Wearing and Caring For the White Tee
There aren't a lot of fashion icons that parallel the white t-shirt. It has been one of the most durable clothing items throughout history and continues to hold its spot in the closets of men all over the world.
Guys love the white tee. We work in them, sleep in them, and make fashion statements with them. When the neckline gets too loose, or if too many holes start to appear -- we use them to wipe down our cars and spot shine our shoes. No other clothing item can go from hugging a man's physique at a party -- to being one of the best rag materials for cleaning windshields!
White t-shirts can be worn with almost any outfit. Whether it's a fashionable suit, or a baggy pair of carpenter's jeans -- this shirt acts as a stylish barrier between the body and outerwear. The woven cotton material is strong; the design is simple; and it will probably never go out of style during our lifetime.
Men wear the tee with pride and no other fashion item characterizes the grunts and groans of a man like the white t-shirt. Some men go for the popular, form-fitted crewneck -- while others flex their muscles in the A-shirt (also known as a "tank-top" or "wife-beater").
No matter which t-shirt you choose to wear, there are a few things you can do to make sure your white tees are well-kept.
Those Ugly Yellow Stains
Let's start with the biggest problem men face when it comes to caring for t-shirts -- underarm staining. Since the undershirt is the closest thing to the body, it helps absorb sweat and protects your outer clothing. The yellowish stains that occur in the armpit area, are a combination of the chemicals in anti-perspirants
and your own sweat. Perspiration stains tend to be yellow, brown, or green in color. When mixed with anti-perspirants, the armpits can sometimes feel hard or crackly, and may be white or greasy in the beginning. Over time, they can change to a darker, more yellowish tint.
If you don't catch these stains when they first appear, removing them can be a headache. T-shirts that have been washed and dried several times may be more difficult to treat. Try using a liquid detergent directly on the stain and pre-treat it for 1 hour before washing. If that doesn't work, try a powerful oxidation detergent like Oxy-Clean and always use hot water to wash your whites.
Taking It Off - Crew Necks
You will maintain a better quality crew if you take it off properly. Pulling your tee over your head by tugging at the neckline, slowly stretches it out of shape. Over time, this degrades the elasticity of the tightly woven band sewn inside the neckline.
Instead, grab your tee from the bottom and lift if upwards over your head. The neckline has to expand a little to fit over your noggin', but this is minimal compared to pulling it each time you take off your tee.
Make It Hot
You should always wash your white t-shirts in warm or hot water. Over time -- hot water will shrink the cotton fibers in your shirts, but the heat is necessary for stain removal and killing pesky bacteria.
Use only half the recommended amount of bleach. Bleach thins out white t-shirts and may cause a few small holes to appear after a dozen or more washes. If you really want your tees shining bright, try using a 1/2 cup dishwasher detergent or lemon juice in your wash. Both can help whiten tees by a shade or more.
Time To Let Go
There comes a time in the life of every white tee, when it must be retired. The armpit areas have become hard and discolored; small holes start to appear in bleach-weakened spots where you've pulled excessively; and that poor neckline now hangs towards the middle of your chest.
Give up these overused tees, and send them onward into the next life:
- window wipers
- shoe shiners
- glass cleaners
- protective barriers for twisting off hot radiator caps
- shoe stuffer
Whether you're wearing them as undershirts, or workout attire -- proper care and maintenance of your white tees will help them keep that fresh look and feel.