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 shared among friends, more and more people are discovering the unique benefits of MSB!  It's easy to use, low cost, and environmentally friendly.

PDF Download — All About Bluing

Newspaper articles, "Fixit" columns, websites, and social media posts make mention of MSB and its longstanding history of creating the whitest-looking clothes!  Yet, 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 "white" objects, you will see the many different shades.  Some are pink-white, some are gray-white, etc., but the white which is the brightest, the "whitest white" to the human eye, is one which has a slight blue hue.  To prove this point, place a brand-new white shirt or blouse next to one which has been laundered for a while 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 artists, 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, known to the trade as "gray goods", are yellowish or gray.  Raw wool is too, even that from the whitest fleece.  Most synthetic fibers are not white but tend to be grayish or off-white.  These all have to be bleached, usually by some chemical that removes most of the yellow color.  Even bleaching is not enough.  To make white goods acceptable to their customers, manufacturers of white clothes, sheets, towels, and linens, treat them with bluing to achieve a bright white product.

The Blue Hue Must be Renewed
After fabric goes into use, its fresh look is diminished by soil, stains, 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 bright whites.  A typical laundry setup 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, rinsed, passed through a wringer, and finally dipped in the bluing tub and hung to dry in the sun.   


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).
Detailed instructions and tips about using MSB, including using bluing in front-loading and high-efficiency washers with product dispensers can be found by following this link:

    PDF Download — MSB Instructions

    Laundry Additives

    Most detergents on the market today do a good job of removing soil and dirt. Many have additives that you may or may not wish to use.  Heavy stains should often be pretreated with a good stain-remover before washing to ensure the removal of stains. While bleach is a good stain-remover, continued bleach use can weaken fibers.

    MSB is a safe alternative to bleach for whitening fabric.  

    Please Note:

    MSB is not a stain-remover.  It is an optical whitener.
    We advise against using bleach and bluing in the same cycle.

    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.

    One 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!