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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Red Ink Stain

By Dr. Laundry July 7, 2009

Q. Red ink from a red label spread onto an off-white sweater. Do you have any ideas how to make the sweater off-white again?

A. This may depend on whether you have dried the item and the fiber composition of the sweater.

I would like to find out if the sweater can safely be bleached. I recommend consumers do the quick Bleachability Test (2 tsp. Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 in 1/4 cup water; apply a drop on a hidden colored area like inside seam, hemline or cuff; wait 1 minute and then blot with towel). No color change means it is safe to use bleach on the item. Any color change could also show you the amount of change in color that likely will occur if you proceed with the liquid bleach usage.

Want to proceed? I would do a quick liquid bleach soak (1/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 in gallon of cool water for 5 minutes) then wash immediately in the warmest water recommended on the care label using detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach1.