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Here are the basic instructions for use of Mrs. Stewart's Bluing (MSB) as they appear on the current bottle. Additional tips regarding best practices can be found below.
Instructions for Using Mrs. Stewart's Bluing
MSB is NOT a dye-remover or a bleach. If the original color of your item is off-white or cream, MSB will brighten the fabric a bit, but it will NOT make the piece snow-white. When using MSB, you are not removing anything from your fabric. Instead, you are adding a small amount of blue to the fabric. To our human eye, blue-white is the whitest white.
MSB is NOT a stain remover. It is an optical whitener. If there are stains on your piece, you should attempt to remove them before whitening with MSB. There is a Stain Removal Guide in the MSB Home Washing Guide section of our website or we would be happy to send a copy of our Home Washing Guide to you.
More is NOT better with bluing. Using more bluing than recommended will result in a visible blue tint on your items.
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Determining how much bluing to use depends on the load setting of the washing machine and whether it is being used in the wash water or in the rinse water. Generally, when using Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing in the wash water, use approximately 1/4 teaspoonful, and if used in the rinse water, less than 1/8 teaspoon.
Always mix the bluing in a container of clear, cold water before pouring it into the machine. Avoid pouring bluing from the bottle into the machine when clothes are present, as any fiber can absorb an excess of undiluted bluing, causing spotting. An easy way to use bluing is to measure the bluing into an old empty 2 quart or gallon pitcher or container and fill with cold water. Then it can be poured into the machine with clothes present, in either the wash or rinse cycle.
We do not recommend that bluing be used in conjunction with bleach and/or fabric softener. There is no worry of hazardous chemical reaction. However, we do know that bleach encourages more permanent adherence of bluing to fabric and it is generally recommended by most fabric softener manufactures that fabric softener not be used in conjunction with any other laundry product. It is important to know that bluing is not a stain remover, it is a fabric whitener. Bleach is very good for removing stains but can damage your fabric easily. Bluing is very gentle on fabric and will not harm the fibers.
We do not recommend dispensing bluing from your automatic fabric softener dispenser as most dispensers are not large enough to allow for enough dilution and spotting can occur. We also do not recommend soaking clothing in bluing water. A simple dip or rinse is sufficient.
Our general recommendation for regular automatic top-loading washers is to first dilute 1/4 teaspoon of bluing (or less, depending on wash load size) in 1-2 quarts of water. Then, you add the diluted bluing to your already full wash or rinse cycle. It is important that bluing is well diluted before coming in contact with fabric. This principle still applies to high-efficiency and/or front-loading washing machines.
Most high-efficiency and front-loading machines use less water than automatic machines. This means the bluing will ultimately be less diluted.
Do the dispensing drawers on your washer remain unlocked during the cycle, allowing you to add 1-2 quarts of liquid through the dispenser directly into the cycle after it has already filled with water? If so, simply dilute MSB as directed on the bottle and pour the diluted bluing through the dispensing drawer into the cycle after it has filled with water.
If the drawers on your washer lock, we recommend that you dilute MSB as directed on the bottle and then put as much diluted bluing as will fit into the bleach dispenser (to use with your wash cycle) or the fabric softener dispenser (to use with your rinse cycle). Both of these dispensers generally release their contents when the cycle is as full of water as it will be.
You may wish to do some “testing” on old sheets or rags before proceeding to use MSB with garments or good bedding. Today, there are many designs in the high-efficiency and front-loading category of washing machines and each handles the entry of product into the machine differently. So, you may want to experiment.
Many of our loyal customers are using MSB successfully in their high efficiency and front-loading washing machines.
MSB is the perfect product to help whiten a “special” garment or piece of fabric such as an antique christening gown, wedding dress, or your great-grandmother's hand-crocheted tablecloths and doilies.
Begin by removing stains, washing, and rinsing the garment as you normally would. MSB is not a stain remover. Use a stain remover and detergent gentle enough for your garment and hand-wash in a clean sink full of cool water. Rinse thoroughly.
Then, fill a clean tub or sink with cool, clean water. Dilute a few drops of bluing in 1 quart or more of water and add the diluted bluing to the water in the sink. Mix well. The water should be a light sky-blue color. Then, simply “dip” your special piece in the bluing water and air dry (in the sunlight if possible). If your piece has aged for a very long time, you may find that 2 or 3 procedures may be necessary (blue, dry, blue, dry, blue, dry). Please remember that using more MSB is NOT better. It is better to repeat the procedure as directed than to use more bluing.
If you have additional questions about how to use Mrs. Stewart's® Bluing, please Contact Us.