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How to whiten yellowed clothes? A simple guide to save your dresses!

In second hand market is quite common to find dresses with lower prices because of the natural yellowing of the fabric. Some people prefer to avoid buying those, but let me tell you that’s perfectly possible to save those pieces and whiten them back!

So let’s go!


Last month I bought here from Wunderwelt a BTSSB Cherry Audrey OP. This one is 100% cotton with some black satin ribbons along the body. I bought it in a dreadful yellowed state, but since I had been dreaming with this cut, why not save it?

So, for this whitening tutorial you’ll need:

  1. Strong stain removal – preferably with oxygen in the formula.
  2. A large bowl;
  3. Hot water;
  4. An open area that gets direct sunlight;
  5. Your yellowed piece.

Here’s the stain remover I’ve used for this tutorial. Remember to read the description of the removal you’re going to use. Any brand should do as long as it’s oxygen based, recommended for the type of fabric of your dress (mine is cotton, as I said) and fitted for the colours of your piece (mine is white, so I bought a White Clothing version. There are specific stain removers for coloured clothes).

First of all, read the instructions of your remover. Mine specifically asks for two spoons of powder for each 2 liters of hot water (50°C)

After preparing your mixture, soak your dress on the water and let it rest for about 1 hour under the sunlight.

ATTENTION: Do not let dark coloured pieces under the sunlight. The sun works great for light pieces, but will make your dark colours fade away (not happening with satin ribbons, though.).

After that, spread a plastic cover on the floor and put your (still wet) dress there. Let it rest under direct sunlight for about two hours, turning its sides from 30 to 30 minutes.

From time to time, go check your dress and don’t forget to water it with the mixture you made before. It’s important that the dress is kept wet under the sun (we call it scalding here where I live).

Now wash the chemical mixture away and let it dry, again, under direct sunlight.

And it’s ready! You can see the difference below:

If you’re not satisfied with the result, you can redo this procedure up to three times. It removes stains, yellowing and helps renovate the dress.

Also, don’t forget to watch out for off-white dresses! Repeating this tutorial may take the “offness” of it away, so pay attention while whitening your clothes!

And now, are you ready to recover some dresses? <3

Laura Ribeiro
26-years-old Brazilian, trying to survive with a black and navy wardrobe during the summer. I work as a freelancer writer in fashion, games and education. During my free time I enjoy sewing, writing fiction, drawing and, of course, playing lots of video game.