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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Cleaning White Spandex

By Dr. Laundry August 19, 2011

Q:  I have a white spandex camisole that’s gotten dingy over the months, how do I wash it? Should I bleach it? Every time I try washing it, it stays just as dingy as when I put it in the washer.

A:  White items with spandex are great to wear, but such a pain to take care of—you can’t wash them with Clorox® Regular-Bleach because it’s not safe for that fiber type.  You should also avoid bleaching wool, silk, leather and mohair.  To improve the appearance of your camisole, you could try soaking it in powdered Clorox2 Stain Remover and Color Booster.  Dissolve 1 scoop powder in 2 gallons of very hot water; fully submerge the shirt in the soaking solution overnight.  Next, run it through a regular wash cycle with detergent plus Clorox2®.

Something else to consider is what you can do on an ongoing basis to keep those non-bleachable whites as white as they can be:


  • Always wash white items that can’t be bleached with light colors, or by themselves. 

  • Use a good detergent—one that includes enzymes and brighteners will give you the best results.

  • Add Clorox2® to every load—its formula includes color-safe peroxide bleach that improves detergent performance.

  • Always wash in the hottest water recommended on the care label—the hotter the water, the better the cleaning.

  • Check your “warm” water temperature—depending on how far away from your water heater your clothes washer is, you may need to select a “hot” cycle just to wash with “warm” water!


Readers – how do you go about cleaning your white spandex camisoles?