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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Clorox2 proper use

By Dr. Laundry November 30, 2012

Clorox2® caused a blue stain on several of my family’s garments. How do I get this blue tinge out?

This sounds like the liquid Clorox2® was applied directly to stains on the garments (which is good for improved stain removal), but stayed on the fabric too long before being washed. We typically recommend allowing only 5 minutes of contact time (depends on the type of stain and its severity) for pre-treating before washing an item. This allows enough time for the surfactants and hydrogen peroxide a chance to work in concentrated form, but not so much time that the colorant and brighteners permanently dye the area where the stain was treated. The product should never be allowed to dry on the fabric since the stain left behind (a combination of blue colorant and brighteners) is nearly impossible to remove.

There’s a chance you might be able to remove the blue colorant by soaking the garments (if they are white and bleachable–avoid bleaching wool, silk, mohair, leather, and spandex) in a solution of ¼ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach per gallon of water for up to 5 minutes before thoroughly rinsing. Any residual blue color left after this is actually concentrated brightener that reflects light off the fabric in the blue spectrum. How successful you will be depends on how long the liquid Clorox2® was on the fabric in the first place. I hope this helps–unfortunately it is very difficult to remove blue stains from prolonged contact, and I’m sorry I don’t have more encouraging advice.