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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Dirt Stained Soccer Uniform

By Dr. Laundry December 2, 2011

Q:  My son’s white 100 percent polyester soccer uniform is dirt-stained.  How can I safely bleach it?

A:  I have good news for you: polyester fibers can be safely bleached with Clorox® Regular-Bleach.  Chances are the shirt also has a player number and maybe even a name.  If those components are screen prints, then they should also be bleachable.  If they are sewn on, then as long as the shirt’s care label says “100 % polyester” and not “100% polyester exclusive of trim” then the shirt should still be bleachable and you can proceed as follows:


  • Start by rinsing away loose soil and ground-in dirt. 

  • If the shirt is really dirty, then you could use a bleach soaking solution to really jump start cleaning.  For this, use ¼ cup bleach per gallon of water and fully submerge the shirt for 5 minutes. 

  • Drain the soaking solution and then wash the shirt in the hottest water recommended on the care label using detergent + ¾ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach

  • If you have localized dirt stains, you could skip the bleach soak and instead pretreat the stains directly using Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel—rub a little of the gel into the stains and then immediately wash the shirt using detergent + ¾ bleach. 


Whatever you do, though, never apply bleach full strength to the shirt or any fabric!