Keeping it Fresh

Tennis whites are a classic staple in any tennis player’s wardrobe, but they can be a bit tricky to keep looking fresh and bright. With the right simple techniques and products, you can keep your whites looking crisp and clean match after match.

Personal Note
I learned all of my tricks from my amazing mother Donna, A.K.A "Nana". I sprinkled in a few extra fashion industry tips from my 6 years of being on set at photo shoots for Ralph Lauren. In this blog you will find Nana's personal notes, tips and tricks that I have adopted into my daily routine. I most recently handed her a precious pile of baby clothing I wanted to preserve for my 3 children (who are now 11, 13 and 15) for their keepsake trunks. She miraculously and over days of soaking and treating got them all pristine again! This is me and my mom, in our whites!

Nana’s Laundry Tips 

Wash or Soak right away:
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to keeping your tennis whites looking their best is to wash them as soon as possible after wearing them. The longer you wait to wash your whites, the more likely they are to become stained or discolored. If you don’t have time to start a load of laundry, toss them in a bin of water. We keep this collapsible handy plastic bin under the sink.

Sorting Clothing

Whites: Warm water, use bleach and detergent
It’s best to wash your whites separately from your other laundry; not even with light grays or pastels or colored trim white clothes. They can bleed and will dull your bright whites. Use a gentle detergent like All free and clear and cold water. Avoid using bleach, as it can cause yellowing or discoloration over time.

*Hedge makes a lot of cream colored clothing which doesn't fall into any of these categories. I don't usually put my Hedge through the machine, I squiggle it around in the soapy basin and rinse. If I do put creams in the machine, I put it with whites, and I won't use bleach.

Colors: Cool water in detergent
Separate warm tones (pink, red orange) from cool (blue, green) into 2 batches but I have a big family and there's enough laundry that we need to break it down. Or, we wait until the pinks pile up before we do that load.

Darks: Cold water in detergent

Spray and let sit before you soak:
Another tip for keeping your whites looking bright is to use a stain remover or pre-treatment on any stains before washing. We love Laundress Stain Solution. If you prefer a spray bottle, Nana loves OxiClean.

Scent Removal:
Tech fabric might dry fast and wick sweat away from your body but it holds scent a lot more than cotton! Nana swears by a spray bottle of vinegar so the smell gets removed and prevents yellow stains at the armpit area. Often times a wash won’t get the body odor out and a spritz of white vinegar before washing does the trick. We like the lavender scented vinegar to ease the sour smell. 

Sweat turns to mildew:
Sweaty workout clothes will mold in an instant! For that distressing occasion…you need bleach, sunshine and prayer. If you cannot wash your items right away, drape in bathroom or laundry room until you can get to it. 

Dingy older pieces can be revived!
Another trick Nana uses to brighten up your already dingy whites is to use a fabric brightener; she swears by Biz. These products are specially formulated to remove yellowing and discoloration from white fabrics and can be added to your laundry along with your detergent or you can soak in it for a day with warm water and then wash. 

When rinsed, do not squeeze out! Lay the item on a towel and roll up. Then stomp on it to absorb all the excess water then line dry. *Note: I don't hang dry because it leaves sweater nipples (points on the shoulder or crimps on a skirt) it also can stretch the pieces out. If the item is cotton and I want it to be soft, I throw it in the dryer after it's mostly already dry to soften it up.

We never put our tech fabrics like Lulu Lemon in the dryer. It will shorten the life of the pieces dramatically (imagine you've given it 50 extra workouts each time you wear it) by doing that.

De-Wrinkle: Iron vs. Steam
This is the only difference between my mom and myself in terms of laundry care. She likes to iron with the Rowenta Perfect Steam Pro. I like to steam because it seems faster, I'm usually rushing. I don't have to set out a board, the item just needs to be on a hanger in any room near a plug.

Iron: When it comes to ironing, use the lightest heat possible; many tennis whites are made from synthetic fabrics that can melt or burn if ironed at too high of a heat.

Steam: Steam items that don't have too heavy/deep of wrinkles. The Jiffy Handheld pink steamer is what stylists use on location and I swear by it. It packs well and I take to shoots and vacations. I hang the item on the doorknob so I don't burn myself with the steam holding the hanger in my hand. I pass over the outside of the item up and down...but the stylists at Ralph Lauren would go from underneath the item to not show as many lines or wet spots.

*Note: Steam can peel off wallpaper and paint...learn from my mistakes and don't let it sit by the wall ready and steaming up the surfaces.

We rinse the whole hat with water after use if we sweat through it otherwise it will leave a water mark. Some folks like to put in dishwasher.
Sunscreen Stains:
Zinc is the trickiest to get out of clothes: Mix a solution of one teaspoon liquid hand dishwashing detergent, one-fourth cup distilled white vinegar, and one cup of cool water

With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to keep your whites looking their best for years to come.

Products in Nana's Laundry room:

Tide, OxiClean Stain Remover, White Vinegar, Biz, Hydrogen Peroxide

Meagan’s Tips

Department Store Secret:
Makeup marks can easily be removed with baby wipes! Keep these in your bedroom.

Stain removal Encyclopedia:
The most handy book which is organized by stain: Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean

What’s in Meagan’s Laundry Room?

Handy Tools:

Fabric specific instructions blog:

The Laundress in life...often going back at a stain a few times and letting things soak can do the job.
Below are our favorite whites we wear ALL summer long and have lasted over 5 years!

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