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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Miracle-Gro Stain

By Dr. Laundry July 20, 2010

Hello,

I have been working on a shirt that has Miracle-Gro Fertilizer on it (the blue stuff). Have used color-safe bleach on it and soaked it for weeks. Have not put the shirt in the dryer. Help!!!

Thank you,
Cindy

Hi Cindy,

This is a great question. It is really good you haven’t dried the shirt in a dryer yet; you have a much better chance at getting the stain out. There are a couple of issues at play here that are making the stain difficult to get out. In addition to a small amount of blue dye, Miracle-Gro includes trace metals in the formula (copper, zinc, iron, manganese, molybdenum) that help plants grow but also may interact negatively with oxidizers like bleach. So, your color safe bleach soak has likely decolorized any blue dye, but may not have removed the metals, and so you still see a stain. The good news is the metals are hopefully not permanently bound to the fibers. Try using a liquid detergent to pretreat the stain by applying the detergent directly to the stain, rubbing it in, letting it sit for 5 minutes and then rinsing it with the hottest water allowable for the shirt (check the care label). Allow the shirt to air dry and check for success. Several treatments may be necessary, and the hotter the rinse water the better. Let me know how it goes!