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