Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

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Dr. Laundry

Removing Crayon from Colored Clothing

April 20, 2017

Q. I still don’t know how to remove crayon from colored clothes. Help! —Jayvon A. Hi There; That’s a really old post-written 10 years ago by the first Dr. Laundry, who retired in 2010. Did you try any of his suggestions? I take a little different approach with crayon stains… Read More

Removing Dried, Set-In Ink Stains from a White Comforter

April 14, 2017

Q: I washed my bedding and went to dry it. Little did I know there was a pen in the dryer! The pen melted and got ink all over my bedding. My pillowcases came out unharmed, but my sheets and comforter did not, unfortunately. My comforter is white, so I… Read More

How Do I Get Spray Paint Out Of A White Shirt?

July 19, 2016

Q: How do I get spray paint out of a white shirt? A: I get lots of questions about paint stains.  It’s definitely one of the more challenging stains because of the nature of paint:  it’s designed to adhere to a surface, dry quickly and stay there, which is a… Read More

How to remove red dye out of white clothes?

June 28, 2016

Q: How to remove red dye out of white clothes? A: For the white items that picked up the red dye, first check each care label to identify the fiber content of each item so you know which ones are bleachable. You should always avoid bleaching wool, silk, mohair, leather, and… Read More

Black dye on white dress shirt. What do I do ?

May 23, 2016

Q: Black dye on white dress shirt says not to use bleach or hot water . What do I do ? Already tried Clorox stain remover didn’t work A: Thanks for sending the care instructions, which might be taking it a little too easy on the white shirt.  White cotton… Read More

How Do You Get Permanent Marker Out Of Pink Pants?

March 23, 2016

Q:  How Do You Get Permanent Marker Out Of Pink Pants?   A: While regular marker stains can be easily removed by pretreating with liquid Clorox2® before washing, permanent marker stains are just that, permanent!  Just in case you end up with a non-permanent marker stain in the future,… Read More

How Do You Remove Candle Wax Off Of A Painted Wall?

March 23, 2016

Q: How Do You Remove Candle Wax Off Of A Painted Wall? A: This is another great question.  Just like glue varies, so do walls.  You could have sheetrock, or lath and plaster.  The walls could be textured or smooth.  The paint could be an easy to clean semi-gloss or… Read More

How Do You Remove Black Ink From A White Shirt?

January 29, 2016

Q:  I was wondering, how would you get a spot of black ink off of a white shirt? A:  Ink varies in how difficult it is to remove because not all ink is created equal, and the type of ink matters more than the color.  Inks from gel pens and… Read More

I’ve got blue paint on my shirt. Can you help?

January 27, 2016

Q: I’ve got blue paint on my shirt. Can you help? A: I hope I can help!  A lot depends on the paint.  Washable paints like children’s craft paint can often come out with a little pretreating.  But other paints, like the acrylics that artists use or household paint generally… Read More

My daughter had a crayon in her jacket when I washed and dried it. Well our clothes had pink crayon on it when I removed them from the dryer. I sprayed with Oxy Clean Max and then put them in the washer on sanitize hoping the crayon would come out. IT DID! But, now I have clothes that are not pink, but they have a pink tint. Help!

January 25, 2016

Q: My daughter had a crayon in her jacket when I washed and dried it. Well our clothes had pink crayon on it when I removed them from the dryer. I sprayed with Oxy Clean Max and then put them in the washer on sanitize hoping the crayon would come… Read More

How do you get paint out of pants?

January 9, 2016

  Q: How do you get paint out of pants?   A: Paint stains vary in difficulty of removal based on the wide variety of paint out there.  From washable children’s craft paint (easiest) to latex wall paint (not too bad if you can get to it right away before… Read More

How do you remove markers from clothing?

January 5, 2016

Q: How do you remove markers from clothing that a two-year-old colored on?   A: Hopefully this means you have a little Picasso!  It does sound like you have at least a few items to get stains out of, so start by checking the care labels.  You will need to pretreat… Read More

How Do I Get Ink Out Of Clothes?

September 14, 2015

Q: How do I get ink marks out of clothes,  purses, and jackets? Most importantly clothes because for some reason all of us seem to get ink stains on our shirts pants etc. Please help with any suggestions you may have. Thank You A: This… Read More

How can I remove black ink from felt tip pens?

August 20, 2015

Q: How can I remove black ink from felt tip pens? A: Thanks for sending in your question!  For felt pens and markers on colored fabric, first pretreat with a little liquid Clorox2®.  Just apply a little directly to the stain, rub it in, and… Read More

I Would Like To Get Permanent Marker Out Of My Bathing Suit

May 6, 2015

Q: I would like to get permanent marker out of my bathing suit . It’s a white crochet fabric on the outside. I wrote my name inside & when my sister sprayed it with the water hose it bled and ran. I tried scrubbing with Tide/bleach, but it won’t completely… Read More

I had a pen explode in my dryer during a load of whites!

May 1, 2015

Q: I had a pen explode in my dryer during a load of whites. I have attempted to re-wash them and re-wash them with 3/4 cup of bleach added in. Nothing has worked yet! It ruined my favorite / most expensive clothes. Please help!! A: If only your pen could have… Read More

How Do I Remove Paint From My Clothes?

April 29, 2015

Q: I got paint on a favorite T doing earth day activities with my kindergarteners! I’ve tried all my tricks but it still shows. It was just tempera!   A: Paint is generally difficult to remove from fabric, but it’s not necessarily impossible.  The sooner you can get to the… Read More

How To Remove Acrylic Paint From Polyester

March 26, 2015

Q: How do you remove acrylic paint from polyester A: Your question is very interesting.  Acrylic paint is a very problematic stain.  While wet it is water soluble, but once cured (dried) it is insoluble and therefore permanent.  So it may be too late… Read More

How to remove ink from clothes

March 19, 2015

Q: How to remove ink from clothes?   A: I wish I knew a little more about what item you have an ink stain on, and what type of ink it is, because that information affects how you might treat the stain for removal.  In general, I recommend a… Read More

Ink stain removal

January 15, 2015

Q: I want to learn more about ink stain removal. A: In general, I recommend a two-step process for dealing with ink stains that I hope will help you.  Before you start, you need to determine the colorfastness of the item if it’s not white.  (Note that you should always… Read More

Removing Dry Ink Stains

November 25, 2013

How do I remove a dry ink stain? I have already tried hairspray and Clorox2.    Finding a pen in your laundry after it has been through the dryer is so frustrating, the heat from the dryer makes a stain that is already difficult to get out that much harder… Read More

Removing Ink Stains

October 10, 2013

How do I remove ink stains from a pen left in the wash cycle? Finding a pen in your laundry after it has been through the dryer is so frustrating–the heat from the dryer makes a stain that is already difficult to get out that much harder to remove. Read More

Removing Ink Stains

September 26, 2013

How do I remove ink stains from a pen left in the wash cycle? Finding a pen in your laundry after it has been through the dryer is so frustrating–the heat from the dryer makes a stain that is already difficult to get out that much harder to remove. Read More

Removing melted crayon

February 8, 2013

I ran my child’s clothes through the dryer without realizing there was a crayon in there too. How can I remove the stain? It doesn’t matter whether the crayon melted in the pocket of a sweatshirt left in the hot car or accidentally went through a hot dryer—you have quite… Read More

Gel pen ink stain

September 19, 2012

I got pen ink on my shirt. What can I do to treat it? Should I try Clorox bleach on it? Or is there some other method I can try?I have a two-step process for dealing with ink stains that I hope will help you, but first you need to… Read More

Removing melted crayons

September 5, 2012

It doesn’t matter whether a crayon melted in the pocket of a sweatshirt left in the hot car or accidentally went through a hot dryer—you have quite a problem to deal with. Crayons have a waxy component that doesn’t break up in a detergent and water solution–that’s why these stains… Read More

Removing printer ink from clothing

July 11, 2012

What is the best way to remove yellow printer ink from blue jeans?Ink is an extremely difficult stain to remove given how concentrated printer ink is–but it’s still worth giving a little hand sanitizer a try to break up the stain so it will be easier to get it out. Read More

Green Paint Stain

April 9, 2012

Q:  I was painting & got green paint on my white north face jacket. I used bleach (plenty of it) & the stain is still there.  A:  The problem you have is similar to cleaning dried latex paint off a brush with synthetic (nylong or polyester) bristles.  With brushes, you… Read More

Red Dye Stain

March 12, 2012

Q:  How do I remove a red dye stain from a book cover that left a spot on a priest’s linen surplus (vestment)?A:  For starters, if the vestement is silk, then you cannot use Clorox® Regular-Bleach to wash it.  If the fiber is linen then you can wash it… Read More

Wood Stain on Clothing

March 5, 2012

Q:  I laid my clothes over the back of a wooden chair and the wood stain came off onto my clothes. One of the articles of clothing is a white t-shirt and the other is a striped cotton button-down dress. How do I get the wood stain out of my… Read More

Sharpie® Stain

January 18, 2012

Q: Have a stain from a Sharpie®, how do I remove it?A:  Sharpie® pens are generally permanent, so it may be difficult to get the stain out.  That said, if you start by pre-treating the stain with a little bit of alcohol-based hand sanitizer to begin breaking up the ink,… Read More

Ink Stain

October 10, 2011

Q:  I have an ink stain on my Police uniform shirt (cotton/poly blend).  What is the best way to remove the stain?A:  I have a two-step process for dealing with ink stains that will hopefully help, but first you need to determine the colorfastness of the shirt.  Many colored dress… Read More

Removing Dried Wax from Flannel

March 10, 2011

Q: I have to soak my hands in molten wax three times a week as part of a treatment for arthritic hands. Sometimes the wax spills over onto the throw blanket I put under the pot while the wax is cooling. How can I remove these dried wax splotches? I… Read More

Removing Gel Pen Ink

October 1, 2010

I put my pen in my shirt pocket without closing it. It was a gel refill pen. The cotton seemed to draw the ink out of the pen, and I currently have a pink cotton no-iron shirt with a dime-sized black spot at the bottom of the pocket. I have… Read More

Cleaning Shirts with Colored Patches

May 18, 2010

Q. I just purchased 5 white uniform shirts with colored shoulder patches. I do not want to send them to the dry cleaners. How do you suggest I wash them? I am concerned that if I bleach the entire wash load, the color patches might bleed into my white shirt. Read More

Removing Ink Stains

February 11, 2010

Q. Do you know what I can do to remove a black ink pen stain from the breast pocket of a black and pink-checked patterned summer (loose fiber) 100% cotton short-sleeved shirt? A. I would normally recommend Clorox® Regular-Bleach, but the black and pink doesn’t sound like it could… Read More

Spray Paint Stains

October 20, 2009

Q. I got metallic beige spray paint on a cotton dress. What can I do to remove it?A. May not have good news for you. Once the paint has dried on the dress, you must now find a solvent to re-dissolve the paint without damaging/removing the dye from the dress. Read More

How to Remove Permanent Marker From Clothes

August 11, 2009

Q. I put a permanent marker in my pocket and the top came off. It bled into the pocket of my pink cotton lab jacket. How can I remove the stain? A. The key to success is being able to dissolve/solubilize the marker, and preventing it from spreading and bleaching… Read More

Ink Stains in Dryer

July 29, 2009

Q. Four pens burst open all over the interior of my dryer. How can I get it clean to do laundry again? A. Bummer of a problem! Usually in this type of situation one is concerned that the ink has been set into the drum surface/liner by the dryer heat. Read More

Removing Ink from Worsted Wool

January 20, 2009

Q. How can I remove ink from a ball point pen from my worsted wool garment? A. For ink stains, I prefer using solvent(s) and applying from the back of the stain to keep from forcing the ink further into the fibers as it dissolves. Here are some step-by-step instructions:… Read More

Wax Stains

January 6, 2009

Q. We have a red tablecloth with a wax stain. We think it is cotton. How can we remove the stain? A. These removal tips are a little tricky and do not always completely remove the problem. Remove as much of the hardened wax as possible by scraping with… Read More

Ink Stains

December 9, 2008

Q. I had just finished making a beautiful quilt, cotton, not white, when I got ink on it. Can you tell me how to remove it? A. I envy people who can create those beautiful quilts — but you definitely have a challenge in getting rid of the ink. You… Read More

Removing Permanent Marker from Fabric: Your Questions

August 28, 2008

Q: I have a new pair of shorts for golfing. First day out I purchased a permanent marker for marking my golf ball and didn’t put the lid on tight. Now I have turquoise permanent ink all over the pocket of the shorts. Is there an easy way… Read More

Your Questions: Removing Permanent Marker from Whites

July 22, 2008

Q: In 1965 I was given a white cotton twill apron from the “A&P Tea Co.” meat department. I put my name across the apron with a permanent magic marker. I am trying to remove the name. I put the apron in a bucket and covered it with… Read More

Your Questions: Polyurethane Stains

June 27, 2007

I received the following question from a reader—check it out if you’ve had a similar problem.Q: I SAT ON A BENCH AT A FAVORITE RESTAURANT WEARING WHITE SLACKS. WHEN I GOT UP, I SORT OF STUCK TO THE BENCH. WHEN I WENT TO WASH THE SLACKS, THERE WAS… Read More

Your Questions: Crayon Stains

March 14, 2007

Q: My 8yr old daughter left a blue crayon in her pants and before I found it. The whole load had gone through the dryer, now I have blue spots on everything in that load (colored clothes). Is there anything that would remove the stains?A: OUCH! I hate… Read More

Play-Doh®: How to Remove it from Clothing? Your Questions

February 3, 2007

I received the following question from a reader recently on Play-Doh®. Check out my response for some tips in removing it from clothing.“My 11-year-old daughter got a new shirt for Christmas from her grandma and somehow got red Playdough ground into the front of it. Is there a special way… Read More

Stain of the Season – Candle Wax

December 28, 2006

What would the holidays be without candles? They seem like a natural way to brighten your home and set that special mood during the holidays. Whether scented or fragrance-free, candles add that special touch to the table centerpiece or mantel. Amid all the hustle and bustle, it can be easy… Read More