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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Camisoles made with mixed materials

By Dr. Laundry October 31, 2008

Q. I have several white camisoles that are made of basic stretchy t-shirt cotton, with lace at the throat and for the straps. I washed them with Clorox® UltimateCare® Bleach in an all-white load. Now, the shirts are brilliantly white, but all the lace on every shirt turned a pale ice blue. How can I get the lace white again?

A. I wondered if these camisoles had been previously washed with liquid bleach (Clorox® UltimateCare® Bleach) or was this their first exposure to liquid bleach?

I’m suspecting that the camisole and the lace are 2 different materials (the body probably has a high Spandex® content while the lace may be nylon). Sometimes certain nylons contain a “brightener” to enhance their appearance. These brighteners are susceptible to change when the wash water has a higher pH, which Clorox® UltimateCare® Bleach usage can cause.

Unfortunately, this is not reversible as the chemical structure of the brightener has been changed during washing.