Hello and welcome to Houzify! Considering this is my first post here and we do not know each other well, let me quickly familiarize you with this religious DIYer I call Rukmini {which is me} and I’ll be your neighbourhood decor girl {you can call me a better sort of spiderwoman} who will tell you how to fix things, recycle ordinary things and turn them into extraordinary, show you a trick or two of home decor and tell you how to rock the decor boat like 1000s of rupees has gone into it, in a dime!

Whites – the very mention of it, especially when its decor – is just about enough to scare any homemaker. White is the most beautiful colour as it is so adaptable to a variety of lights, spaces and colour. It can be called an interior designer’s dream colour and a homemaker’s greatest foe. It is so not condusive to pets, children and careless adults especially during festival seasons. Whites and a constant inflow of festive traffic is a recipe for disaster or so it is believed. Truth be told, it’s quite easy to maintain whites – I am speaking from experience as I have an absolutely white decor. It’s just a matter of being attentive and taking the required precautions.

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Home of Rukmini Roy – Mumbai, India (Image courtesy: Rukmini Roy)

Jokes apart, if there’s one question that I get more than, how I am and how’ve you been, it’s how do you maintain the whites? Or worse, if my home is really so white! Well, what do you think I’m constantly photoshopping? Maybe! Or maybe I just have some real cool tips and tricks up my sleeve to keep my whites dazzling for years.

Carlton Bedroom 01

Home of Carlton Braganza – Bangalore, India.

I live in a small apartment, or rather a loft, in Mumbai and my decor style is beach house comfort with pops of colour – which means a healthy dose of white interrupted by a little colour here and there. I love how white can elevate any decor and pairs with fairy lights during Diwali. But Diwali also means a drop of sauce, a drip of mint chutney and a smear of meetha. So, what does one do in this case? Go rock and black? Nope, no way! Here’s a summary of the most effective ways on how one can maintain whites. We will divide it into 3 stages – pre treating stains, washing and brightening.

Wash Whites separately:

Do not mix whites with other clothes while washing. That is one major part of keeping whites white cornered.

Pre-treating stains:

Loose Fabric: If your white bed sheets, curtains or upholstery have stains, pre-treat them. In fact, the faster you treat stains the whiter and stain free your whites will be. There are commercially made stain removers like Ala, Vanish or Oxy-bleach. But I have found a clear shampoo (like Pantene clear) works better than these. Just add the shampoo directly onto the stain. Keep it for about 5 to 6 minutes and wash it with a brush.

Fixed Upholstery: Pre-treating stains is crucial for fixed white upholstery. For example, a sofa or a tufted headboard cannot be removed and put in the washing machine. How do you maintain white in such a case? Add a little of your bleaching agent, if using liquid bleach dilute it in water and directly apply on the stain. Wait for a minute. Dip a brush in slightly warm water and brush the stain. Wipe with a damp cloth. If the stain is old, you might need to do this for a couple of times. Hold a dryer once the stain is faded or gone and dry the area. Leaving it wet might attract dust and grime.

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Home of Rukmini Roy – Mumbai, India. (Image Courtesy: Rukmini Roy)

Use Laundry Boosters:

To keep your white bedding white, add washing soda, oxy-bleach or borax to your soaking water. This will increase the efficacy of your washing powder.

 The 3-second rule:

It’s not a 3 second rule as such, but try to clean up immediately whenever you know your white has been stained. It won’t hurt for one to scrub it off before it completely dries up. It’s an essential damage control rule that one is required to follow to maintain those dazzling whites.

Whites love warm water:

Soak whites in warm water with little detergent as it will directly attach to the grime or oil component and will help loosen the stain.

Brighten the whites:

You can use proprietary whiteners, 3% hydrogen peroxide, which is easily available at any chemists shop or use an organic brightener such as lemon juice or white distilled vinegar. Once you are done washing, add ½ cup lemon juice or distilled vinegar to your final rinse water.

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Project by: DDIR Architecture Studio, Bangalore.

Make sunlight an accomplice:

Did you know that strong sunlight can help brighten clothes? The ultraviolet rays help brighten whites due to its bleaching action and they stay bright for years.

To end it off, I hope you will now stop asking me how I maintain my whites and you too will try out a white decor without fear. Give these tricks a try!