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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

How can I remove stains from a colored sports jersey?

By Dr. Laundry August 1, 2012

What is the best way to remove stains from a colored football jersey?

It is almost football season and this is a very common problem thanks to two-a-days and preseason games! Treatment really depends on the fiber composition. Dyed cottons are much more prone to bleeding/dye transfer and should always be washed separately according to the garment’s care label (usually in cool water). This makes it much more difficult to get really clean, however. So, scanning items for stains/spots and pretreating before washing is a must for any colored item. For colored synthetics (polyester/nylon), you usually have more flexibility as the dyes are more “permanent” and can take more aggressive treatment and washing. Use the warmest wash recommended on the care label (the hotter the water the better the cleaning/stain removal), the recommended amount of detergent and consider adding the appropriate bleach. A lot of these items can be bleached. To find out which items can safely be bleached, I recommend consumers do the quick Bleachability Test (2 tsp Clorox® Regular-Bleach 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. If you can’t bleach the items, wash in the hottest water recommended on the care labels using detergent and an oxygen bleach like our Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster, or even a short 1/2 hour presoak in the oxygen bleach before the wash. Check for success before drying. It might require multiple treatments to get the desired result.