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Those white shirts and pants in your closet looked so pristine on the store shelf, but standing up to the demands of everyday life is a different story. Your clothes get wrinkled, torn, and most of all, stained. Fortunately, keeping your clothes white isn't as hard as you might imagine. The tips below will keep your clothes looking almost as good as the day you bought them.

Whites Deserve Their Own Load

Not only does washing white clothes with colored clothes cause unnecessary staining, it makes them look dingy long before their time. That's why it's important to wash your white clothes separately. If you get in the habit of separating solid white items from other clothes in the laundry basket or hamper, you will remember to wash them that way. For even better results, be sure not to overload the wash machine and keep dirty white socks away from other types of white clothing.

The Washer Needs Washing Too

It's a shame to go through the trouble of washing your white clothes separately and have them still look dirty when you take them out of the wash. This can happen when the wash machine itself gets too dirty. To avoid such a problem, be sure to use vinegar, soap, and water to clean your machine thoroughly at least once every three months.

Pre-Treat Any Stains

When you toss in a piece of white clothing with a stain, it's likely to set in during the washing process. Be sure to look at each item of clothing closely and pre-treat stains before including that item of clothing in your wash cycle.

Soften Hard Water

If your home has hard water, you may want to purchase a water softening system or add a few drops of water softener to each new load. The minerals in hard water are tough on clothes, especially white ones. If you don't treat the water, it could cause your clothes to wear out prematurely.