Blueing agents?

houserookieAugust 4, 2010

I have been reading a lot about getting white white again. I remember my grandmother using a blueing agent way back when...

I understand that fabrics are not white naturally, and they are commercially bleached and "blued" in order to become white. And that with time and washing over the years, white items will return to their off-white state.

This got me thinking that no matter how I wash, or what detergent I use, my grays will never be white again, unless I re-do this "bleaching" and "blueing" process.

Here at the forum, we talk a lot about bleaching and bleaching alternatives. But I was wondering if any of you use blueing, how, modifications to use it on a F/Ls, etc.

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Blueing when done correctly will give a very faint blue-ish cast to the white clothes that in bright light will make them appear whiter.
The same trick is used by painters by adding just a few drops of blue paint to a gallon of white paint to give a brighter look.
The trick is to know how little to use with your clothes with-out over doing it. My suggestion is to start with 1 or 2 drops of blueing and add a drop to the count each time you do whites until you get the results you want

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 5:14PM
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Thank you for your response. Can it be done in a FL? Do I dilute that in water and put in the bleach compartment?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 9:30PM
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I've been, academically, intrigued by bluing versus other methods. Had to research it, but appears bluing agents go in the final rinse, which would be the fabric softener or starch compartment on a front loading machine. (Well, mine anyhow!) Contents of the liquid bleach compartment are added during the main wash phase.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 9:45AM
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I have some leftover Mrs. somebodyorothers liquid blue leftover from my toploader days. I haven't used it since I got my new FL, 2 years ago. My whites are now whiter, due to higher wash temps. The directions were approx. 10 drops in the main wash of a TL machine. If I were to attempt to use it in my FL. I would try 1 drop in water and put into my liquid bleach dispenser to be dispensed into the main wash. Still 1 drop may be too much blue in such little water... Maybe try it with some bar towels first.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 7:28AM
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Most people don't understand that bluing is exactly that. It turns it slightly blue. It does *not* make things white. It's an optical illusion under certain lighting conditions that can make it look a different color. It also looks really strange under certain lighting conditions, especially mixed lighting and moreso when not applied properly. I'm more inclined to endorse cleaning clothes rather than try to cover it up. It's like the ongoing thing about things "smelling" clean. If clothes are clean, they shouldn't smell. When they smell, it's time to wash them.

Bluing must be reapplied often as it washes out. Bluing is much like wanting a brown car to be white. You can sprinkle flour on that car and it'll appear white, for a while. Then you'll have to reapply it when it rains.

I've never understood why people would use bluing. Wash it, bleach it (there's chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach, peroxide for just a few options) or hang the stuff in the sun and let it sun-bleach. Any of these is preferable to looking like an android from Mars! :)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 4:21PM
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cynic-- no real bluing agent fluoresces under UV light by absorbing the UV and re-emitting a shifted wavelength in the 430-470nm (blue) spectrum. NOT an optical illusion!

and also people do it because cottons come this way when you buy a shirt thats why new shirts look so white. The blue shifts the color of the cotton from ever so slightly yellow to bright white. Adding bluing agent will bring them back to their brand new look in a way that plain bleach can't (if your bleach does, it probably has an optical brigthener/bluing agent added.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 9:18AM
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@ rancur

I don't think bluing is the same as an optical brightener. Optical brighteners are colorless chemicals that reflect UV wavelengths, causing clothes to appear "brighter". Bluing does not contain optical brighteners. Bluing is a dye that tints your clothes every so slightly in the "blue" direction to make them appear whiter. Both are optical illusions, but bluing does not contain OBAs.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 10:51AM
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I am 80 years old and recall many products that my mother used to blue our white clothes after a run through the chlorox tub and a water rinse. The final rinse was always bluing. She liked a produce called LaFrance. It was in little bars and melted in hot water to make a cloudy blue rinse. I think the cloudy stuff was like the original fabric softener of its day. The washer was a GE wringer model. I used it many years after she passed away, until I got married and left home.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 5:18PM
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I also remember LaFrance bluing, also came as flakes in a box. Started making my own laundry soap. In the liquid version, I added some liquid bluing to the brew. Seems to work well enough and with the other basic ingredients. But I would like to make my own laundry soap powder and use powdered bluing instead of oxi-clean or liquid bluing. Thinking of trying to make my own bluing. read somewhere that early bluing made by mixing indigo powder and corn starch and was sometimes called "smalt." Im not so sure why this would work because indigo is unique. Anyone made powdered bluing or know where it's commercially available?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 5:56PM
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I spilled some of the blue stuff you put in the dishwasher on the door. I used the dish rag to clean it up. I tossed in the washer with the white clothes. My white things now have a nice blue tint. LOL

To answer your question, I don't use bluing, not necessary with what I use. I used to use Tide with bleach and my clothes were very white. I decided there had to be something cheaper out there. I found Purex Triple Action free and clear and it does just as well as Tide and it's much cheaper.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 12:52PM
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blueing is no longer necessary. use hot water, oxiclean powder and a good detergent and your whites will be as white as newly purchased items. blueing was something needed in years gone by. don't bother with it.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 5:20PM
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I use Mrs. Meyers on occasion and have a FL. I use 1/4 teaspoon mixed with 1 quart cold water and add it to the 2nd to last rinse. It's recommended that you not use FS in the final rinse but I've not had a problem or seen a reason why yet. It does make whites appear whiter but they don't really have a blue tint that I've noticed. There is also a chemical version of "Blueing" that P&G makes for commercial laundries called Whiteness Enhancer. I have that too and have used it basically the same way, however, if you get out in bright sunlight, you can definitely see a blue tint to whites. Preferred method would be to use the Mrs. Meyers you can buy on Amazon and sometimes smaller grocery stores, I don't know if WalMart or Target carry it.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 11:04AM
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