If you’re a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and attend the temple, you might wonder how you should wash and care for LDS temple garments. Over time, the whiteness of the fabric can become dingy or yellow without proper care. For years I washed them incorrectly–until I did a little research. My garments are special to me, and I want them to look pristinely white for as long as possible. I’m sure you do too. To keep garments looking their best, there are a few washing tricks you need to know.
Why Temple Garments Are Sacred
But before I explain the cleaning tips, let me share a reminder of why it’s important to keep such sacred undergarments in good condition. As you know, endowed members of the church wear them day and night, as they symbolize holy covenants we make with God in the temple. Here is a video, produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that shows this beautifully:
You can see why my temple garments are important to me and why I’d like to keep them pure and white. So what was I doing wrong when I washed them? Everything. Let me explain.
Care Instructions for LDS Temple Garments
In my following comments I am specifically talking about the various fabrics available for LDS garments, not the garment itself. I am in no way criticizing the actual garment or its sacred nature. After purchasing various garments of various fabrics and not being happy with them long term, I finally consulted with Distribution Center workers, where the garments are sold. Since proper care instructions are not listed on the garment packaging, members are left to guess, which is what I’d been doing.
From the sister workers I spoke with, I learned that the fabric used for all garment fabrics is dyed white. So it’s a color fabric, which means if you’re going to use bleach on any temple garment fabric, it MUST be COLOR-SAFE BLEACH. No substitutes. You will get yellowed garments after multiple washings with regular bleach. If you don’t want to add color-safe bleach, the ladies recommend you add either 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide OR 1/4 cup white vinegar (not both) to help ensure brightness and a fresh smell.
Also, the water temperature should be COLD or WARM–but not HOT. Guess which setting I’d been using? Yep, the hot. I guess I felt like they’d be extra clean and sanitary. Instead, over time the white color of my garments had dulled because I hadn’t used the right temperature.
Fabric Choices for Temple Garments
As you’ll see from the infographic below, there are 15 fabric options for endowed men and women to choose from. Using your membership account login, you can access this link to the Church’s online store to learn about the specifics of each fabric type. If you don’t know your login information or don’t have an account yet, there are instructions on the site to sign up.
Each fabric option listed below is explained in more detail on the site. Fabrics are designed with different moisture features. Some are better for keeping you cool or warm. Some are preferred for wearing while exercising. Small fabric samples are shown in the Distribution Centers if you shop locally (locations listed on site). If you already know your preferred fabric, great! Otherwise, I recommend that you select a few fabrics you might like, based on the site’s descriptions, and try one of each. Don’t do as I have done and buy several of one fabric before I’m sure I really like it. And, in my opinion, you can’t tell by trying them on for 5 minutes in a dressing room. You have to wear them for a day.
New Stretch Cotton Fabric for Women & Men
New stretch cotton fabric, as of 2019, is available for all temple garments in the United States and Canada. Coming soon globally. The fabric is a soft, 95/5 brushed cotton with spandex, which offers a four-way stretch. Mesh panels under the arms offer airflow where it’s needed, and a redesigned sleeve eliminates fabric under the arm. Printed labels replace bothersome sewn-in tags.
Special Care for Moisture-Wicking Garments
I then asked the ladies if there were any other special care instructions for some of the fabrics. They mentioned Dri Lux, which I had been using for about a year and a half but didn’t like much. It’s a popular fabric for keeping cool during the summer heat because of its ability to wick away moisture. As you can see from the above infographic, it’s available for both women and men. But my Dri Lux garments always seemed to feel hot and sweaty and were somewhat stinky in the tops especially. I know, TMI, but I’m trying to help others to avoid similar problems.
So what was I doing wrong? Two things: First, you CANNOT USE any FABRIC SOFTENER on Dri Lux fabric or any moisture-wicking fabric on the list. (Again, consult the online store for specific fabrics and their features.) This means no fabric softener in the rinse water or in dryer sheets. Unfortunately, I’d been tossing in the dryer sheets every load. Why no fabric softener? Because it will make the fabric ineffective at wicking away moisture. Second, even with proper care, the fabric’s wicking feature is only effective for about 12 to 18 months. Since I’d had mine for about 18 months, and with my fabric softener faux pas, my garments were past their prime.
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Products to Help You Care for LDS Temple Garments
This popular post has been on my blog for years without any product recommendations. Over time, many members have suggested products that have been helpful to them in washing and caring for their temple garments. I have also used these products and experimented with many to find the best options for whiteness. Please note, for older, super dingy, and super yellow garments, you may not see great results with any product. Fabrics wear over time, and stains really set in. You’ll have much better luck maintaining new fabrics with regular washing using effective products.
Best Laundry Stain Removal
OUT is my top choice for removing targeted, stubborn stains for some garment fabrics. This past summer, I wore denim capris on an amusement park ride where I got wet. I did this a few times, and so I have a few garment bottoms where the blue dye seeped through. I have sprayed them with several stain removers and washed them several times to no avail. The blue stain would not budge. So I tried OUT, and it worked really well on my Carinessa bottoms, but was still a bit blue on the cotton-poly fabric.
It’s actually kind of a cool product to use. I was impressed with the fizzing action. Here are scrubbing bubbles at work.
I followed the instructions on OUT: 1 gallon of water per 1/2 cup of Out, soak for 20 minutes. I soaked one Carinessa bottom in a bowl with the mixture. At the 20 minutes, I could see definite improvement, but I wanted whiter still. So I remixed and soaked for 45 minutes, then washed as normal. Much better! So I recommend soaking with this product 45-60 minutes to get maximum benefit. Other than that, follow instructions on the label. Note: None of the following photos have filters, and I tried to use natural light. Also, the garments shown are at least a year old. None are new.
Yellow armpit stains are also something I tested. I’ve used a variety of products over the years to try to remove them. Nothing I have found removes them completely. But I did like the improvement I saw with OUT on this cotton-poly top. An inserted white paper towel in the first image is used to show the white-gray-yellow contrast.
Best Overall Clean for Whites
Oxi-Clean White Revive is my preferred overall clean for an entire wash of garments. If you’re just trying to brighten a load of white garments, you’ll notice a difference with this product. Follow instructions on the label. I have a high-efficiency washer and am not supposed to dump any granules in the wash bowl, but I did anyway and loved the results. Note: You can also soak garments in this product for more-effective stain removal. This is a great supplement to your detergent. Use both simultaneously.
Click here to order Oxi-Clean.
Borax is another product I favor for overall whiteness in a load. It’s time-tested, a product your grandma used. I just haven’t used it in the past few years with my newer washing machine. But lots of people have mentioned to me that they still love this product for washing their garments.
Mrs. Stewart’s Liquid Bluing used to be a somewhat common product in store’s laundry aisles, but it’s hit-and-miss nowadays. I just ordered a new bottle to restock my supply and am going to see if I can remove the last of that blue-denim stain I showed you earlier. I used to use this product periodically on my garments. I really like it. You mix the blue liquid with water and pour into the rinse cycle. Again, with my newer washer I haven’t done this. But I’m going to experiment. It’s worth the white results.
Odoban isn’t going to help with whiteness, but I absolutely love it for diminishing odors. It’s perfect for the under-arm smells that regular laundry detergent don’t eliminate completely. And I use this especially on my husband’s workout clothes. You can pour it right into your washing machine on the clothes before you start the cycle. It’s a great supplement to your detergent. Use both simultaneously.
Be Sure to Pin for Future Reference
Please note: This article has not been reviewed by or endorsed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is not intended as an official statement but is the best information I can provide to assist you with wash and care for your LDS temple garments.
Have you used a different product that helps you care for LDS temple garments? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Please comment.
How can anything be “dyed white”? White is actually the absence of any color, so where do they get white dye from?
I have no idea. But I was told repeatedly that the fabric is dyed white. I think in order to get a vibrant white, it has to be dyed. Anything is chemically possible nowadays. 🙂
Actually, in the lightwave spectrum white is a combination of all the colors. When you dye a fabric, you have to take into account how that spectrum plays with the given fabric source. Same goes with a great many colorant-accepting items (fiber, soap oils, skins, glass, etc). I’ve never found a fiber based product yet that doesn’t require being dyed to be an actual white….and I’ve been doing this awhile now.
Yes, I cover this in the second paragraph under the care instructions. The fabric is dyed white. That’s why no one should use regular bleach.
JoLyn Jacques says
I’m really glad this was being addressed and I appreciate your input. Now that I know that the DriLux should be replaced yearly, what about the Carinessa and cotton garments? How often should those be replaced?
It’s subjective. The DriLux material, which they no longer sell, lost it’s wick-away feature after a year of washings.
John Gomes says
My Grandmother would use Mrs Wadsworth unscented blue Whitener. I was perplexed how a blue fluid could turn dingy to sparkling white. I hope this helps.
I have used Mrs. Stewart’s bluing before. It’s magic! I was very impressed with the improvement to my white garments. Thank you for the suggestion.
Mike Marshall says
The little old ladies tha that get their hair dyed white to hide the grey? Tha8why they’re the “blue haired group”
John Gomes says
Sorry I have a correction on my last posting it is not wadsworths it is Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing
This is great information! Thank you for sharing! 🙂
K P says
Good information! thanks for sharing!
I don’t use bleach with my garments, or fabric softener but I was using extra hot water …. darn.
Ill know better for next time.
Ok question about washing the “new stretch cotton” , so maybe I missed reading something but do you use color safe bleach as laundry detergent or do you use a cold water detergent? with the oxi clean? Or do you use oxi clean just on its own to wash? Also are reusable dryer balls a good alternative? Clearly for the last 2ish years I’ve been doing this all wrong and am so confused how to finding a easy step by step for my regular washing up keep of my (stretch cotton tops and breifs). I’ve been using purex laundry detergent, with bleach, with hot water and high heat and dryer sheets in dryer. So what I’m simply trying to figure out is a simple regular routine for washing that will keep my (stretch cotton tops and briefs) white and in tip top shape!. Thanks for any help and ideas with this!!
Color-safe bleach in the rinse cycle. I don’t bleach every time, just when the fabric needs to be whiter. I regularly use Tide in warm or cold cycle. I use Oxi when needed, every few washes, to enhance whiteness. I do not add anything to the dryer at all. Hope this helps.
Amanda H says
I found the new stretch cotton bottoms didn’t last to 1 year. Started getting holes in the rear . The tops get clean with a good hand scrub of lye soap.
Thank you so much, I’ve been trying to get my garments white, WHITE for years! They are especially dull since my purchase of a front loading washing machine-I hate it! I’ve also tried using Mrs. Stewart’s, but don’t feel I have much success with a front loader. I also talked to somebody at the distribution center who said that I could always dye my garments white, and that would be acceptable. It makes sense that they dye the fabric white, I have never been able to achieve that level of whiteness with my washing machine!
I also find that my garments just have to be replaced about every year to year-and-a-half if I want them to be really white. I know that gets kind of expensive, but when I can afford it, that’s what I do.
I think buying white dye (Rit) and doing that occasionally might make them white, but replacing garments is nice. Some get scratchy over time. Also, wanted to mention that if you have special needs they will make garments for you. If you have a port, need a specific size, or modifications made (I had one sister who was irritated by the lace, another who had to have 100% cotton with no tags) they will make them for you. The women who sew the garments are a lot of caring ladies who put love into them, and really want to make it easy to wear the garments! They also make garments for those who are members of the military. You can call for this service.
Awwww. That’s all so good to know. I appreciate you sharing.
Lori M. says
I learned for my husbands “T-shirt “ style tops to avoid yellow arm pits or the fabric going hard around the arm pit area they should wear deodorant only. Not the antiperspirant/deodorant. I was told that by a sister who worked at the distribution center.
Good tip. Hadn’t heard that one.
Thanks so much for the information. I was also washing mine on hot. ☹️
I’m so glad you found the information helpful. Yep, hot water seems like a good idea but, in this case, it’s not.
How do I care for my garments when I am traveling? A lot of hotels do not have self-laundry facilities. I have washed them in the sink but after a while they don’t get very clean. Also I might be assigned a roommate who is not a member of the Church. Should I just use the laundry service at the hotel? I really don’t want to pack 20 garments in my luggage.
Thank you for the question. It goes beyond the scope of this article, but I will share my best answer. I served a mission to South America. Sometimes we hired ladies to wash our clothes, but we were told not to hire anyone who wasn’t endowed. Because the temple garment is sacred, it’s really not something someone should see if they don’t attend the temple. I would suggest to you that it’s best to pack enough garments so there’s no need to wash if hand washing is not an option.
SUper advice – also if you do bring them traveling, the drisilque dries quickly! A sister who cruises often told me she hand washes them every evening and in the morning they are dry. Drisilque also packs tighter and is cooler than the others.
Great tip! Thanks for sharing.
When in a situation like this, I have hand washed the garments then hung them on a hanger and let them dry between my other hanging clothes…works great !
Thanks for sharing.
Amanda H says
Get ya old-school lye soap and scrub it together vigorously plunge an scrub in a sink or bucket and rinse until water is clear. Hang dry in the sun on the railing with a bit of cord with clothes pins with the garments inbetween a row of other clothes.. in many countries, Japan the Mediterranean, etc people hang their undies out to dry on a drying rack they hust hide them behind other clothing. . Not everyone has Laudry facilities easily ready especially not abroad an it’s better to pack light in case you want to bring stuff back. I always recommend 8 days worth. If going away on a trip in case one pair get soaked through or something. The stretch cotton dry fairy quickly in about 4 hrs
I was told by a worker at a distribution center to use cascade liquid dishwashing soap to wash garments in.
Interesting. I’m sure there are a variety of opinions. If you try it and it works, I say go for it. Thanks for the suggestion.
Dishwasher detergent often has bleach in it. Check ingredients first.
We actually don’t recommend dishwasher detergent.
I know when my mom worked in cafes and school lunch they always wore white uniforms. She use to put about a half to 3/4 cup dishwasher detergent in with her regular laundry soap. Her uniforms were always spotless. Just an idea.
Thank you for sharing. I think it all depends on how the fabric is made.
Oh my goodness!! I so appreciate this information!!!
Trying to keep my garments white has been such a chore for me but I wouldn’t give up! I was using bleach and hot water. Then while buying some more once, a sister counseled me to definitely stop the bleach. I am almost sure I told her that I was using the Mrs.Stewart’s bluing and I thought she told me not to use it either because I stopped. (I do love the product, though. Especially on white cotton shirts.)
This article is loaded with great information. Once again, thank yoi!
You’re very welcome. I’ve had good results from Mrs. Stewart’s bluing, but I use the Oxy White and whitener products listed almost solely now.
Where can you get white dye?
I have no idea where fabric makers acquire white dye.
Pat Trussell says
When we married in 1965 at the Idaho Falls Temple, I was told to discard garments when they became
yellowed , that we should wear white garments. Should we replace garments, as they become yellow
and dingy. They haven’ t become white , after washing them with different detergents. Should we replace
yellowed or very ‘off white’ garments? Should we not wear yellowed Garments? Thank You
I don’t feel comfortable offering an official statement. But my opinion is that when garment fabric cannot be cleaned to whiteness, garments should be replaced.
As the only endowed members in my immediate family, I don’t have anyone to ask these types of questions. Thank you so much for your post….❤
I’m so glad you found this post helpful.
My husband prefers the one piece garments. We just had to replace what he had since they started disintegrating.. We were a little surprised but he had had them for awhile. We ordered 5 new pairs which took awhile (not a popular style). After he wore two pairs I washed them. Warm water, normal cycle and no bleach. One of the pair was missing the material from the front of the right leg. They didn’t tear as there were no pieces of cloth left in the washer. I called the distribution center and they are replacing them. Just seems strange. I have never had that happen before and he has warn this style for 30 years. They used to hold up against hot water cycles and bleach even. I don’t see anywhere and the distribution center had not heard of this happening. I was wondering if maybe the fabric was old and a little drier since it is a less purchased style.
Thanks for commenting. I know the fabric is made in a variety of locations. I served a mission to Paraguay years ago, and the church built a garment factory there a couple of years after I left. So fabric quality may be an issue at times, but I really don’t know.
Richard Stum says
I love to see the fabric content on your graphic above (i.e Dri Lux = 85% Polyester & 15% Cotton).
Good idea. Next time I update the graphic, I’ll definitely consider that idea.
Thanks for the information. I now have several new things to try. I definitely need to retire some of my older pairs. I have had a hard time finding what is comfortable for me with the new sizing and styles, i.e. longer tops and low rise bottoms. I am more like my Grammie every day! Gotta find those socks without seams!
Yes, I think we’re all trying to find what we like with the new fabrics. I know my new ones easily tear. The fabric doesn’t hold up as well as it used to.
Melanie Eccles says
Thank you!! I’ve been working in the Phoenix Temple laundry where they use the product Awesome from the dollar store but the product, while great for shirt collars, etc, doesn’t much budge the discoloration in my husband’s garments. I was already using the correct instructions for garment care otherwise so I had really hit the wall on ideas. I was about to put them through the old process of “laundry stripping” with the hot water, washing soda, borax, detergent and 5 hour soak. I really haven’t used this process in 25 years and wasn’t looking forward to it. Now I don’t have to! I can’t wait to get started with these suggested products. It’s so nice to actually know what to do. Bless you.
You are most welcome! I have had the best luck keeping my garments white with the products suggested. I hope they work for you as well.
Melanie Eccles says
I should have said I was working at the temple before the pandemic closed it. Everything is different now, isn’t it? It’s nice to reach out and talk to other sisters about the nuts and bolts of our lives when the world seems so strange. Thank you for maintaining this little oasis you’ve made here with your website.
This stuff works!! Thanks for the tips!!
I soaked all our dingy garments in the kitchen sink in two soakings because I had so many to do, in the Out, white Brite, and used a whole bottle. I could see a difference in how they looked!
My tops with the mesh sides were the most yellow and they have been the hardest to brighten but they are still looking much better. My husband’s look the best. Between us we have 4 different fabrics going on, ha ha!
I bought another bottle and now I added it to an all white wash and had it do a soak cycle before it washed. They look even better again! Not as good as my brand new ones but I can gage the old against the new garments that they look so much better in comparison to how they looked when I started!
So it’s definitely worth $4-5.00 a bottle
So glad it worked for your too. The tips are what I personally use. I know firsthand that they work. Thanks for verifying too.
Carol Williams says
I have a question about who can launder LDS garments. I have a sister-in-law in an assisted living facility and she has to have her laundry done for her. I was told that only members of the church or maybe only temple-worthy members should be laundering her garments. I am a member of the church but not an active (nor temple-worthy) member. Can I do her laundry? Can a non-member caregiver do her laundry?
Thanks for your question, but it goes beyond the scope of this article. Please ask a church leader.
Amanda H says
My mom was in the hospital and had her good non church friend bring her her garments. She had to give her instructions
which drawer to pull them from her friend thought her underwear weird but didn’t make a big deal of it. Unfortunately for her her friend got her the wrong # of tops and bottoms because she didn’t know and mom folds them separately. I fold mine together in pairs. I’m sure with proper laundry care and they are placed in a basket not the floor I’m sure it’s fine for you to wash n fold them as long as you are respectful as my exmo sister inlaws folded mine nice even though she doesn’t agree anymore. Ps I live in the midwest so it’s not like it’s possible a member is washing your clothes. I feel it’s done in the spirit if servicsandthey understand the sacredness it’s fine.
Thanks for your comment and insight.
Thank you so much for providing clear, helpful and comprehensive information in such a tasteful way! You are awesome and I will be referring anyone who asks me to your site. As RSP I help a lot of sisters with their choices and this is great information. You rock!
Thank you so very much for your kindness and taking the time to comment.
Emma Nielsen says
I enjoyed your. Column. Just naturally was using most of your guides. My questions concerning the disposal of old or worn garments. Also. Can I donate once used garments to Deseret Industries? Emma Nielsen. Toquerville. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for taking the time to comment. The disposal of the temple garment goes beyond the scope of this article. Please see a local ecclesiastical leader for guidance.
Amanda H says
I asked my leaders and my mixed family parents. My birth parents would cut them up and burn them. Not sure why burning the cotton ones was their thing but that’s what they were told to do. My adopted parents cut out the symbols and uses dad’s old tops for cleaning rags. Myself I cut the marks out and tags into tiny pieces the rest into indistinguishable rags about 4″x4″ pieces and place in garbage ♀️.
Thanks for your insight. I’m just careful here not to comment on how to dispose of temple garments.
K clark says
I have had great results with Active Wear laundry detergent designed specifically for synthetic materials to remove stink. I used it on workout wear I had for years and was beginning to smell like fritos chips. Within a few washes, no more smell… At all. No move not to cover up the yuck but actually remove it. Also, makes colors brighter. I use it in my load of garments and so far so good. I buy it on Amazon. Fantastic stuff.
Thanks for the tip!
Mister Bean says
Great article, Kerry!
With regard to removing yellow armpit stains, I spray hydrogen peroxide on the stain, then add baking soda, and then Dawn dishwashing soap. I then scrub the stain with a soft-bristled toothbrush. This process works very well to remove yellow armpit stains.
I have used this method on white dress shirts and white t-shirts. I’m sure it would also work well on garment tops.
Thanks for sharing.