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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Compression Shirt

By Dr. Laundry January 27, 2011

Q. Is it safe to have used Clorox® with my compression shirt?

A. I wish I had better news for you. I checked out compression shirts this morning at my local sports outlet, and confirmed that they are made with spandex in addition to the polyester. It’s the spandex that gives the shirt such excellent stretch and recovery properties, but the chemical structure of spandex is easily damaged by sodium hypochlorite. If it hasn’t already happened right away after being washed with bleach, in time the shirt will yellow (if it is white), lose its form-fitting properties and stretch out of shape. So no, you do not want to use Clorox® Regular-Bleach to wash this type of shirt.

But how should you wash them? The care label on the shirts I looked at (inside the side seam near the hem) had some fairly restrictive washing requirements, including cold water wash and do not bleach. If you have found that detergent alone in cold water hasn’t been enough to get these shirts clean, then try adding liquid Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster. Instead of sodium hypochlorite, it contains a hydrogen peroxide that is actually safe for spandex.