Light dirt removal
Easy to pour
Doesn’t restore yellowed or grayed whites
Doesn’t tackle pre-existing stains
Takes a lot of product per load
We purchased the OUT White Brite Laundry Whitener so our expert reviewer could put it to the test on her laundry. Keep reading for our full product review.
Everyone wants the brightest, whitest whites, which is why there are various whitening products on the market. These detergents are often used in place of bleach, which can be harsh on fabrics, and some can even be used as a separate stain treatment or as a detergent additive to restore grayed or yellowed whites. Others work by changing the hue of the whites to one that the eye perceives as whiter and brighter. To see what OUT could do for our past-their-prime whites, we put it to the test. Keep reading for our insights and decide if it’s worth adding to your laundry lineup.
Performance: Brightens but may not whiten
White Brite can be used as a pre-soak treatment or as a laundry booster. To see how it performed overall, we tried both. First, we pre-soaked some dishcloths that had gotten dingy when washed with detergent alone. While the dishcloths had colored stripes and White Brite’s label specifically states that it can damage colors and embroidery, they were in such a sorry state that we were willing to take the risk. At this point, we figured color damage couldn't be any worse than the existing discoloration.
Per the instructions, we filled a plastic bucket with one gallon of warm water and half a cup of White Brite. White Brite is a powder, so we mixed the solution until it dissolved before adding the dishcloths. We then soaked them for the recommended 20 minutes. Once the timer sounded, we removed the dishcloths, poured the water down our utility sink, and put the dishcloths in the washing machine. We then ran the wash cycle as normal.
After a wash and dry, there was a noticeable difference in the color of the dishcloths. The colored stripes had faded from green and blue to different shades of brown, but we weren’t worried about that. The white portion had also visibly brightened, transforming into cream color, and while it wasn’t restored to its former glory, it was still a major improvement.
After our first test, we knew we needed to give White Brite another try with all-white pieces. Our next test was on a white men's dress shirt and a white T-shirt. On the first, we wanted to see if the detergent could eliminate a collar ring, while on the latter, we were looking to eliminate some pre-existing stains. To ensure the best results, we went through the pre-soak process as instructed.
White Brite performed well on the ring around the collar. While you could still see slight marks, the results were better than with regular detergent alone. The formula wasn't quite as effective on the white T-shirt, though. There was no difference on the pre-existing stains and very minor improvement on newer stains. We should, though, preface this with the fact that these weren't ordinary stains—they were grease and general grime from working in a shop. So, if you’re looking to eliminate light dirt, it may work just fine.
For our final test, we used White Brite as a laundry booster with a load of whites that included shirts, tank tops, and socks. We added half a cup of White Brite to warm water as it filled the tub of the washing machine and let it dissolve. We then added detergent and clothes and washed as normal.
Items that were already pretty white came out looking brighter, but we didn't notice an improvement in clothing that had grayed or yellowed. The bottoms of our white socks were still slightly grayed and yellow sweat stains remained in the pits of our white tees. All in all, White Brite did brighten some of our clothing, but it’s not a good solution for heavily faded or stained whites.
Formula: Keep it ventilated when soaking
White Brite does not contain bleach or oxy. It only has three ingredients: sodium metabisulfite, sodium hydrosulfite, and sodium carbonate. If you have sulfite sensitivities, do not buy this product; the vapors can trigger a reaction.
It's also recommended that you wear rubber gloves and pre-soak your laundry in a well-ventilated area. All of these warnings are included in the fine print on the container but are nice to know before you buy.
While we didn't find the fumes to be overpowering, we definitely recommend soaking in a well-ventilated area. We used a laundry room with two ventilation fans, and that was enough to keep up with the fumes.
Scent: Unpleasant at best
We're not sure what scent this whitener is supposed to have but once it hits the water, it's not pleasant. The worst was during the pre-soak, as we were using it in a bucket in an open room, so the fumes spread the scent farther than we would have liked. Thankfully, we have a laundry room with two ventilation fans that kept it under control. We can only liken the scent to a wet dog, which isn’t what most want their home to smell like. Luckily, after the clothes were washed and dried, they smelled like our regular laundry detergent, not the White Brite.
Price: Not great, considering how much you’ll need to use
OUT White Brite sells its 28-ounce bottle for roughly $5. The resulting price per ounce isn't bad, but considering that you have to use half a cup for each load or soak, it isn’t great, either. We tested several other whiteners and found that they delivered the same results (if not better) with less detergent.
Items that were already pretty white came out looking brighter, but we didn't notice an improvement in clothing that had grayed or yellowed.
Competition: Better options out there
Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing: This highly concentrated formula doesn't attempt to remove stains so much as restore the whiteness of your whites by changing their color as bluer whites appear whiter to the eye. We tried the product and our clothes looked brighter, much like White Brite, but there are a few other benefits as well. Mrs. Stewart’s formula, which goes for roughly $4 for an 8-ounce bottle, smells much better and requires less per load.
Nellie’s Oxygen Whitener: Nellie’s powder formula is safe to use on whites and colors. It's more of an overall laundry booster than a whitener, so we didn't notice any brightening, but there was a light cleaning boost. It also got rid of odors better than any of the other whiteners and laundry detergents we tried. A 2-pound tin of the product goes for roughly $15 and it doesn’t take much per load so it’s pretty well priced.
Tide Brights + Whites Rescue: Tide Brights + Whites Rescue "pods" are easy to use and they brighten much in the same way as White Brite. It doesn't necessarily get rid of graying or yellowing, but does make whites look brighter. We would use this one again over White Brite simply because it's easier to drop a pod in the washing machine than it is to measure a powder. A 27-pack of pods goes for $15 so you will pay a slight price for convenience.
Research other options first.
While OUT White Brite does brighten whites, it takes a lot of detergent per load and it’s scent is pretty awful. There are better-performing formulas on the market and many are more convenient to use, too, so we’d suggest looking elsewhere first.
- Product Name White Brite Laundry Whitener
- Product Brand OUT
- UPC 076168001173
- Price $5.64
- Weight 28 oz.
- Product Dimensions 9 x 4.5 x 2.25 in.