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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Bleach Usage in HE Washers

By Dr. Laundry September 9, 2010

I purchased a HE washer and dryer last year. Not long after I bought them, I had two different colored loads that had bleach stains (or lack of color) as if the bleach had been held in the washer. It ruined a comforter. I only use a very small amount in my white loads, but I will tell you that I just found the HE symbol on some Clorox bottles yesterday. I don’t know if I had overlooked it before, but I didn’t realize that there was a HE Clorox bleach. Do you know what could have caused my problem? Ever since then, I do whites last and try to make whatever load I do next a load of towels or something that isn’t so detrimental if it gets bleached. I don’t think I should be having this worry. Any advice?

A. I don’t think you should have to worry about bleach carrying over from load to load, either! I have some questions for you to help me better understand the situation. Do you continue to see spotting in your colored loads now? What brand of front-loading clothes washer do you have, and are you able to use the recommended ¾ cup per load? As far as what could have caused the problem with the comforter, here are some thoughts.


  • The bleach dispenser possibly didn’t fully dispense bleach in the first load, so enough bleach carried over to the second load to damage the comforter. This might have happened if your machine is off-level. After washing bleach loads, check the dispenser to make sure it is empty; if necessary, rinse it before starting your next load.

  • The comforter could have brushed up against bleach that spilled near or on your washer. Big, bulky items like comforters are more likely to brush up against surfaces in your laundry room.

I also want to note, all Clorox® laundry products are compatible with HE clothes washers, and carry the HE symbol to help increase consumer awareness of this. In addition to cleaning your clothes having your last load be a Clorox® Regular-Bleach load is great for keeping your washer free of bacteria that would otherwise grow in the water left inside the inner workings of the washer at the end of the cycle. I do this with my HE washer, too!