Is Aspirin Really The Secret To Keeping White Clothes Bright?

One of the downsides of white clothing is trying to make them bright white after repeated wear. After washing and wearing it a few times, the crispness of the white top or bottom can quickly fade to yellow or gray and look dull or even dirty. Though many people turn to bleach to whiten clothing, aspirin may be another household product you probably have on hand that can help keep your whites sparkling.

Aspirin might seem like an unlikely choice, but it can be a great hack when you simply run out of bleach. It is also especially helpful when you have deep-seed stains or gray areas that have been resistant to a regular bleach cycle.

While aspirin is convenient and great in a pinch, when wanting to target a problem area on a certain piece of clothing, it may not be as effective as using bleach to brighten your whites.

How to make a paste to spot-treat a stain

When you mix aspirin with water, it produces salicylic acid and acetic acid, according to LibreTexts Chemistry. One belief is that this acid is what helps whiten and brighten clothing by producing an effect that is similar to bleaching. However, the acids do not technically bleach, so the results are less dramatic than if you use bleach. 

This can come in handy when you want to whiten a soiled area or avoid using bleach directly on the material, whether your goal is to protect the clothing or keep it from smelling like bleach.

To target problem areas, crush two aspirin tablets right on the stain. Then add a few drops of water and rub the mixture with your finger or a utensil to really get the mixture deep into the stain. Then, set it aside for a minimum of two hours. Once the two hours have passed, use a damp rag to rub the area, creating small circles. You should notice the stain improve, but if not, start from the beginning and do another application. Once the stain is no longer there, wash the clothes in a regular cycle.

Applying aspirin to a whole wash load

If you want to use aspirin to lighten your whole wash load, it calls for some planning. For starters, you'll need two gallons of water and five aspirin tablets. Add the aspirin to a bucket or basin filled with hot water and allow enough time for the pills to fully dissolve. Once they vanish, add the clothes. Allow this mixture to soak overnight.

The following day, transfer the clothes to the washing machine, add three more aspirin tablets to the wash load, and run a normal cycle. To increase the brightening capability, don't toss the clothes into the dryer. Instead, hang them in the bright sunlight to boost their vibrancy.

Though you can regularly use this method to brighten whites, it takes more time and effort than simply pouring some bleach into your washer. However, for those who are bleach-avoidant or have sensitive skin, it might just do the trick.