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How Do You Get Stains Out of White Clothes With Black Logos?

By Dr. Laundry May 1, 2015

Q: I just watched your video on YouTube. I have a lot of white shirts with black logos on them. Mostly Vans shirts witch is 100% cotton. However my shirts are starting to look dingy and want then to look extra white not with a tint of yellow! Can you help me?

 

A: I’m glad you liked the videos!  They were a lot of fun to make.  You should be able to whiten your shirts quite a bit by washing with Clorox® Regular-Bleach if the logos are colorfast to bleach.  If the color is printed onto the fabric, then it is highly likely the shirts can be safely bleached.  If the logos are embroidered, then there’s still a good chance that you will be able to bleach them since polyester is commonly used for embroidery thread.  It would be great if you could test for colorfastness to bleach first; we have a quick and easy method for doing this.  Start by adding 1 + ½ teaspoons Clorox® Regular-Bleach to ¼ cup water and apply a drop of the solution to a hidden part of the logo (try the embroidery thread on the inside of the shirt where it won’t show on the outside).  Wait one minute, then blot dry.  No color change means the black logo is colorfast to bleach.

 

Assuming the shirts pass (or that the color is printed on and you decide to go for it) you can try the following.  Start by selecting the hot water cycle.  The hotter the water, the better the cleaning!  Next, be sure you are using the correct amount of detergent.  Underusing detergent lowers cleaning performance.  Also, if you have a high efficiency clothes washer, make sure you are using an “H-E” detergent so it works properly in a low water wash system.  Finally, use ½ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach for a regular-sized load with normal soil. 

 

There are a few options for how to add the bleach:

–Add it along with your favorite detergent as the washer is filling with water, before you put the laundry in.

–Dilute it with 1 quart of water and add it after the wash cycle has begun.  For best results we recommend waiting 5 minutes.

–If your clothes washer has a bleach dispenser, use it!

 

Not only will this help whiten your shirts right now, it will keep them whiter over time.  I hope this is helpful.  Let me know if you have any other questions, and thanks for writing.