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.
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.