During summer, white clothes are put on heavy rotation. White tees, white button-downs, white dresses, or even white canvas sneakers become your go-to uniform because they look refreshing to the eye and don't absorb as much heat as darker fabrics. The biggest challenge? Keeping them looking as immaculate and crisp as when you first bought them. But before you reach for the bleach, which, BTW, weakens clothing fibers and eventually ruins your clothes, try these tips on how to keep your whites in tip-top shape sans the harmful chemicals!

Clean your washing machine.
A major culprit of dull, white clothing is an unkempt washer. Get rid of mineral deposits and soap residue in your washing machine regularl by pouring a cup of white vinegar and half a cup of baking soda in the washer before you load the laundry.

Wash with a DIY laundry whitener.
As previously mentioned, using bleach often can damage your clothes. The solution: Whip up a whitening solution made of lemon, hydrogen peroxide, and water to boost white clothing's luster. See the recipe below:

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  • 1 ½ cups hydrogen peroxide
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups water

Embrace the sun.
Another way to restore whites is to let them dry under the sun. The sun naturally brightens your clothes. Plus, it's cost-efficient—sunshine is always free!

PHOTO: Vanessa Ray/Flickr Creative Commons

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