Keeping Your Whites White – Stain Removal Tips


Image via Flickr creative commons from brittreints

As well as leaving you exhausted, work in a kitchen can take its toll on your clothing. Especially if you are required to wear chef whites clothing, they are a magnet for grease, muck and oil – keeping them clean and pristine white can be a struggle.

If you think it would be easier just to wear something other than white, you may be surprised that the colour is much more than a tradition. Their heavy cotton protects a chef from the heat of the stove but also stays breathable, keeping them cool. White is also the most reflective colour, repelling heat rather than soaking it all up.

An interesting footnote to this is the double breasted nature of the chef jacket. The idea being that if the front were to become unspeakable dirty, the chef can simply switch the coat around.

But, diversions aside, here are some tips to make sure you stay looking as good as the food – at least at the beginning of your shift.

Don’t use hot water

Especially when it comes to blood, hot water can seal in stains, ruining clothing forever. Use warm or cold water to soak the garment before gently rubbing the stain out. Try not to rub too vigorously here as doing so can just drive the stain into the fabric. Once you have done this, you can put them into a proper wash. Make sure you wash all your whites together.

If once you have finished washing the stain has not yet fully disappeared, don’t put the jacket in the drier. This will make the satin harder to remove next time around. Let it dry naturally before giving cleaning another go.


Try to avoid using bleach unless absolutely necessary. Although you don’t have to worry about it staining clothes – them being white already – it will weaken fibres and, over time, will lead to yellowing of the fabric.

When soaking, use an oxygen-based detergent for about an hour. If your jacket happens to be covered in grease stains try using a dishwasher detergent. For stubborn stains like tomato or red wine, try going at them with a bit of vinegar before soaking. Leave them for about ten minutes and this should help get rid of the stain.

After you have gone through the soaking process, then was the jacket in a non-bleach detergent.

Handy tips

There are a few things you can do that may seem strange at first to get your whites whiter than ever. Adding a half cup of lemon juice to a medium load in the washing machine can work wonders. When soaking hard water’s minerals can lead to the greying of your chef whites – if you live in a hard water area half a cup of vinegar can soften it up.

Dealing with yellowing fabric

If, despite your best efforts, your whites are starting to turn a murky shade of yellow, there are a few things you can try to get them back to normal. After you have washed the garment as normal, rinse the fabric in a little bit of vinegar mixed with water. Once you have done this, hang it out in the sunlight to dry.

Wear an apron

It goes without saying. But an apron can be your very first line of defence.