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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Removing Body Soil with Bleach

By Dr. Laundry November 24, 2009

Q. I am trying to find out if the color-safe bleach removes body soil like the regular bleach is supposed to do.

A. I’ve done a lot of research on body soil removal, and can tell you nothing cleans it better than detergent and Clorox® Regular-Bleach1. While the Clorox 2® Stain Remover & Color Booster does have some benefits, it pales in comparison to Clorox Bleach.

If this is on poly/cotton, I do find that a lot of colored items can be bleached. To find out whether these items 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 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. 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 hottest water recommended on the care label using detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach1. It might require multiple treatments to get the desired result.

If you can’t bleach them, then washing in the hottest water recommended on the care labels using detergent and an oxygen bleach like our Clorox 2® Stain Remover & Color Booster (or even a short 1/2 hour presoak in the oxygen bleach before the wash) is your best bet. Don’t skimp on the detergent and consider using a powdered one as they have extra ingredients which can boost cleaning (make sure it’s all dissolved before adding the clothes to prevent residue later, though).