How To Wash Men’s White T-Shirt Without Wrinkles

Few fashion items are as universally loved as the plain white T-shirt. After all, it’s the most adaptable piece in your wardrobe: Wear it with heels for a night out, under the slip dress of the day for an office-appropriate appearance, or with your beloved blue jeans for the official off-duty look favored by everyone from farmers to supermodels. You don’t have to go insane trying to keep them looking fresh wash after wash, but there are a few easy procedures you should include in your washing regimen if you want your white items to stay white. Teeanime sought the advise of two experts on how to keep white apparel clean and bright.

Keep the Loads Small

Are your T-shirts looking gray and dingy? You may be overloading the machine. “The more items you have in the load, the more dirt and grime that’s released in the washing process,” adds Brian Johnson, director of instruction at The Drycleaning & Laundry Institute. “Once in the water, that soil will ultimately redeposit back onto the garments.” In a nutshell, don’t overfill your washer. Also, only wash whites with other whites.

Use the Right Amount of Detergent

According to Johnson, the type of soap you use isn’t as significant as the amount you use. “When dirt is released into the water, one of the detergent’s primary functions is to prevent it from redepositing on the fabric,” he explains. “You can’t achieve that effect, which traps the dirt until the drain cycle, if you don’t use enough detergent.”

The Best Way to Wash a White T-Shirt

Abrasion from agitation fractures the surface of the T-shirt and causes small fibers to stick out. Turn your T-shirts inside out before tossing in the wash, suggests Mike Abbott, director of R&D at Hanes. “This helps to keep the outside of the garment looking cleaner.” Next, add a detergent with a whitening ingredient and select warm water. “Hot water destroys the shirt’s color faster than warm water,” he explains.

Can You Bleach White T-Shirts?

Bleach is difficult to use. “A decent quality bleach works on 100% cotton products,” Abbott advises, but avoid it on items produced with synthetic fibers like nylon or spandex. (This includes the majority of your fancier T-shirts.) “Bleach degrades spandex,” he explains. Even 100 percent cotton whites can yellow if you apply too much bleach. To be safe, use non-chlorine bleach, such as OxiClean.


If you like your clothes to be super-white, this old-school product, a blue solution that adds a small bit of blue dye to the water during the wash cycle, might be your new favorite. If the ocean can turn whites yellow, why would you add blue to your laundry? “Because the human eye interprets blue as white,” Abbott argues, “bluing chemicals operate as optical blinds for whiteners.” They impart a blue color to cover up yellowing caused by dirt, oil, or chlorine bleach and make garments appear whiter.

How to Tackle Yellow Underarm Stains

The nagging yellow armpit stains that relegate your flexible wardrobe staple to the undershirt pile? The aluminum in your antiperspirant is to blame. Yes, the substance that prevents sweating reacts to perspiration, resulting in the yellow armpit stain. It’s a vicious cycle; unfortunately, once those stains set in, they’re impossible to remove, according to Johnson. His advice: Wash your white T-shirts as soon as possible to prevent these stains from settling in. “Most people attempt to get two or three uses out of items,” he explains. “However, you should run it through a wash cycle a couple of days after wearing it.”

Stain Removal

To remove darker stains, such as those yellow armpit stains, soak your item for 30 minutes in a non-chlorine-based bleach, such as Oxiclean, before washing. Always use the warmest water temperature advised on the care label. “Because heat accelerates all chemical reactions, the hotter the water, the better your detergent will behave,” he explains. Treat light stains with detergent (most detergents contain oxygen-based bleach) and toss in the wash.

The Best Way to Dry a T-shirt

Unlike a majority of the garments we’ve written about here, your white T-shirt can undoubtedly go in the dryer-just take it gentle. “You don’t want to make it bone-dry,” warns Abbott. “Excessive drying damages the cotton and can cause yellowing.” Set your dryer to a shorter cycle, remove while moist, and hang to dry for the best results. You may also smooth out wrinkles with a low-heat iron setting.