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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Red Dye Stain

By Dr. Laundry March 12, 2012

Q:  How do I remove a red dye stain from a book cover that left a spot on a priest’s linen surplus (vestment)?

A:  For starters, if the vestement is silk, then you cannot use Clorox® Regular-Bleach to wash it.  If the fiber is linen then you can wash it with detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach, but you should not use Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel to spot treat the red stain (the pen is not recommended for use on linen fabric).  It’s tricky with linen because it is a fiber, but many people commonly refer to woven cotton items as “linens” too.  So I want to make sure we are talking about the same thing.  If the vestement is made from cotton then you could spot treat the stain with Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel by rubbing a little directly into the stain and then washing the entire item in the warmest water recommended by the manufacturer using detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach.  Allow the vestement to air dry to prevent heat setting any remaining red color that wasn’t removed; although I doubt the care instructions recommend tumble drying to avoid shrinkage.  If the bleach treatment doesn’t work, then you could also try RIT® Color Remover, which can be found at drug and hardware stores.  Just be sure to follow the package instructions