The Best Laundry Whiteners to Keep Your Clothes Bright

Clorox Splash-Less Bleach is our top pick

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Best Laundry Whiteners

The Spruce / Sabrina Jiang

There are plenty of whitening products, from detergents to bleach and stain removers, that promise to banish stains and preserve crisp white fabrics. We spent hours searching for the best ones, assessing effectiveness, formulation, and value.

Our top pick, Clorox Splash-Less Bleach, is concentrated, delivers a steady pour, and gets out tough stains like grass, dirt, and blood.  

Here are the best laundry whiteners to maintain the appearance of your white clothes.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Clorox Splash-Less Bleach

4.7
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Clorox-Clorox-8482-Splash-Less-Liquid-Bleach-Regular/1002269340

Courtesy of Home Depot

What do buyers say? 92% of 1,900+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

This splash-less version of Clorox bleach was designed to protect your skin and clothing from errant sprays and splatters. To use, add one-third of a cup to your washer's bleach dispenser or, if you don't have one, wait five minutes after the water has started filling before pouring it in. This concentrated formula is not intended to sanitize or disinfect items like medical scrubs; it's for cleaning everyday bleachable items. Never use bleach on wool and silk.

For the best results, some laundry nerds with lots of time on their hands prefer to wash their whites first to remove the proteins from sweat (when mixed with bleach, it might cause yellowing) and then run a second cycle with bleach. Whatever your process, remember not to combine it with products like vinegar, ammonia, or other bleach products, as this could cause a dangerous chemical reaction.

Best Powder: OxiClean White Revive Laundry Whitener + Stain Remover

4.7
OxiClean White Revive Laundry Whitener + Stain Remover

Courtesy of Amazon

Oxygen bleaches, like this popular option from OxiClean, are more environmentally friendly alternatives to chlorine-based products. You can add OxiClean powder to your washing machine along with detergent. For best results, add the OxiClean before you drop in the colorfast clothing. Or, for extra-stubborn stains (think ground-in dirt after soccer practice), create a soaking solution of one scoop of OxiClean in one gallon of warm water and allow the garment to sit for six hours before washing as usual.

OxiClean shouldn't be used on items such as wool, silk, leather, or dry-clean-only fabrics. This 5-pound tub should last for about 75 loads.

OxiClean White Revive Laundry Whitener + Stain Remover

 The Spruce / Stacey L. Nash

Best Pods: Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean 5-in-1 Power Paks

Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean 3-IN-1 Power Paks

Courtesy of Walmart

If you're looking for convenience, this detergent and oxygen bleach combo comes in handy tablets that you can easily toss into the washer. Baking soda—this detergent's primary ingredient—has long been a secret weapon in the laundry game as it's able to brighten colors, get rid of odors, and help regulate the water's pH level, which helps detergent do its job more effectively.

The packets also contain OxiClean and a scent-boosting product that one customer agrees isn't too overwhelming. To help keep the packets away from curious children, Arm & Hammer has designed an especially strong zippered plastic bag, but you should, of course, store your detergent pods well out of reach of little ones.

Best Smelling: The Laundress Whites Detergent

The Laundress Women's Whites Detergent

Courtesy of Amazon

Reviewers love this bleach-free product for its ability to keep their whites looking fresh without causing any damage. It also has a pleasant floral scent, which the company describes as a mix of lily of the valley, jasmine, sandalwood, and citrus.

Instead of bleach, the two main brightening, mineral-based ingredients are the preservative sodium gluconate and calcium chloride, a type of water-soluble salt. This product can also double as a detergent for hand-washing delicate items, reducing your need to buy that too.

Best for Colors: Tide Plus Bleach Alternative Liquid Laundry Detergent

Tide Plus Bleach HE

Courtesy of Walmart

Since this no-fuss liquid laundry detergent is made with a bleach alternative, you can use it to keep both white and colored clothes in tip-top shape. Shoppers rave about the fresh smell, and some say they've been able to eliminate regular bleach from their routine altogether.

To help fight stains, Tide Plus Bleach Alternative contains various enzymes designed to work on vegetables, starches, and proteins, as well as an ingredient that helps neutralize the chlorine found in water, preventing colored fabrics from fading. This formula is safe to use in all HE (high-efficiency) washing machines.

Best Spray: Shout Triple-Acting Laundry Stain Remover Spray

Shout Triple-Acting Stain Remover Spray

Courtesy of Walmart

One issue with many stain-removal products is that they work best if you treat the spot and then wash immediately. However, that isn't the case with Shout's Triple-Acting Laundry Stain Remover. You can apply this powerhouse formula to tough messes like red wine on a white shirt, and then your garment can sit in the hamper for as long as a week before being washed. It's safe on any colorfast item.

"Triple-acting" refers to the way the formula works. It penetrates stains once applied, clings to stains during the wash cycle, and lifts stains away. It's made from sodium hydroxide, a compound known for its ability to dissolve grease and oil, and it has sodium borate, an ingredient that helps remove stains gives detergents a boost. 

Final Verdict

The best laundry whitener for you depends on a few factors, including how bad your stains are and your preferred application method. If you want a concentrated bleach that you can add to your washer's bleach container, we love Clorox's Splash-Less Bleach (view at Home Depot). If you're after convenience, Arm & Hammer's Plus OxiClean 3-IN-1 Power Paks (view at Walmart) and Clorox's Bleach Pens (view at Walmart) couldn't be easier to use. 

What to Look for in Laundry Whiteners

Chemicals

Laundry whiteners use a variety of things to get the job done, and many use chemicals like chlorine or oxygen bleach. This may be a turnoff for those trying to keep harsh chemicals out of the home—in that case, look for baking soda-based whiteners or whiteners made from minerals. These offer a slightly safer approach to laundry (though they should still be kept out of reach of children and pets).

Application

Some laundry whiteners, like bleach, can be poured into a special slot into your washing machine when you start your load. Others will need to be added to the load itself (this is the case for many powdered or pod whiteners). Still others can be applied as a pre-wash treatment or on-the-go in pen form.

Color Safety

If you're only washing your whites with other whites, the color safety of your laundry whitener isn't really a concern. But if you're washing your whites with items that can't be bleached, you'll need to take care with which laundry whitener you use. Use bleach alternatives or baking-soda based whiteners instead.

FAQ
  • Do laundry whiteners work?

    Laundry whiteners are a great way to revitalize yellowed linens like sheets, towels, and shirts. They use a combination of chemicals and other ingredients to whiten and brighten laundered items, restoring them to the crisp whites they were before.

  • How can I whiten my clothes without bleach?

    Yes! Bleach is just one way you can whiten your laundry—there are plenty of alternatives. Oxygen bleach is a gentler option to the traditional chlorine bleach. Additionally, baking soda-based whiteners can be used, as can more natural, mineral-based whiteners.

  • How can I keep my sheets white?

    Nothing makes a freshly-made bed look sadder than yellowed sheets. To keep them looking white, use a laundry whitener every month to restore their brightness. Additionally, treat stains as soon as they happen, as they'll be harder and harder to clean as they age.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Lexi Dwyer has written about recycling bins, clothes hangers, and patio tables for The Spruce. She is a lifelong Tide fan who loves the challenge of getting out tricky stains and considers Home Comforts author Cheryl Mendelson the go-to laundry expert. Additional reporting was done by Rabekah Henderson, a freelance design and decor writer whose work has appeared on MyDomaine, Atomic Ranch, Cary Magazine, and American Farmhouse Style.

Updated by
Rabekah Henderson
Rabekah Henderson headshot
Rabekah Henderson is an NC-based contributing writer for The Spruce covering design, decor, and all things home.
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