to removing them without bleach.

Step 1

Wet the stain with water and pour a drop of liquid laundry detergent onto it. Scrub the detergent into the stain with a toothbrush and allow it to sit for 15 minutes before washing the shirt.

Step 2

Wet a toothbrush, dip it into a box of baking soda and scrub the stain with the paste. Allow the baking soda to work for 15 minutes before washing.

Step 3

Pour lemon juice or white vinegar directly onto coffee, tea or grass stains. Saturate the fabric around the stain and allow it to sit for 15 minutes before washing.

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Step 4

Scrub yellowed sweat stains on armpits and necks with plain table salt. Make a paste with water, rub the salt into the stain with your fingertips and wait 15 minutes before washing. Salt also works well on red wine and blood stains.

Step 5

Add a scoop of powdered oxygen cleanser or 1 cup of white vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide or borax to the washing machine water.

Step 6

Line-dry white clothes in bright sunlight for extra bleaching power.

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