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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Removing Green Hue from Clothing

By Dr. Laundry June 4, 2009

Q. I have a new front load washer — I have been following all instructions but have noticed some of my whites and some lightly colored items coming out with a green hue. Can you help me?

A. Your green hue description is really unusual. If there was a potential problem, it would be most visible on the whites and light colors. The color may be the result of a water quality issue: copper or other dissolved metals can create this color if you have well water. If you have a water softener system, check if it needs to be recharged. It’s also possible that these metals could be reacting with liquid bleach.

Your best chance for removal of the green spots is probably using a rust remover product. Summit Instant Rust Out™ and Whink Rust Remover™ are two such products. These can usually be found in Home Depot/Lowes or hardware stores. A word of caution: ALWAYS read the label directions and pretest the products as they should only be used on whites/colorfast colors (check on hidden color area before using).

As mentioned, you might consider a good water softening/treatment system since this problem could also manifest itself in other cleaning areas. Until this is corrected, I would consider refraining from liquid bleach usage to see if the problem is not seen again. This would tend to confirm the best guess regarding the bleach. If the problem continues, then we need to do some more detective work.