Are Your Undershirts Looking Dull? Re-Whiten Your Tees with Rit White Wash.

If you’re like me, you probably have a handful of undershirts that you prefer wearing over others. For me, I have a couple favorite undershirts that I rotate through sleeping in every night, and due to the amount of wear these undershirts get, they have been washed a ton of times.

Now, I don’t know how it is in your household, but my lovely wife pretty much forbids me from doing the laundry. I think she thinks I’ll mess it up somehow, even though I lived on my own for 10+ years and I’m a pretty self-sufficient guy. Like many others, the Mrs. regularly uses liquid bleach on the whites, and while solutions like Clorox do a good job in cleaning whites, over time and many washings, my nice bright white undershirts tend to dull over time.

For those unaware, when fabric is initially knitted, it’s usually in the form of what is called greige goods (undyed/unbleached fabric). This means that to get your white shirts really white, manufacturers will usually dye the fabric white.

So, it’s logical to assume that if you wash and chemically treat your white undershirts frequently, over time, you will essentially wash the white color right out of your undershirts!

Here’s an email from a reader who was looking for a way to brighten up his dull, yellowing undershirts (not yellow pit stains):



Sweat Proof Undershirts

I hope you can help me. My favorite brand of undershirt (Life by Jockey) has been discontinued, and I start a new job soon that requires me to where a button-down oxford without a tie. The type of job that it is (selling advertising to small business owners), I will need to wear an undershirt everyday, and since I am starting out on this new job, I don’t have the kind of funds to go out and buy a bunch of new things. A majority of my undershirts are yellowed because I have had them for a long time. What is the best remedy you know of that I can use to clean up my undershirts so my yellowed crew necks don’t show through my button down.

Thanks for your help.

My Response:

hey there,

one idea would be for you to pick up some white rit dye or some rit dye – white wash and use it on your yellowing shirts to bring back the whiteness.i’ve never tried it to bring back white, but i’ve used rit dye very successfully to dye white undershirts other colors.

other than that, i don’t know anything off hand that will remove yellow from the collar of the shirts. that said, there are a couple articles on my site that might be worth a look. this one in particular might be of interest:

Keeping Your Undershirts Their Whitest and Brightest

keep me posted!


click to enlarge – originally a yellowing/dull undershirt, rit white wash helped restore the brightness and color in this old undershirt

The Results

Hi Tug,

I picked up some RIT white wash and just threw about 10 of my yellow undershirts to soak in the washer.

Here are the results of my Whitewash:
The undershirts I washed in RIT Whitewash came out significantly whiter than they went in as. In fact here is a shot of one of my undershirts which was as yellowed as the cream colored overshirt (natural color) I am wearing, so you can see how white it came out.

Interestingly I threw a bunch of the Hanes T-shirts in there that I don’t really wear because I don’t like the quality and they did not come out as white as the Jockey or Life underwear I have most of.


How to wear undershirts

8 thoughts on “Are Your Undershirts Looking Dull? Re-Whiten Your Tees with Rit White Wash.”

  1. Nice article on using Rit White Wash.

    Do you know if it’s OK to use this in a top-load high efficiency washer?

    • heya t.j. thanks for stopping by and posting your question!

      i did a little poking around on the website, and i didn’t see anything that said you can’t use rit white wash in an HE machine.

      but, the folks at rit did say that dyeing clothes in an HE machine could be difficult because it is hard to judge how much water the washing machine is using, and rit recommends a certain amount of dye-to-water ratio.

      since you’re trying to re-whiten your undershirts/tees, then the ratio may not be as important as it is with dyeing colors.

      for additional information, do this google search:

      hope it helps!!

    • hey brandi! i don’t have any of the life-brand undershirts in my inventory, so i don’t know too much about them or how their sizing is, but if you subscribe to my email list, you’ll get access to my master undershirt resource workbook/spreadsheet that has information about over 120 undershirts.

      just download the workbook, take a look/measure your bf’s life-brand undershirts, and use the search or filter functionality in the spreadsheet to find something similar.

  2. This is more of a coincidence that I heard about SunGuard. A wash-in item that puts UPF sun protection into your clothes – upto 20 washes before it needs to be applied again through a wash cycle. Although Summer is almost over, I’m sure it will still be sunny and hot for most of the US for several months.

    • hey gil! thanks for mentioning sun guard laundry treatment uv protectant (also from rit). in reading the product description, the typical t-shirt provides an ultraviolet protection factor (upf) of 5, but when you add in sun guard, soars to a upf of 30.

      i’m not sure if the dulling noted in this article is a byproduct of sun exposure, since we are talking about undershirts here, but it’s a good find nonetheless.

      is seems as though they are positioning sun guard as a product that helps protect sensitive skin more than anything else, but it may have other benefits.

  3. To my knowledge, there actually isn’t a white Rit or Tintex dye (name brands of household dyes) That make clothes white. Cotton type fabrics are bleached to get them white. Synthetics are treated with an optical brightener(fabric finish that washed off all those expensive compression shirt.) I believe that the Rit whitener is probably the same as their color remover or perhaps It has a bleaching agent and a surfactant chemical. I’ll have to check this for sure.


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