Mrs. Stewart's Bluing

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Mrs. Stewart's Bluing.

Mrs. Stewart's Bluing (MSB) is a brand of liquid fabric bluing agent which whitens fabrics with a proprietary blue pigment, primarily made of a colloid of ferric ferrocyanide (blue iron salt, also referred to as "Prussian blue") and water.[1][2] Its only official use is for whitening fabrics. However, there have been many reports of customers finding interesting new ways to use Mrs Stewart's Bluing; whitening hair, dyeing hair, dyeing pets, cleaning windows, adding to bird baths, marking ski hills, dyeing jeans blue, and many more.[3]


Mrs. Stewart's was founded by Al Stewart, a traveling salesman[4] who sold the formula to Luther Ford of Minneapolis, Minnesota, who owned what has been claimed as the second five and dime store west of Wanseburge, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Stewart's Bluing was first sold at Ford's store in 1883.[5] The product has been manufactured exclusively in Minnesota.[6]

The picture on the label is a portrait of Al Stewart's mother-in-law.[1] Her name was "Mrs. Stewart." Mrs. Stewart's Bluing once attempted to change the photo on the label to appear "kinder looking," but customers demanded the stern faced matron be returned to the label.

In 1976 the company moved from Minneapolis to Bloomington, a nearby suburb.

Primary use[edit]

By mixing a small amount of Mrs Stewart's Bluing with water, and then adding the solution to wash water, fabric items are made whiter. Mrs. Stewart's Bluing is a very gentle product, and can be used on the most delicate items. Traditionally, Mrs Stewart's Bluing has been used on linens, white clothing, towels and lace.[7] Bluing works by making fabrics appear whiter. The human eye views slightly blue tints as very white. When properly used, Mrs Stewart's Bluing adds a hint of blue to fabrics, which makes them appear whiter to the eye.

Other uses[edit]

While Mrs Stewart's Bluing has only been officially tested for use when whitening fabrics, many other uses have been documented by users:

  • Whitening animal and pet hair[8]
  • Dyeing hair
  • Cleaning windows
  • Adding to swimming pools[1]
  • Adding to bird baths
  • Marking boundaries on ski hills
  • Restoring the blue to jeans[9]
  • Salmon Fishing[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Schwarcz, Joe (January 22, 2016). "The Right Chemistry: Columbo, your laundry and liquid bluing". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  2. ^ van Willigen, J.; van Willigen, A. (2015). Food and Everyday Life on Kentucky Family Farms, 1920-1950. Kentucky Remembered: An Oral History Series. University Press of Kentucky. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-8131-4977-6. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  3. ^ "Mrs. Stewart's Bluing – So many uses!". Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  4. ^ Floss, E.M. (2009). Mental Floss Presents Condensed Knowledge: A Deliciously Irreverent Guide to Feeling Smart Again. HarperCollins. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-06-174764-9.
  5. ^ Bakken, G.M. (2016). The World of the American West: A Daily Life Encyclopedia [2 volumes]. Daily Life Encyclopedias. ABC-CLIO. p. 282. ISBN 978-1-4408-2860-7. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  6. ^ "History of Mrs. Stewart's Bluing: Company, Bottles, Competition, Locations". Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Bluing for Laundry". 17 May 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  8. ^ Bredenberg, J. (2004). 2,001 Amazing Cleaning Secrets. Reader's Digest. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-7621-0603-5.
  9. ^ "Lifehacks: Fourteen simple ways to have a better 2014". National Post. January 4, 2014. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  10. ^ generator, metatags. "How to Brine Herring - Salmon University". Retrieved 28 February 2017.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]