Can freezing make clothes white again?

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Can freezing make clothes white again?
« on: 13/10/2008 22:08:44 »
Linda asked the Naked Scientists:

About the myth that if you leave your off-white or yellowed linen on the line overnight under a (freezing?) moon it becomes bright white again: how does that work?  If you replicate it by putting the yellowed shirt in the freezer overnight, it works - but how, scientifically?  


What do you think?


Offline LeeE

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Can freezing make clothes white again?
« Reply #1 on: 18/10/2008 15:19:19 »
I haven't heard of this - sounds like a possible way to save money:)

It's possible that the stain, being on the outside of the cloth fibres freezes before the fibre and becomes brittle, then when the fibre freezes and contracts it loosens the bond between them.  Alternatively, the cold may affect the bond directly.

In any case though, it seems to me that if you put a dirty shirt in the freezer and it comes out clean, the dirt must be left in the freezer.

You could try shaking the shirt straight after taking it out to see if a lot of dust is produced - if so, this is probably the dirt.
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