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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Fade Spots from Clorox2®

By Dr. Laundry May 12, 2011

Q:  I used Clorox2® Stain Fighter & Color Booster on a light tan top of mine and it took the color out.  I use this product all the time and couldn’t understand what happened.

A:  I am glad you contacted us, and am also sorry to hear about the problem with your shirt.  I was wondering which Clorox2® product form you used, powder or liquid.  It would also help to know how you used it:  as a pre-treater, added to a gallon of water to pre-soak, added to the wash with your detergent, or a combination of these methods.  One last consideration is the type of washer.  Let us go through some possible scenarios with the liquid product:

•        If the product is applied directly to the fabric to pre-treat a stain, and left on the fabric too long, there can be some discoloration from the hydrogen peroxide in the formula or the concentrated application of fluorescent whiteners and dye.  We recommend washing the item 5-10 minutes after pre-treating, and never allowing the product to dry on the fabric.

•        If the product is used as a pre-soak, we recommend measuring to line 1 on the cap and adding it to 2 gallons of water.  A soaking solution made too strong could cause discoloration.  Also, we recommend soaking for up to 30 minutes for colored items, as soaking longer may also cause discoloration.

•        If you add the product through the wash and the entire shirt experienced overall fading, then it sounds like this is one of the few colored items that actually cannot be washed with any color-safe bleach product.  Check the care label; the label should specify “do not bleach” in writing or by symbol – a triangle with an X drawn through it.  If not, then the shirt was not properly tested and labeled.

With the powdered product, much of what is detailed above also applies; only adding that the recommended concentration for a pre-soak solution is 1 scoop filled to line 3, dissolved in 2 gallons of hot water.  It is important to make sure the powder has thoroughly dissolved when mixing up a pre-soaking solution, which is aided by increased water temperature.