Wash-day yellows!

The first problem with the yellowing of white cotton is that it may be caused by a variety of factors. Some suggest that the yellow stains are the result of using either too much or too little detergent, that the linen is being washed in water with too low a temperature, or that it is not being rinsed properly.

Other sources believe water temperature has nothing to do with it, and that it is the sun tan lotion and other cosmetics that guests have on, that, when combined with perspiration, rubs off onto the linen, creating the yellowish tinge. More suggestions for the causes of these stains include the use of fabric softeners,  dirt coming into the washing machine from rusty pipes, or from mud that may collect at the bottom of water reservoirs. Whatever the cause may be, we snooped around and tried to find some answers to your wash-day blues – or is that your wash-day yellows?

Thank you to the generous establishment owners who came up with the following suggestions:

Tip No. 1

To rid the linen of the yellow tinge, wash it at as high a temperature as the material will allow. For pure cotton this could be as high as 90°C Use a good quality detergent and use the correct dose.

Tip No. 2

Very often these types of stains are caused by various fabric softeners. Stop using them and clean the washing machine thoroughly, especially the softener dispenser.

Tip No. 3

Use a product called “Glo Care Stain Devils No 7” to remove rust and iron mould. It comes in a 50ml bottle – the product seems to get rid of these types of stains. A cause for the rust coloured stains might be wire wash lines. Replace them with nylon covered lines.

Tip No. 4

Try rubbing the stain with “Sunlight Liquid”. This cuts grease and should take fat or oil stains out of nearly anything. Once treated, wash linen normally.

Tip No. 5

If you are using a top-loader washing machine, use a considerable amount more detergent than you would for a front-loader. Also, run the cycle on a hot temperature and, as mentioned previously, don’t use fabric softener. Often what happens in a top-loader is that although the detergent has removed the stain, the oil or fat remains in the water. When the machine spins, the linen moves outwards towards the perimeter of the barrel, as does the fat or oil. With nowhere else to go, it lands up on your linen once again! To get the best out of your top-loader, run the empty machine regularly on the hottest cycle with two cups of detergent and a cup of dishwasher detergent.

Tip No. 6

Try soaking the linen in Steri-nappy! This has helped for many guest house owners...

Tip No. 7

Try the old-fashioned way: rub the stain with a bar of green sunlight soap. Rub in and hang in the sun, then wash in the normal way. Who knows, if it worked for our grandmothers, why shouldn't it work for us?

Tip No. 8

GNLD, the old Golden Products, have two products, namely Oxygen Bleach and  Super 10. Simply spray the Super 10 on the stain and place a spoonful of Oxygen Bleach into the washing machine. Especially useful on coloured linens, as it does not bleach colours. According to users, this combination removes tough stains including blood, red wine, lipstick and mascara.

Tip No. 9

Dry the linen in the sun. In conclusion, it seems best to experiment with some of the tips mentioned above. Hopefully you get the desired effect – namely crisp, stain-free and ultimately, presentable linen.