Easy to use
Maintains bright whites
Doesn’t work on dingy whites
Strong (though pleasant) fragrance
We purchased the Tide Brights + Whites Rescue so our expert reviewer could put it to the test on her laundry. Keep reading for our full product review.
The battle to keep whites bright is ongoing, but Tide Brights + Whites Rescue is a convenient way to face the challenge. Laundry whiteners help restore whites by reducing gray or yellow hues while simultaneously deodorizing and softening your apparel. How they do that, however, can vary. Some formulas dye whites with blue pigments that counteract yellowing, some use straight-up bleach or hydrogen peroxide, and others provide a detergent boost with extra cleaning power. Tide Brights + Whites is the latter—an easy-to-use detergent booster. We tried the additive out on our dingiest whites to whether it could restore them to their former glory. Read on to see how we fared.
Performance: Better at maintaining than restoring
White fabric loses its brilliance over time, turning yellow or gray due to sweat or being mixed in with colored laundry loads. Restoring white fabric to its former glory is no small task, either. Sometimes it takes extra cleaning and other times the fabric may need to be dyed or bleached. The last thing most people want is more work in the laundry room, though—and that’s where an additive like Tide Brights + Whites Rescue comes in. Tide’s Rescue pacs (AKA pods) are filled with cleaning formula, so all you have to do is toss them in the wash with your clothes. The best part about this formula is there’s no measuring, diluting, or waiting until the rinse cycle to add them. Using these pacs is a complete no-brainer.
Tide Brights + Whites Rescue is designed for use with regular laundry detergent. It's also safe for standard or high-efficiency washing machines—both front and top loaders. We used a top-loading washing machine and started the cycle without clothes in the basin so it could fill with water first. We added the Tide Brights + Whites at the same time as our standard detergent and let them both dissolve. According to Tide’s website, you don’t need to wait for the pod to completely dissolve before adding your clothes, but since it was our first go with the formula, we figured we would.
The first load we washed contained white men’s dress shirts, T-shirts, socks, and underwear. Tide claims that the formula can whiten your fabric up to three shades. After pulling out items out of the wash, though, only the men's white dress shirts looked any brighter or whiter. The T-shirts, underwear, and socks were marginally better. More than the brightness of the whites, we noticed the fragrance (more on that later).
We weren’t sold after our first use, so we decided to test the detergent’s brightening and whitening promise with a second load. This time, we threw in socks only. Each pair had begun to gray on the bottom, so we wondered if Tide Brights + Whites Rescue could tone it down. After washing and drying, we were disappointed to find that the already-white portion of the socks was brighter, but the grayed portion remained unchanged.
Sometimes it can take a whitener several washings to really have an effect. So we continued to use the pacs for two more weeks. After additional loads, a pattern began to emerge; whites that were in good shape—AKA those that had no yellowing or graying—visibly brightened, but already dingy whites weren’t able to bounce back. At the beginning of our experiment, we were excited about the prospect of resurrecting our faded whites, but we found the formula was better at brightening than whitening.
Formula: Color safe
Tide Brights + Whites Rescue contains oxygen-based bleach, sodium carbonate, bleach activator, and enzymes. While the formula is bleach-based, it is color-safe and can be used on most dyes and fabrics without causing staining or damage. We’d be cautious before using any kind of laundry booster on delicate fabrics, however, as they’re more sensitive to chemicals.
Scent: Powerful but pleasant
Tide’s laundry whitener has a powerful scent and it took some getting used to. It's not an unpleasant smell, but it might be too strong for some. We’d liken it to perfumed soap. The scent stays with the clothes for days, so if you’re not a fan of heavy fragrances or you have sensitive skin, this may not be the best laundry booster for you.
Price: You pay for convenience
A 21-ounce resealable package of Tide Brights + Whites Rescue contains 27 pacs and costs around $15. For a standard load, you only need one pac—so you’re essentially spending 55 cents to brighten and whiten. For extra cleaning power or extra-large loads, though, you’ll want to pop in two pacs at once.
We tested four different laundry whiteners and found Tide Brights + Whites Rescue was by far the easiest to use. We didn’t have to measure any powder or liquid, nor did we have to dilute any solutions before adding them to the washing machine. Tide’s pacs are also meant to be used with detergent, so there’s no need to wait for the rinse cycle before adding it. While they may seem expensive, you’re paying for convenience and we’d say that’s worth it.
Competition: Alternatives worth exploring
Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing: This formula doesn't work quite like Tide Brights + Whites. Instead of boosting your detergent, it dyes your whites a subtle shade of blue that counteracts yellow staining. If you're not looking for a detergent booster and you want to keep extra chemicals out of your laundry, it's a good alternative. The $5 formula is inexpensive, but it does have to be used with every white load to maintain its effect and it’s more complicated to use.
Nellie’s Oxygen Brightener: Nellie’s is a color-safe detergent booster like Tide Brights + Whites Rescue. While it's not quite as convenient to use (it comes in powder form, rather than pods), the formula is comparably priced and can also be added to each load along with a standard detergent. It doesn't have a strong scent like Tide and we found it did a better job of removing odors.
Tide’s laundry whitener has a powerful scent and it took some getting used to.
OUT White Brite Laundry Whitener: OUT’s White Bright formula is another popular option that’s semi-successful in brightening and whitening. While we had success using it, it can get pricey as you have to use half a cup per load. The solution isn’t color-safe, and we also ran into some issues with bleaching, so it’s definitely not as straightforward to use as Tide’s Bright + White Rescue pacs.
Worth it to maintain your whites (as long as they’re already in good condition).
If convenience is your main concern, you can't go wrong with Tide Brights + Whites Rescue. It’s an exceptionally easy way to add a bleach alternative to your whites without measuring anything, after all. Just keep in mind that the formula does its best work with whites that are in good condition. It’s great at brightening, but it’ll likely be disappointed if you’re working with yellowed or grayed items.
- Product Name Brights + Whites Rescue Color Safe In-Wash Laundry Booster
- Product Brand Tide
- UPC 037000962380
- Price $14.95
- Weight 1.46 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 3.5 x 8.7 x 11.1 in.
- Available Sizes 9, 18, and 27 counts