6 Secret Laundry Ingredients to Add to Your Next Load

Updated: Nov. 28, 2023

Get whiter whites and darker darks with these ingenious additions to your laundry.

If you do laundry as much as we do, you know it can be hard to get the results you want from your washer. Whites can dull to an off-white, and colors can lose their vibrancy after going through too many rinse cycles. But did you know you can add different ingredients to your laundry to maximize your washer’s cleaning power? Get whiter whites, darker darks, and rejuvinate your wardrobe with these ingenious additions to your laundry.

Whiter whites

Do your white T-shirts tend to go grey? White socks look dirty no matter how many times they’re washed? That doesn’t mean you have to give ’em the pitch. Try one of these tried and trusted methods for making whites stay white.

1. Baking soda

Baking soda can do just about anything, from bringing the silk and shine back to your hair to thoroughly cleaning your entire home. It’s the wonder ingredient you probably have in your pantry. Baking soda removes stuck-on stains and smells, and it even cleans you’re washing machien in the process. To bring life back to your clothes, soak your laundry in a solution of 4 liters water and 1 cup baking soda.

2. Aspirin

A lot of people swear by aspirin’s healing properties, and for good reason. It can heal your laundry, too! Aspirin is known for removing stains and keeping whites bright and sparkly even if you’ve worn the same shirt over and over. Soak in hot water in which you’ve dissolved 5 aspirin tablets (325mg each).

3. Vinegar

You’d be surprised what vinegar can do for your laundry (and the rest of your home). While vinegar is acidic, it’s still gentle enough on fabrics to give you the freshness you want without the wear and tear. It also cuts through residue left behind by laundry detergents, and, like baking soda, keeps your washer squeaky clean. Add 1 cup white vinegar to the washing machine’s rinse cycle.

Try this smart laundry trick with your next load.

Blacker blacks and darker darks

While faded and distressed-looking garments are sometimes the height of fashion, you may prefer not to look as if the last time you went clothes shopping was in the 80s. Here are some tips for keeping black and dark-colored clothes looking like new.

4. Coffee or tea

  • We’ve talked all about removing coffee stains from your clothes, but what about adding it to your rinse cycle? Coffee and tea work well for setting black colors in your clothes, and as good as it smells, your laundry won’t come out smelling like coffee. Instead, it’ll be fresh and darker than ever. For black clothes, add 2 cups brewed coffee or tea to the rinse cycle.

5. Salt

  • Salt is one of those ingredients you wouldn’t expect to benefit your whole house, much less darken your darks, but it sure does the trick. Salt stops your darks from bleeding into other clothing and also acts as a powerful stain remover. (It can also prevent yellowing is your whites.) For dark colors like navy blue or plum, add 1 cup table salt to the rinse cycle.

6. Vinegar and salt

  • Bring these two powerful ingredients together to really make a change in the way you do laundry. To keep denim from fading quickly, soak jeans in saltwater or a 50:50 solution of water and white vinegar before the first wash. Turn the jeans inside out before putting them in the machine and turn the temperature setting to cold.

Up Next: How to get sweat stains out of hats.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest