Laundry whiteners, available in liquid, powder, or pod form, are a convenient add-on to the basic laundry routine. Some of these cleaning products contain bleach, and others are made out of natural, eco-friendly ingredients. They can be added to washing machines with detergent or used to presoak clothing. Laundry whiteners can freshen up clothing, restore whiteness or colors, and remove stains.
When choosing the best laundry whiteners, be sure to look for products that are effective, high-quality, and safe for your fabrics. Follow this guide to find the best laundry whitener to enhance your laundry day and keep clothes looking and smelling fresh.
- BEST OVERALL: OxiClean White Revive Laundry Whitener+Stain Remover
- BEST POWDER: Savvy Green Oxygen Brightening Powder
- BEST PODS: Grab Green Natural Bleach Alternative Pods
- BEST LIQUID: OUT 4 lb. 12 oz. Bottle White Brite Laundry Whitener
- BEST SCENT: The Laundress New York – Whites Detergent
- BEST NATURAL: Molly’s Suds Natural Oxygen Whitener, Non Chlorine
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Laundry Whitener
Laundry whiteners come in different types and have a range of ingredients. When choosing the best laundry whitener, consider the form, ingredients, and maximum number of loads it can handle as well as color and temperature safety. Here are some of the most important features and functions to look for when shopping for the best laundry whitener.
Laundry whiteners come in three main forms: liquid, powder, and pods. Liquid whiteners can be added to washing machines the same way as regular detergent. They also come in spray form. Powder whiteners, another popular type, can also be added to your laundry and detergent, and pods are premeasured packs that are similar to detergent pods.
Some laundry whiteners are made out of chemicals like bleach, while others contain organic ingredients. Bleach is a strong chemical, so caution should be taken when using whiteners containing bleach. Although effective for whitening laundry, bleach has a strong odor and can sometimes damage clothing. Whiteners made out of organic ingredients are also effective at brightening up clothing, but they don’t contain strong chemicals and odors.
Number of Loads
When buying a new laundry product such as a whitener, pay attention to how many loads the product can handle to ensure the right supply. This will eliminate the need to make frequent trips to the store.
In addition to brightening up white clothing, some whiteners are also suitable for use with colorful clothing. Whiteners with color-safe labels mean the product can brighten up clothing, restore color, and remove stains from white and colorful clothing.
Before choosing a laundry whitener, confirm what temperatures it can be used at. Some laundry whiteners can only be used in warm water. Those who wash most of their clothing in cold water should look for a whitener that can be used effectively in cold water.
Our Top Picks
These laundry whiteners can brighten up and freshen clothing, turning white clothing whiter and enhancing colors. Available in a variety of forms and quantities, here are some of the best laundry whiteners to keep clothes looking new.
This 3-pound box of OxiClean White Revive laundry whitener and stain remover combines with detergent to brighten clothes and remove stains. With 40 percent more whitening power per load than chlorine bleach, this laundry whitener can be thrown into a load of laundry or dissolved in water to presoak and remove tough stains. This unscented whitener is free of chlorine and made with a color-safe formula, capable of handling 45 loads of laundry.
- Chlorine-free formula
- 40 percent more whitening power than chlorine bleach
- Unscented formula may appeal to allergy-prone users
- Safe only on colorfast fabrics
- Not for use on items with wool, silk, or leather
This unscented oxygen-based brightening powder is an alternative to bleach. It can be added to laundry with detergent to brighten and clean clothes and can be safely used in water of all temperatures. This brightening powder deodorizes and also serves as an indoor and outdoor household cleaner. To remove tough stains, this product can be used for soaking clothes overnight. It comes in a recyclable 2.5-pound package with a convenient scoop.
- Can also be used as a household cleaner
- Chlorine-, phosphate-, and fragrance-free formula
- Bag is #2 recyclable
- Costs more per ounce than other of our Top Picks
These fragrance- and bleach-free pods are made out of natural ingredients with a nontoxic formula that is free of chlorine. They can be used to brighten white clothing, remove stains, and neutralize odors. They are also color safe and designed to use in water of all temperatures. This package comes with enough pods for 60 loads of laundry.
- Made from plant- and mineral-based ingredients
- White pods don’t look like colored candy
- Can clean upholstery or carpet
- Free of fragrance, chlorine, dyes, and perfumes
- May not fully dissolve in cold water
This liquid laundry whitener brightens clothing and removes yellowing as well as red and rust stains. It can also reverse color bleeding. This whitener can be thrown into the washing machine or combined with water to presoak stained clothing. As a safer alternative to bleach, this laundry whitener can be used on white and colorfast fabrics, including delicates.
- Alternative to chlorine and oxygen bleach
- Reverses color bleeds
- Works well on iron- and red-clay-based stains
- Safe on colorfast delicates
- Not for sulfur sensitive; contains sodium metabisulfite, sodium hydrosulfite, sodium carbonate
- Recommends use only in well-ventilated area with rubber gloves.
This highly concentrated liquid laundry whitener whitens and brightens clothing while removing stains and yellowing with natural bleach alternative, surfactants, and stain-fighting enzymes that are not found in grocery-store-brand products. Made from plant-derived ingredients, free of phosphates, and dermatologist tested, this detergent will leave a classic clean scent that includes lily of the valley, jasmine, sweet musk, sandalwood, and citrus. And it’s also safe for clothing with color.
- Contains plant-derived ingredients
- Use of bleach alternative makes it safe for colors, too
- Scent includes lily of the valley, jasmine, sweet musk, sandalwood, and citrus
- Fragrance may not appeal to scent-sensitive users
- Costs more per load than most others on this list
This organic powder laundry whitener is chlorine-free and color-safe. Made with plant-based ingredients, it whitens and brightens clothing while removing yellowing from white clothes and eliminating graying from colorful fabrics. This laundry whitener contains pure lemon essential oils and comes in a 81.6-ounce package. It can also be used as a stain remover and household cleaner.
- Made from plant-based ingredients
- Lightly scented with lemon essential oil
- Can be used as household cleaner
- Not for use on wool, leather, or silk
If the goal is to find a dependable, all-around laundry whitener to keep clothes bright white, OxiClean White Revive Laundry Whitener+Stain Remover is one of the best on the market. Its fragrance-free formula may be a winner for many, but for those looking for a naturally scented laundry whitener, The Laundress New York Whites Detergent is a good pick. The formula includes the scent of lily of the valley, jasmine, sweet musk, sandalwood, and citrus.
How We Chose the Best Laundry Whiteners
These recommendations for the best laundry whiteners were selected to meet the needs of the average user, whether washing clothes with an HE washer or another type. We narrowed our research to focus mostly on laundry whiteners that were chlorine-free because of their appeal and popularity in the market. Among the popular options evaluated are those available in liquid, powder, or pod form, and we reviewed options made with a variety of ingredients.
The top laundry whiteners included in the list were chosen after considering the form, ingredients, maximum number of loads, and color and temperature safety for different fabrics. All of the top-performing products are effective, high-quality, and safe for most fabrics. There are products that made the list that have fragrance-free formulas, while others have natural scents that may better appeal to some users. Some also offer the benefit of use as a household cleaner.
If you haven’t used whiteners before in your home laundry routine, you may still have some questions about them. Here are some important questions and answers about laundry whiteners.
Q. Why is my white laundry turning yellow?
Sweat, bleach, and too much detergent are three common reasons white laundry takes on a yellowish cast.
Q. How do I use laundry whitener?
Laundry whitener can be added to washing machines along with fabric softeners to boost the detergent or dissolved in water to tackle tough stains.
Q. Where do you put whitener in a washing machine?
This depends on the type of whitener and washing machine. Liquid or powder whiteners typically go into the dispenser of a front-loading machine and directly into the water of a top-loading machine. Pods can go into the pod container or thrown directly into the washing machine.
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Erica Reagle is a freelance writer focusing on interior design and house hunting. She has written for a variety of lifestyle and design publications including HerCampus. Erica has an eye for style and finds joy in color coordinating closets. Her education includes communications and writing degrees from the University of Michigan. Erica and her husband are in the process of building their first home together. In her free time, she enjoys traveling to new places and tasting wine from all over the world.