Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

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Dr. Laundry

Removing Cheese Puff Dust on White Shirt and Suede Shoes

April 14, 2017

Q: I got some puke stains of a certain cheese puff snack on a white shirt and suede leather shoes the other night when I drank too much vodka. Any advice on how to clean them? Thanks, Sami A: Hi Sami; Typically, vomit stains that are predominantly stomach acid are… Read More

Removing Underarm Deodorant Stains from Cotton Clothing

September 10, 2016

Q: How do you remove underarm deodorant from cotton clothing? A: I get lots of different questions about deodorant and underarm stains, which I realize mean different things to different people. These stains are hugely problematic because they are highly variable from person to person and garment to garment. I don’t always get… Read More

How To Remove Cat Poop From A Mattress

August 17, 2016

Q: How can I remove cat poop from a mattress? A: I’m guessing the discoloration from the cat poop leaked through the sheets onto the mattress, but if not (maybe your cat got on your mattress while you were cleaning the mattress cover) and you have dried solids on the mattress,… Read More

How do I get out pet vomit from a rug?

March 7, 2016

Q:  How do I get out pet vomit from a rug? A: Vomit stains on clothing that come out pretty easily with the proper treatment before washing are such a pain when they are on something like a rug that you can’t easily launder.  Our old dog with the sensitive… Read More

How Do I Remove Yellow Stains From White Linen?

January 27, 2016

Q: I have a white linen suit that was packed in cartons with other clothes. When I finally opened the box after a year, I found yellow stains on the collar. How do I remove the stains? A: While yellowish stains that appear on white items during storage can be… Read More

Removing Unknown Stain From Upholstery

April 8, 2015

Q: Please recommend best method for removing unknown stain from dining room chair upholstery A: I wish I knew a little more about the stain. Is it older, or did it just appear this week?  Did it soak in or does it look like it’s on the surface of the… Read More

Clorox® Urine Remover

December 4, 2014

I’ll admit it — when I was given the chance to do a home test of new Clorox® Urine Remover, I was super excited! It was perfect timing, too, since our 13½-year-old yellow lab, Bella, recently had an “accident” on our TV room carpet. Like many other dog owners… Read More

Treating an Unknown Stain

January 15, 2014

I have many nice golf shirts with unknown stains on the front. These are possibly from my small dog, who loves to lay on my stomach. These are expensive shirts that have been washed (cold), but dried.  It sounds like you have a nice dog, and if your dog is… Read More

How To Remove A Collar Ring Stain

December 23, 2013

How do I remove a collar ring stain?    The “ring around the collar” stain is a combination of sweat and body soil that has rubbed off the neck and onto the inside collar of a shirt, and can be difficult to remove when it has been allowed to build… Read More

Removing Sweat Stains

November 4, 2013

I recently purchased 600 thread count, cream-colored sheets and have been using them ever since. Unfortunately, my husband is a warm sleeper and now there are yellowed areas on our new sheets. Is it safe to bleach them?   Because the sheets are 100% cotton, you can definitely launder them… Read More

Bleaching Multi-Colored Items

October 23, 2013

I have a cotton print top with a white background whose colors have run in the cold wash cycle. How can I remove the unwanted color but still keep the garment’s pattern? If the colored part is transfer-printed onto the white fabric (as in iron-on or heat transfer), then… Read More

Removing Underarm Odor from T-Shirts

September 27, 2013

How can I remove underarm odor from my t-shirts? ? First, consider your overall cleaning habits. Be sure you are washing in warm or hot water whenever possible, the hotter the water, the better the cleaning. Use care labels to guide you in your temperature choice. Also, be sure… Read More

Treating Yellowed Stained Collars on White Shirts

August 21, 2013

How do I remove a year-old yellow stain on neckline of white dress shirt? Stains that have been on clothing for long periods of time, are more problematic to get out since the longer a stain sits, the harder it is to remove. Also, if the shirt was tumble… Read More

Stained Bath Towels

January 7, 2013

When I wash my bath cloths the dark stains don’t come out, what is the problem?I wish I had a little more information—do you mean wash cloths and/or towels? I realize you may not know what the stain is—this happens when you don’t notice a stain until later! But for a bath… Read More

Treating a “ring around the collar”

January 2, 2013

The collar of my shirts get very dirty, how can I treat this? I’m guessing you have a shirt with “ring around the collar”, a combination of sweat and body soil that rubs off the neck and onto the inside collar of a shirt, leaving a dark stain that can… Read More

Removing “potty” smells from children’s clothing

December 12, 2012

I am potty training and my children seem to have accidents. It can stink pretty bad and is hard to get the smell out in the laundry. It’s not just in the underwear but in the blue jeans or pants they are wearing as well. I don’t have an issue… Read More

Treating underarm yellowing

November 14, 2012

Is there a good way to get rid of underarm yellowing or do I just need to throw the shirt away? Is there any way to prevent that?Underarm stains are highly individualized. Each person’s body chemistry, combined with her choice of deodorant, make for a truly unique stain. Pre-treating the… Read More

Treating the “ring around the collar”

November 12, 2012

What causes “ring around the collar”? How does one prevent/get rid of it?Ring around the collar is a combination of sweat and body soil that rubs off the neck and onto the inside collar of a shirt, leaving that telltale dark line. On a white dress shirt, pre-treating is key,… Read More

Removing Vomit

November 5, 2012

My son’s sheets were the unfortunate victim of the stomach flu. How can I remove the vomit? Sorry to hear about your son! I hope he gets better quickly. As for the sheets, you will want to get vomit stains out as soon as possible! Immediately scrape off the excess,… Read More

Removing stains from bird waste

October 10, 2012

I was walking under a tree today and felt something hit my shoulder. A bird decided to leave me a little parting gift. I heard that is good luck, but my shirt would beg to differ. How can I remove the stain?Oh my! That sure does not sound like the… Read More

Removing body soil from Egyptian cotton sheets

August 22, 2012

How can I remove body soils from 100% Egyptian cotton sheets? Will Clorox bleach harm the sheets by aging them faster?It’s a common myth that bleach is hard on fabrics, and I’m happy to debunk the notion. No, laundering with Clorox® Regular-Bleach will not cause Egyptian cotton textiles to… Read More

Treating collar and cuff stains

August 13, 2012

How can I get rid of collar & cuff stains?Because collars and cuffs can easily build up a lot of body soil that is rubbed into the fabric, pre-treating is a good way to get great stain removal results. The color and fiber of the shirt determines what products you… Read More

How can I remove stains from a colored sports jersey?

August 1, 2012

What is the best way to remove stains from a colored football jersey?It is almost football season and this is a very common problem thanks to two-a-days and preseason games! Treatment really depends on the fiber composition. Dyed cottons are much more prone to bleeding/dye transfer and should always be… Read More

Old Pet Stain

April 13, 2012

Q:  I just found an old dried in stain from my puppy on my comforter.  How can I get this stain out without having to throw away the comforter?A:  Congratulations on the new member of your family, dogs are a wonderful addition!  If the comforter is white and made with… Read More

Disinfecting After Ring Worm

March 14, 2012

Q:  How do I treat laundry after a ring worm infestation?A:  That’s too bad about the ringworm!  To disinfect white or safely bleachable colored laundry, wash in the hottest water recommended on the care label using detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach. For extra-large or heavily soiled laundry, use… Read More

Sanitizing Diaper Pads

March 2, 2012

Q:  I have a question regarding the cleaning and sanitizing of diaper pads in a child care facility.  I have always been taught to clean with soap and water and then use bleach to sanitize.  Can Clorox® Clean-Up® be used for the washing procedure?A:  You’re correct!  We recommend cleaning a… Read More

Underarm Stains

January 16, 2012

Q:  Over time I get a hard buildup of something in the underarm regions of my white T-shirts.  Is there a reaction with gel type antiperspirants and bleach that could cause this?A:  This is a great question – underarm stains are a big problem to treat because they are highly… Read More

Stained Pillow Cases from Oily Hair

October 7, 2011

Q:  My husband has oily hair and has left the pillowcases yellowed. How do I make them white again and do I soak them (how much and how long) before washing? I’m afraid this has built up over time.A:  This is quite a problem, not just because of the oil… Read More

Gym Clothes

September 21, 2011

Q:  I workout often, and it seems some shirts have a permanent odor of sweat or mold. Will Clorox2® help on my colored laundry?A:  The bleach active in Clorox2®, hydrogen peroxide, is a gentle bleach, making it safe for almost all washable colored items.  However, it doesn’t meet… Read More

How to Get Blood Out of Sheets

August 29, 2011

Q:  How you do remove blood from sheets A:  I recommend presoaking blood stains in cool water using a good detergent that contains enzymes – check the list of ingredients to know for sure.  You need to soak items for at least 30 minutes (ideally 60 minutes). This is… Read More

Perspiration Stains

August 26, 2011

Q:  How do I get rid of perspiration stains?A:  These stains are hugely problematic, partly because they are highly variable.  On underwear style t-shirts, it might be a crusty buildup of deodorant/antiperspirant.  Or it can just be a light smear of antiperspirant/deodorant that transferred to a shirt while it was… Read More

Collar & Cuff Stains

August 10, 2011

Q:  How can I get rid of collar & cuff stains?A: Because collars and cuffs can easily build up a lot of body soil that is rubbed into the fabric, pre-treating is a good way to get great stain removal results.  The color and fiber of the shirt determines what… Read More

Removing Sunscreen Stains

July 25, 2011

Q:  We have some Hawaiian Tropic® Sunscreen and it seems to stain all our whites orange when they come in contact with sweat.  Not the whole garment just around the neck or arms or sweat ‘zones’.  How do I get these stains out?A: For sunscreen stains, try pre-treating the stains… Read More

Removing Blood from Clothing

July 20, 2011

Q: What is the best way to remove blood from clothing?A: I recommend presoaking blood stains in cool water using a good detergent that contains enzymes – check the list of ingredients to know for sure.  You need to soak items for at least 30 minutes and ideally as long… Read More

Yellow Armpit Stains

July 13, 2011

Q: How can I get yellow armpit stains out? I’ve tried everything, even using bleach pens! Any help would be greatly appreciated!A:  Arm pit stains can be quite variable.  If your shirts have stain build-up that some people say feels almost “crunchy” you can try this method:1. Working into a… Read More

Disinfecting Urine Soiled Sheets

June 22, 2011

Q:  Which is better to use for urine soiled white sheets, Clorox2® Stain Fighter & Color Booster or Clorox® Regular Bleach?A:  I am assuming you would like to disinfect the sheets, and that they are a cotton or poly-cotton blend.  Therefore, you need to use Clorox® Regular-Bleach, our EPA-registered… Read More

Eradicating Underarm Stains

June 17, 2011

Q:   My husband and I recently purchased our first washer and dryer.  With them came some tips on stain removal; however the application instructions were vague.  My husband has some shirts that are stained in the armpit area, I believe due to the combination of his deodorant and perspiration.  The… Read More

National Pet Month

May 11, 2011

Whether you are a pet owner or an animal lover, May is National Pet Month and is a great time to reflect on the special bond people have with their pets.  Three years ago we adopted our yellow lab, Bella, from the local Humane Society and ever since, she has… Read More

Removing Pet Stains

December 9, 2010

Q. We recently had to pet-sit a cat for a family member. A few weeks later, we discovered the cat had used our guest bedroom’s goose down comforter as a litter box! What would you recommend for cleaning? Treat the individual spots (there are four or five, over a foot… Read More

Removing Stains from Egyptian Cotton

November 18, 2010

Q. How can I remove body soils from 100% Egyptian cotton sheets? Will Clorox bleach harm 100% Egyptian cotton sheets by aging them faster?A. “Is detergent by itself enough”? is a question we get often, and a nicely detailed and pretty timeless discussion of this was posted on the blog… Read More

Removing Stains from Egyptian Cotton Sheets

November 11, 2010

Q. How can I remove body soils from 100% egyptian cotton sheets? Will Clorox bleach harm the sheets by aging them faster?A. Thanks for the great question; it’s a common myth that bleach is hard on fabrics, and I’m happy to debunk it by answering your second question first. No,… Read More

Spots on Dress Shirts

July 6, 2010

Q. My sons’ and husband’s dress shirts are coming out of the washer/dryer with brownish smudges on the tip of one lapel. Sometimes the same mark is elsewhere on the shirt. Do you know why this is happening? Do you know how to get it out?A. A little more description… Read More

Removing Blood from Colored Cotton

May 11, 2010

Q. What is the best way to get blood stains out of colored cotton tops? I soaked these tops in cold water, then sprayed a stain remover on them, and then washed them in detergent. I did this twice, but the stains are still visible. I did not put the… Read More

Smelly Reaction to Detergent

April 19, 2010

Q. When I was younger, my mother used Gain as our detergent and had to switch because when everyone in the family would sweat, the clothes gave off a bad odor. I have been using Tide and for some reason that same situation is coming back, but only for me. Read More

Removing Stains From Wool

March 4, 2010

Q. My husband has a white wool shawl that has not been washed in YEARS! (He reasoned that since he does not wear it so much, it does not need to be washed.) Anyway, not only does it smell bad, but it has tan, brown, and black body soil stains. Read More

Removing Sweat Stains From Sheets

December 22, 2009

Q. My husband sweats at night and has ruined many sheets and pillow cases, and even pillows with protectors. The sheets are stained with a yellowness that I just can’t get out. Of course, these sheets are white with a taupe pattern and metallic gold stripe, so cleaning them is… Read More

Removing Body Soil with Bleach

November 24, 2009

Q. I am trying to find out if the color-safe bleach removes body soil like the regular bleach is supposed to do. A. I’ve done a lot of research on body soil removal, and can tell you nothing cleans it better than detergent and Clorox® Regular-Bleach1. While the… Read More

Removing Grease and Oil

November 10, 2009

Q. Hello, I have some expensive and nice sheets that have two issues with: The pillow cases are badly soiled from hair and they are discolored. You can almost feel the oil in them. The sheets have grease on them from a malfunction in the washing machine. These sheets… Read More

Disinfecting Linens

October 28, 2009

Q. If used properly will Clorox completely and safely disinfect the soiled linens from the contaminations of an ambulance? Do you have information that documents the types of bacteria and virus Clorox will kill? Our local hospitals are no longer exchanging the soiled linens from the ambulances for clean sets. Read More

Sunscreen Oil Stains

October 15, 2009

Q. Your 800 number just seemed to address an oil or cream stain from sunscreens. My problem is the pinkish stains from the sunscreen reacting with my body oils and/or sweat. These new SPF screens at 55 and above have really made a mess of my white shirts. I have… Read More

Removing Odor from Towels

September 8, 2009

Q. Here is an issue I cannot seem to solve. My bathroom towels smell like body odor. They are washed regularly; towels are changed in the bathrooms every 3 days. They are washed straight away, not left to sit wet. They are dried in the sun and I have even… Read More

Pet Spotting

July 21, 2009

Q. Help! Our male dog leaves yellow/greenish spots on our painted walls. These walls are a cream/whitish flat paint and I don’t know what to use that will not take the paint off the wall. We live in an apartment and I need to remove the spots before we move. Read More

Sports-Related Cleaning with Bleach, Part 2

June 11, 2009

Q. My children are lacrosse players, and I have a few sports-related stain questions: How can I deodorize sports equipment? What is safe to use on helmets and pads to provide protection against MRSA? How can I clean sports bags interiors? How can I disinfect flip flops and slide in… Read More

Sports-Related Cleaning with Bleach, Part 1

June 9, 2009

Q. My children are lacrosse players, and I have a few sports-related stain questions:What’s the best way to clean white socks to get out dirt stains? How can I clean colored sports jerseys? And, how can I clean Under Armour® brand name sports shirts? A. Thanks for your wide-ranging… Read More

Removing Stains Caused by Dust Mites

June 2, 2009

Q. I am having trouble removing blood stains from white cotton sheets (400 thread count). I have used Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 and dust mite solution, and stains remain. I have been reading lately in home and style magazines, as well as newspaper articles, that you should add bleach to the… Read More

Removing Pet Stains

March 19, 2009

Q. We recently had to pet sit a cat for a family member. A few weeks after that, we discovered the cat had used a goose down comforter as its main place to relieve itself. What would you recommend for cleaning? Treat the individual spots (there are four or five,… Read More

Removing Dinginess

February 19, 2009

Q. I live in an eternal summer climate and have trouble keeping my clothes fresh-looking. How can I keep summer whites bright? Does bleach yellow cotton fabrics? And, do you have any suggestions for underarm deodorant stains on clothing? A. With the very cold winter we have had, I wish… Read More

Disinfecting Colored Items

December 30, 2008

Q. I am looking for information about Clorox® brand products that can be used to disinfect laundry in a medical facility. The laundry consists of colored fabric but could have blood/body fluids in the fibers. I need to know the options for properly disinfecting these items without removing color. A. Read More

Perspiration Stains from Mixed Blend Shirts: Your Questions

September 30, 2008

Q: How do I remove perspiration stains from cotton and mixed blend shirts? A: I hear this question a lot — how do I get rid of the dreaded “pit” stains. The stain is simply a build-up of the underarm deodorant/antiperspirant that has not been removed wash-after-wash-after-wash. It… Read More

Getting Rid of Underarm Stains: Your Questions

September 17, 2008

Q: My husband wears cotton white T-shirts. I use Clorox in hot water each time I launder them and rinse them twice. They are fairly new (Christmas) and they have developed stiffness in the under arms. He has asked me to buy him new ones. But that is… Read More

Stains on Pillowcases: Your Questions

August 26, 2008

Q: I get tan stains on my pillowcases, whether from hair or skin oils. The pillowcases are 100% cotton and colored. These stains do not come out in my laundering them in front-loading machines, and an oily residue seems to remain. (I live in a high-rise apartment building… Read More

Dispelling Bleach Myths for Cloth Diapers

August 19, 2008

Q: When washing cloth diapers, I use a very small amount of bleach to sanitize along with hot water (I own a diaper service). As long as people do what I ask them to do with the diapers, I have no problem removing stains with my organic detergent… Read More

Your Questions: Removing Stains from Hats

February 3, 2008

Q: My father recently passed away and left behind two, white straw cowboy hats. I would like to give the hats to my young grandchildren, his great grandchildren, as a remembrance. We have several pictures of him in those hats and the youngsters remember him that way. The… Read More

Your Questions: Body Soil Stains

September 18, 2007

Q: Help! I have tried, in vain, to remove sweat stains that have yellowed my beautiful white sheets. Do you have any recommendations or should I just buy yellow sheets?A: The yellowing is most likely from body soil that has not been totally removed and is building up… Read More

Washing clothes in coldwater

September 20, 2006

I received a smart question from a reader this week and thought I’d address it. Thanks for sending Sean!The question was in response to my last entry on body soil. With the coldwater detergents on the market these days, there’s often a balance between energy savings vs. cleaning power since… Read More

Myth Part 2: Only using detergent gets my clothes clean

September 15, 2006

A quick review of body soil: Everybody has it and everybody is going to deposit it onto a lot of the things you use everydayHow much you deposit can vary but an average person produces ~50grams of body soil/dayThis stuff can be a real feast for bacteria, germs and… Read More

Soccer Stains…

July 1, 2006

First, let me say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my son Brandon!  Hope it is a great day for you.  Sorry I won’t be there.  Dr. Laundry is in New Zealand working on another commercial.I admit it—I’m officially immersed in soccer fever this month. World Cup Germany has me glued to my… Read More