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I have a special needs friend that has poop stains in his clothes. Can you help?

By Dr. Laundry April 12, 2016

Q: I have a special needs friend that has poop stains in his clothes. A: It’s nice of you to be helping out your friend!  You didn’t say whether his items are white or colored—it’s easiest if they are bleachable whites, but I’m guessing some items with color may be affected, too.  So a good place to start is to check any items with color for colorfastness to bleach, because some colored items are actually bleach-fast!  It all depends on the dye used and how it was applied, and you can’t tell just by looking, so we have a quick test to check:  
  1. Add 1 + ½ teaspoons Clorox® Regular- Bleach to 1/4 cup water.
  2. Apply a drop on a hidden section area like inside seam, hemline or cuff.
  3. Wait 1 minute and then rinse and blot dry; no color change means the item can be safely bleached.
  He’ll probably have a mix of items that pass the bleach test and some that don’t, which means he’ll need to do more than one load.  Let’s start with bleach safe fabrics (always avoid bleaching wool, silk, mohair, leather, and spandex) and colors (anything that passed the bleach test).   First, be sure to rinse away excess solids with a little cool water.  Heavy stains on white bleachable items can be pretreated with Clorox Bleach Pen Gel before washing.  Just apply a little gel directly to the stains and gently rub in with the soft scrubber tip on the pen.  Immediately wash the load in the hottest water recommended on the care label using detergent + ½ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach.  Air dry and check for success—lighter stains should come out but super heavy stains or items that require cooler wash temperatures may need a second treatment.   For colored items (or white items with spandex), you can pretreat the stains with a good liquid laundry detergent that contains an enzyme.  Begin by rinsing away any excess solids, and then apply the product directly to the stains and wait 5-10 minutes (but don’t let it dry on the fabric).  Wash in the hottest water recommended on the care label with detergent + Clorox2® Stain Fighter and Color Booster.  Air dry and check for success—repeat the treatment if needed.   One other thing to consider is the washer.  It would be a good idea, especially if he has a lot of items affected, to run a clean out cycle with bleach in an empty washer when he is finished. To do this, select the “hot” water temperature, select an extra rinse cycle if possible, add ½ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach to the bleach dispenser or washer drum.  Start the washer (remember it should be empty) and let the cycle run to completion.  If no “extra rinse” option is available, then do this manually by advancing the washer control and restarting the washer after the first cycle is complete.  I hope this information is helpful!  Please let me know how it goes for your friend, and feel free to let me know if you or he has any other questions. Thanks for writing!   –Dr. Laundry