Everything you ever wanted to know about Mrs Stewart's Bluing

Mrs. Stewart's® Bluing has continued to be the favorite fabric whitener of generations.  As home washing tips are passed down from parent to child, grandparent to grandchild, or shared among friends, more and more people are discovering the unique benefits of MSB!  It's easy to use, low cost, and environmentally friendly, just to name a few!

PDF Download — All About Bluing

Scores of newspaper articles, "Fixit" columns, websites, and social media posts make mention of MSB and its longstanding history of creating the whitest-looking clothes!  Still, many people do not know just what bluing is, the many uses it has, and why it gives white clothes that "just-bought" whiteness.  

blue drop pic (emphasized message)Blue and White Make the Whitest White
It is said that color experts can distinguish about 300 shades of white.  If you look around you at all the objects that are white, you will notice the many different shades.  Some are a pink-white, some are cry-white, etc., but the white which is the brightest of whites, the "whitest white" to the human eye, is one which has a slight blue hue.  One of the more dramatic experiments to prove this point is to place a brand new white shirt or blouse next to one which has been laundered for perhaps a year and notice the difference.  They will both look white until placed next to each other, when the new one will appear much whiter, and the blue hue will be evident.

Because blue-white is the most intense white, most painters, when portraying a snow scene, will use blue color to intensify the whiteness.  As color experts would explain it, the proof can be seen in the spectrographic comparison of the two whites — the one with blue added will reflect more light, making it appear whitest.  This is why homemakers looking to return their white clothes to their original sparking white color use Mrs. Stewart's Bluing.


White Fabric Isn't "White"
In their original state, white fabrics are far from white.  Unbleached cotton fabrics are yellowish or gray.  Raw wool is too, even that from the whitest fleece.  Most synthetic fibers are not white but tend to be a grayish, or off-white as well.  These all have to be bleached, usually by a chemical which removes most of the yellow color.  Still, this bleaching is not enough.  To make white goods acceptable to their customers, manufacturers of sheets, towels, linens, etc., add a small amount of blue to them.  Makers of shirts and other white clothes do this as well.

The Blue Hue Must be Renewed
After fabric goes into use, it's fresh, bright white appearance is diminished by soil, stains, and continual washing and drying.  The Bluing products applied by the manufacturer are eventually washed out of the fabrics.  Mrs. Stewart's® Bluing (MSB) allows the consumer to re-blue their white fabrics, restoring that just-bought brightness.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, bluing was used by everyone who wanted to have (and keep) their laundry white.  A typical laundry set up consisted of three (3) tubs: the wash tub, the rinse tub and the bluing tub. The bluing tub was filled with cool, clear water and just enough bluing to make the water a light sky-blue color.  Clothes and sheets were washed, then rinsed, then — after a pass through a wringer — dipped in the bluing tub and hung to dry in the sun.   

How to Use Bluing
Here are the instructions as they appear on the current Mrs. Stewart's® Bluing bottle.  Avoid pouring bluing from the bottle into the machine when clothes are present.  Mrs Stewart's Bluing is highly concentrated, and will cause spotting if applied directly to fabrics. It is necessary to dilute Mrs Stewart's Bluing before use.  

blue drop pic (emphasized message)Instructions for Use of Mrs. Stewart's Bluing
The following instructions can be found on the back of each bottle of Mrs. Stewart's Bluing:


Always dilute bluing in cold water BEFORE adding to wash load or rinse water.


  1. Mix a few drops or up to 1/4 teaspoon of bluing (depending on wash load size) in a quart or more of water.
  2. Add diluted bluing to wash water or final rinse (water should appear light sky blue).


PDF Download — MSB Instructions

Laundry Additives

Most detergents on the market today do a good job of removing soil and dirt. Many detergents also incorporate some sort of additive, some of which are truly beneficial.  Some are not.  It is advisable that you determine, through personal observation, whether a product does what the manufacturer claims.

Heavy stains should often be pretreated with a good stain-remover before washing to ensure removal of stains. It some cases, it may be necessary to add a bleaching agent to aid in removing heavy soil.  Bleach is a harsh chemical, and over time can weaken the fibers that make up a fabric. 

MSB is a safe alternative to bleach for whitening fabric.  

Please Note: Mrs Stewart's Bluing and bleach SHOULD NOT be used at the same time.

Did you think MSB was used ONLY in the laundry?
Learn about many more uses for Mrs. Stewart's® Bluing on our Many Uses page.

Another Popular Use for Mrs. Stewart's® Bluing
Since the "depression" years, families and children have been using MSB to grow salt crystals for decoration, for fun and for an award winning science fair project.  This is become known as the famous "Salt Crystal Garden".
Learn HOW to grow your own on our Salt Crystal Garden page.

PDF Download — Salt Crystal Garden Instructions

Where Can I Buy Mrs. Stewart's® Bluing?
To place an order now, Shop our Store
Find MSB in the US
Find MSB Beyond the US

We invite you to continue looking around our site, learning about Mrs. Stewart's Bluing!