Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

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Dr. Laundry

Removing Rust Stains Out of Clothes

April 20, 2017

Q. How do you get rust stains out of clothes? —Nola A. Hi Nola; Rust stains are particularly limited in what will effectively take them out. Most importantly, it’s critical to note that rust stains can NOT be removed with Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 (or any chlorine bleach for that matter). Read More

Cleaning My Dog’s Paws — Is it ok?

April 14, 2017

Q: Cleaning dogs’ paws. Is it ok? What is the proper dilution with water? Jim A: Hi Jim; Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 (or any of our other laundry and home cleaning products for that matter) should not be used to clean dog paws. I would stick with whatever shampoo you use… Read More

How Do I Get Rust Off My Clothes?

August 25, 2016

Q: How do I get rust off my clothes? A: I get this question a lot! Rust stains are particularly limited in what will effectively take them out. Most importantly, it’s critical to note that rust stains can NOT be removed with Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 (or any chlorine bleach for that matter).  You need… Read More

How Do You Remove Rust?

July 19, 2016

Q: How do I remove rust?   A: Rust stains are particularly limited in what will effectively take them out.  Most importantly, it’s critical to note that rust stains can NOT be removed with Clorox® Regular-Bleach (or any chlorine bleach for that matter).  You need to use a… Read More

Tips For Rust Stain Treatments For Carpeting?

June 28, 2016

Q: Rust stain treatments for carpeting? A: I’m so sorry to hear about your carpet.  Rust stains are particularly limited in what will effectively take them out when you just have to deal with them on fabric!  Most importantly, it’s critical to note that rust stains can NOT be removed… Read More

How To Remove Rust Stains?

April 21, 2016

Q: My husband recently had knee surgery and we have a CPM machine on our fabric couch, which moves his knee for him. We happened to move the machine today and noticed that two screws have put rust all along the upholstery.  How can we remove the rust without ruining… Read More

How do I get rid of a water stain out of my UGG boots?

February 18, 2016

Q: How do I get rid of a water stain out of my UGG boots? A: Dirty or stained UGG boots are a cleaning challenge because they are constructed of a material (sheepskin) that is more difficult to care for and is limited in the different types of cleaning agents… Read More

How do I remove a rust stain from any garment?

January 5, 2016

Q: How do I remove a rust stain from any garment?   A: It’s difficult to recommend a treatment that is appropriate for a single type of stain on any and all fabrics since different textile fibers, from cotton to wool to polyester to silk, respond differently to different wash chemistries… Read More

How do I get mold off of cloth couches?

December 1, 2015

Q: How do I get mold off of cloth couches? A lot of mold?   A: Can you tell me a little bit more about the furniture?  If it is outdoor furniture covered with fabric that is colorfast to bleach (Sunbrella is one example) then there’s actually a good chance… Read More

Outdoor Mold & Mildew

April 22, 2015

We love our home, a 95 year old bungalow with a stucco exterior and beautiful old-glass windows.  What I don’t love is how every winter the north-facing front of the house gets no sun!  It’s the perfect environment for mold and mildew to develop, especially the areas with no protection… Read More

How Do You Remove A Rust Stain

April 15, 2015

Q: How do you remove a rust stain?   A: Unfortunately rust stains can NOT be removed with Clorox® Regular-Bleach (or any chlorine bleach for that matter).  You need to use a rust remover product instead.  These can be found at hardware stores—just be sure to read and follow… Read More

How do you remove rust stains from linen?

March 28, 2015

Q: How do you remove rust stains from linen? A: Thanks for sending in your question.  Unfortunately rust stains can NOT be removed with Clorox® Regular-Bleach (or any product containing chlorine bleach for that matter).  You need to use a rust remover product instead, and these can be found… Read More

Removing Flower Stains From a White Shirt

March 5, 2015

Q: I was carrying a flower arrangement and got an orange stain on my shirt. I’ve used Clorox, Oxyclean, Shout & Dawn with no results. Please help   A: Did the arrangement have lilies in it?  If that’s the case then the stain could be from the pollen-rich anther.  Because… Read More

Treating Flower Pollen

July 2, 2014

How can I remove flower pollen that got on my clothes? A big bouquet of lilies may be beautiful, but they can lead to problems when pollen comes into contact with fabric. The good news is the resulting stain can be removed! You can make the job easier by getting… Read More

Removing Rust Stains

October 25, 2013

How can I treat a rust stain? Unfortunately rust stains can NOT be removed with Clorox® Regular-Bleach or any other products with any sodium hypochlorite bleach active. You need to use a rust remover product instead, and these can usually be found at hardware stores. Just be sure… Read More

Removing Red Clay Stains

October 14, 2013

While working in my flower bed I got the red clay on my blue and white shorts. How can I get this stain out? This is tricky because tiny insoluble particles of red clay can work their way into the weave or knit of the fabric, making them very… Read More

Removing Mildew Stains from Fabric

September 6, 2013

How do I remove mildew stains from colored fabric? Mildewed textiles need to be treated right. If you are not sure if your item can be bleached, you can do a quick bleachability test to check: add 1 ½ teaspoons of Clorox® Regular-Bleach to ¼ cup water (or… Read More

Removing rust stains

February 25, 2013

How can I remove rust in fabrics? Unfortunately rust stains can NOT be removed with Clorox® Regular-Bleach (or any chlorine bleach for that matter). You need to use a rust remover product instead, and these can be found at hardware stores—just be sure to read and follow the package… Read More

Odor Removal from a Dishrag

February 22, 2013

What can I use to remove the awful smell out of dishrag?If the dishrag is damp/wet on and off over a couple of days before you wash it, then odor causing bacteria is building up on the rag. If you only wash it with detergent, that’s not enough to sanitize… Read More

Removing mildew from textiles

January 14, 2013

How do I remove mildew from clothes? Mildewed textiles need to be treated right away to help keep the problem from getting worse. You didn’t say what color your clothing is or if any of the items are bleachable. If you are not sure, you can do a quick bleachability… Read More

Removing pine sap

January 3, 2013

After taking down our Christmas tree, our clothes have little drops of pine sap in multiple places. Is this considered a stain, or can I simply wash them with detergent? Christmas trees are a wonderful Christmas tradition, but unfortunately pine sap is a very difficult stain to remove with typical… Read More

Removing stains from slush and road salt

December 19, 2012

During the winter I walk through that messy mixture of slush, mud, salt and road sand that leaves your clothes covered with splash spots. I just cannot get the stains out of my beige and khaki pants, no matter what stain treating products I use or how much I bleach… Read More

Removing Pine Tar from a cotton sweatshirt

December 10, 2012

How can I remove pine tar from my cotton sweatshirt? Pitch, tree sap, pine tar—whatever you call it, this is a very challenging stain to get out. Try treating the stain directly with DeSolvIt or Goo Gone, which you can find at hardware stores. You should first test for colorfastness… Read More

Stains on white knit after washing

October 24, 2012

My white knit shirt had stains on it AFTER washing that were not there before going through my machine. What could cause this? There are several possible causes of stains that appear after washing—I can’t say for sure without knowing more about your situation, but here are some things for… Read More

Removing mildew from sidewalks

October 8, 2012

This summer, mildew built up all over my sidewalk. How can I use Clorox to remove it?What a great project to tackle at the end of summer mildew buildup! For mildew removal on concrete (such as a patio), use a dilution of 1 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach per gallon of… 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

Sanitize plastic pool toys

July 4, 2012

Is it safe to sanitize plastic blow-up pool toys with Clorox® Regular-Bleach? Happy 4th of July! I hope everyone has a relaxing and fun-filled holiday. One common 4th of July activity is a trip to the pool, but between the trek through the bathrooms to the time spent in the… Read More

Disinfecting a wading pool

July 2, 2012

Can I use Clorox® Regular-Bleach to disinfect a children’s wading pool? It is July and heat waves are hitting all over the country! Many of us want to cool off in a backyard pool, but we also want to make sure there is no dangerous bacteria lurking in these pools… Read More

How to Remove Pine Sap from Cotton T-Shirt

June 20, 2012

How do you remove pine sap from a cotton t-shirt?Tree sap is a very challenging stain to get out. Try treating the stain directly with DeSolvIt® or Goo Gone®, which you can find at hardware stores. You should first test for colorfastness (apply a drop to a hidden part of… Read More

How to remove grass stains from a white dress shirt

June 15, 2012

How do I remove grass stains from a white dress shirt? A little more information on the type of dress shirt and fiber types would have been helpful. First, check the care label and eliminate any items that include wool, silk, mohair, spandex, and leather. For all other types of… Read More

Mold on Patio Cushions

May 14, 2012

Q: How do I get mold out of outdoor patio cushions? A: There are different treatment options depending on the type of fabric the cushions are made of (polyester, cotton, etc.) and brand. If they are made by Sunbrella®, there is great cleaning information on their website, which you can… Read More

Smelly Beach Towel

April 4, 2012

Q:  I have a beach towel and no matter how many time I wash it, the first time I get it wet, it stinks like mildew.   How can I get rid of the smell?A:  Smelly towels usually indicate that there is soil build-up inside the inner workings of your clothes… Read More

Following My Own Advice

February 29, 2012

How would you handle a major home remodel that not only demolishes the kitchen, but the laundry room as well?  Staring at the open wall studs that revealed the disconnected pipes that a few weeks ago were attached to my neighbor’s clothes washer I couldn’t help but ask that question. … Read More

Eradicating Mildew from Fabric

January 30, 2012

Q:  How do I get mildew off sheets and towels?A:  The best question to first ask yourself is:  are these items bleachable?  If you are not sure, you can do a quick bleachability test to check: add 2 teaspoons Clorox® Regular-Bleach to ¼ cup water; apply a drop to… Read More

Hand Washing White Gloves

December 14, 2011

Q: I have large brown stains on my white cotton gloves that are hand wash only. I believe the stains are from my moisturizer combining with dirt when wearing the gloves both indoors and out, running errands (i.e. from touching stair rails, items in stores, etc.).A:  First check to make… Read More

Dirt Stained Soccer Uniform

December 2, 2011

Q:  My son’s white 100 percent polyester soccer uniform is dirt-stained.  How can I safely bleach it?A:  I have good news for you: polyester fibers can be safely bleached with Clorox® Regular-Bleach.  Chances are the shirt also has a player number and maybe even a name.  If those components… Read More

Mildew on Outdoor Furniture

November 7, 2011

Q:  What should I use to clean mildew from the cushions on our porch chaise lounge. The cushions are made of heavy duty cloth.A:  I can recommend a bleach solution, but in addition to removing the mildew it could also alter the color of the cushions depending on the fabric. … Read More

Cleaning an In-ground Pool

October 19, 2011

Q:  I have an in-ground pool and was told that putting Clorox® Regular-Bleach in the water would help prevent algae during the winter. Is this true, and if so, how much would I need if my pool holds 33,000 gallons of water?A: There’s a protocol when using Clorox® Regular-Bleach… Read More

Hard Water Stains

September 30, 2011

Q:  Can I use Clorox to remove or prevent stains on my laundry?  They are sort of rust colored and may be from our well hard water.  A:  That’s too bad about the rust stains in your laundry, and that you have hard water.  Unfortunately rust stains can NOT be… 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

Mildew Stains on a Lamp Shade

August 24, 2011

Q:  I have a few mildew stains on a lamp shade. The shades cannot be immersed in water, I have to spot clean them. I have already tried a dish washing soap/water mixture to no avail as well as Oxiclean. I have heard a dishwashing soap and/or bleach might work.A: … Read More

Using Clorox 2® Stain Fighter & Color Booster in Japan

August 22, 2011

Using Clorox 2® Stain Fighter & Color Booster in JapanQ:  I just bought some Clorox2® at Costco in Japan.  As you probably know, our washers here are cold water and most Japanese don’t have dryers.  I didn’t know you had a cold water formula. My kids’ school uniform has a… Read More

Dandelion Stains

August 12, 2011

Q:  How do I get dandelion stains out of a knit top?A: I don’t have a lot of experience with dandelion stains, so I went out to the front yard and picked a few.  I am assuming you’d like help with stains from the yellow flower petals—they certainly make colorful… Read More

Removing Mold Stains

August 1, 2011

Q:  Can mold stains be removed? A:  Yes, but moldy textiles need to be treated right away to help keep the problem from getting worse.  Are your items bleachable?  If you are not sure you can do a quick bleachability test: add 2 teaspoons Clorox® Regular-Bleach to ¼ cup… Read More

Stains on Whites after Washing

July 22, 2011

Q: What are the yellow-orange stains I see on my whites after I wash them? A: It’s hard to know for certain without a little more information, but if this happens after every white load it could be that they are rust stains.  It is especially easy for rust to… Read More

Removing Red Dirt and Juice Stains

April 7, 2011

Q: I am embarking on a baseball season with two boys wearing white pants and white undershirts. What are the best ways to remove red dirt and possible juice stains?A: The undershirts are most likely white cotton, therefore to remove any juice stains, wash the shirts with… Read More

Removing Pine Sap from Fabric

March 29, 2011

Q: After cutting up a large pine branch this past weekend, our clothes have little drops of pine sap in multiple places. Is this considered a stain, or can I simply wash them with detergent? Preferably, I do not want to do a lot of extra work if… Read More

Removing Algae from Exterior Surfaces

March 8, 2011

Q: I have algae growing on an exterior surface of my home and was wondering if I can remove it using a combination of Tide® Laundry Detergent and bleach. A: Unfortunately, we have never studied the combination of Tide® Laundry Detergent and Clorox® Regular-Bleach as an effective and safe… Read More

White Socks

December 28, 2010

Q. I am raising my grandson and cannot keep the bottom of his white socks clean. I use Clorox bleach, but it still doesn’t get them clean. Any ideas what else I can do?A. Your grandson is very lucky to have you! On a personal note, my mom also helped… Read More

Shower Liners

December 23, 2010

Q. Can I use this in the washer with a plastic shower liner? It has a lot of mildew on it. I am not using it on clothes, just this plastic shower liner.A. Thanks for the question. How old is your plastic shower liner? If it is still fairly new… Read More

Removing Pitching from Clothing

September 28, 2010

Q. Five days ago I got some pitch from a blue spruce tree on my exercise clothes. The clothes are black, and made from polyester and some spandex. Can you suggest a treatment?A. This can be a very challenging stain to get out. Try treating the stains directly with De-Solv-It… Read More

Miracle-Gro Stain

July 20, 2010

Hello,I have been working on a shirt that has Miracle-Gro Fertilizer on it (the blue stuff). Have used color-safe bleach on it and soaked it for weeks. Have not put the shirt in the dryer. Help!!!Thank you, CindyHi Cindy,This is a great question. It is really good you haven’t… Read More

Cleaning Canvas Tents with Bleach

June 24, 2010

Q. I recently cleaned the inside of our tent trailer (the inside of the canvas) with bleach because I noticed some mildew or mold spots on the ceiling above the bed. It’s a rubber backed canvas on the ceiling. I simply put some Clorox in a bowl, along with some… Read More

Removing Mold from Colored Clothes

June 15, 2010

Q. What is the best way to get rid of mold on colored clothes?A. This is usually a tough one since the best mold/mildew killers are products with sodium hypochlorite, the active in our Clorox® Regular-Bleach and Tilex® Instant Mold & Mildew Remover. This is OK for whites and… Read More

Removing Mildew from Drywall

May 6, 2010

Q. We had a water leak inside a wall (made of drywall). We’d like to know what to do to prevent mildew build up inside the wall that had the leak. We’ve cut a hole in the wall to get air in there, can we spray Clorox inside to kill… Read More

Removing Mold from Clothes

March 9, 2010

Q. I have some clothes that were wet when I put them into the hamper. I expected to wash them right away, but didn’t get around to it. Now they are moldy. How much Clorox do I have to add to the wash load to kill the mold?A. Moldy cloths… Read More

Removing Mold and Odor from Flooding

January 7, 2010

Q. I have an area that was flooded months ago and didn’t get cleaned up. I am planning on spraying all surfaces with a bug sprayer containing 50% bleach and 50% water. This area will be remodeled so the main problem is eliminating the mold and odor. A. It’s always… Read More

Removing Clay Stains

December 3, 2009

Q. My son has nylon white baseball pants with red and blue stripes on the legs — NOTHING gets the Texas clay stains out. What can I do? A. Baseball pants always seem to get those ground-in stains from sliding and just wiping the hands between swings. Key to possible… Read More

Removing Stains from Fire Retardant Clothing

October 8, 2009

Q. My husband wears fire retardant clothing while performing his job which results in a lot of grease and dirt stains. Can I use your product? The clothing is marked No Chlorine Bleach, No Hydrogen Peroxide, and Detergent Only.A. For fire retardant clothing, one does not want to remove or… Read More

Removing Fly Droppings

September 24, 2009

Q. This might sound rude, but I have a real problem with fly poop on my silk curtains and chair covers. They all look like little black “plus” signs (+), and I don’t know how to get them out. I am scared about ruining the silk.A. If it were any… Read More

Cleaning Velvet

August 4, 2009

Q. I have a white velvet dress with little brown stains on it from just hanging in the closet. It was folded up for awhile with the hanger on it, and I wonder if the spots could be rust from the hanger. Is there a way to see if the… Read More

Gray Spots on Whites

July 14, 2009

Q. I have been having a problem with gray spots on my whites and light colors for years and cannot figure out the cause. I have changed washers, had my water checked, have different pipes installed, and always separate colors from whites, but I still get gray spots. They almost… 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

Easter Stains

April 10, 2009

Everyone, including me, always gets excited about the Easter Bunny! I thought I’d put up a quick note about how to remove a couple of Easter Bunny-related stains from the outdoor egg hunt and the melted/dripping/dropped chocolate bunny stains. I LOVE Easter egg hunts (as long as I find the… Read More

Removing Slush Stains

March 31, 2009

Q. I live in Maine, and many times during the winter and early spring I walk through that messy mixture of slush, mud, salt and road sand that leaves your clothes covered with splash spots. I just cannot get the stains out of my beige and khaki pants, no matter… Read More

How to Get Rid of Mold

February 5, 2009

Q. I have mold on my ceilings and walls. How do I dilute Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 to spray on it and kill it? A. Clorox has several ways for you to do this. Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 can be made into an effective solution and applied directly to the problem area. Read More

Red Clay Stains

January 15, 2009

Q. My dog jumped on the bed leaving a large spot with red clay dirt stains on the sheets. Help! A. Red clay is a nasty stain to remove. I assume it is dried out by now, so here’s your best shot: Your best bet would be an extended presoak… Read More

Removing Mold and Mildew

January 8, 2009

Q. A couple of times I have left my laundry in the basket, without having dried the items completely. I now have been having trouble with mold and mildew on my clothes. How can I combat this? Also, what are your products that work best for colors? Can you give… Read More

Cleaning Tile

December 18, 2008

Q. I have been using every Clorox product known to man to try to clean the grout in my shower. It has helped to some extent, but is not getting all the mildew (and I have even used straight Clorox and scrubbed it with a grout brush). After rinsing the… Read More

Floor Stains

December 9, 2008

Q. I had a plant sitting on my linoleum floor. Water percolated thru the dirt and onto the floor leaving a stain. Can I remove it using Clorox? A. While not a floor specialist, here’s my opinion/approach: This could be a tough one if the plant/water have been in contact… Read More

Bleaching Lamp Shades

December 4, 2008

Q. I have noticed some mildew on an off-white lamp shade. How do I remove it? A. Mildew loves to grow in damp and warm places, and needs to be removed from your immediate environment. This one is a little difficult to answer without some more information. The approach will… Read More

Rust Stains

November 7, 2008

Q. I have a few small rust stains on my white towels, any suggestions? A. The trick to rust removal is to avoid the stain. Your best chance at removal is using a rust remover product. Summit Instant Rust Out and Whink Rust Remover are two such products. These can… Read More

Ridding Clothes of Odors: Your Questions

October 22, 2008

Q. I forgot a load of bright colors in the washing machine, and now they smell bad. Can I use some of your Green Works® Multi-Surface Cleaner in the wash, or will it fade the colors? What would you recommend using to freshen the clothes up? A. If clothes… Read More

Flower Pollen Stains: Your Questions

October 15, 2008

Q: Is there a way to remove flower pollen stains from whites (yellow powder dust from Star Gazer Lilies)? A: The best advice I’ve seen is to cut out the stamens before bringing the flowers into the house. Or, try using scotch tape to remove the pollen while… Read More

Stains on Sailboat Sails: Your Questions

September 17, 2008

Q: My sailboat sails are made of Dacron, white in color. I have seen small black specks in certain areas, which I believe to be mildew stains. Could you please tell me how best to remove the black specks and also let me know is Dacron is susceptible… Read More

Removing Stains from Rugs: Your Questions

August 26, 2008

Q: Recently I watered a plant that was sitting on a rattan rug. I overwatered it and did not realize this until the next day. Now there is a brown spot on the rug from my stupid mistake. What can I use to erase this stain from the rug…and my… Read More

Your Questions: Leaving Clorox 2 on Fabrics

June 3, 2008

Q: Help! We have a dress that we were trying to get mud stains out of… we mistakenly let the Clorox 2 dry on it and now have yellow stains all over it. It is an orange and white seersucker dress…can it be saved? A: I don’t have… Read More

Your Questions: Mildew on Tablecloth

January 17, 2008

Q: Dr. Laundry, how do I remove mildew from my table cloth? It is 52% cotton and 48% polyester. Please help!A: The best thing for removing mildew is Clorox Regular-Bleach. Assuming the tablecloth is white or bleachable (See Bleachability test if unsure). I would either do a short… 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