White items of clothing are a basic in everybody’s wardrobe. Unfortunately they don’t stay optically white for as long as we’d like. While Tilex, bleach and oxy-clean can certainly stretch their useful life, it’s imperative that you check the state of your whites each season.

Here is a loose guideline of how long you can expect white items to last before you demote them to the camping, home-crafts or gardening pile:

  • White denim items – up to 5 years because quality denim wears well.
  • White slacks, skirts, dresses and jackets – up to 3 years if you dry-clean them accordingly. These items loose their optical luster quicker than white denim.
  • Men’s undergarment-T’s and ladies’ camisoles – up to 2 years. Under-arm discoloration, pillage and grey tinges start appearing after about a year, but you can stretch their longevity because they’re undergarments.
  • Socks, bras and undies – up to 2 years.
  • White collared shirts – 1 to 2 years depending on how often you wear them. Collared shirts need to stay pristine.
  • Outerwear T’s – up to 18 months. They loose their appeal as soon as they go grey and yellow.

This isn’t an exact science. White items that are laundered and worn less frequently stay looking magically white for longer. Remember to replace your whites when they start to look dodgy – white whites look best.