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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Removing Candy From Clothing

By Dr. Laundry February 25, 2010

Q. I have just discovered that a red tootsie roll went through a load of my children’s laundry. It was a load of whites and light-colored clothing. The load went through the washer and dryer. There are red dots of color all over everything. Is there anything that will treat that? Otherwise, the whole load is ruined!

A. I haven’t had this exact experience, but here’s what I would try:

  • Unfortunately, you dried the items and this may make the subsequent removal more difficult. The “red dots” all over should be melted candy, which might re-dissolve in hot water. Check the care labels, and try a soak in as hot water as possible (use detergent and let it sit for 1–3 hours; if done in washer, try turning agitation on every 20–30 minutes to encourage solution penetration and dot removal). Then, wash as usual in hot water with detergent. Check for success before drying, as it may require another treatment. To be on the safe side, you might try air-drying rather than dryer-drying to hopefully prevent further “damage.”

If this doesn’t remove it, after air-drying try pre-treating some of the bigger dots with liquid detergent or a stain/soil remover (apply, rub into dot, wait ~5 minutes), then wash in the hottest water recommended on the care label.