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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Removing Pet Stains

By Dr. Laundry December 9, 2010

Q. We recently had to pet-sit a cat for a family member. A few weeks later, we discovered the cat had used our guest bedroom’s goose down comforter as a litter box! What would you recommend for cleaning? Treat the individual spots (there are four or five, over a foot wide), or just wash the entire load with bleach?

A. Don’t you love it when a good deed goes bad…To effectively remove the multiple cat “spots,” I would recommend a thorough whole-item wash.

Since you weren’t specific about the comforter, I would like to find out if these items can safely be bleached. I recommend consumers do the quick Bleachability Test: 2 tspn Clorox® Regular-Bleach 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. 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. You can see a demo on my blog (http://www.drlaundryblog.com) in the video Laundry 101.

Want to proceed? Do a quick liquid bleach soak (1/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach in gallon of cool water for 5 minutes), then wash immediately in the hottest water recommended on the item’s care label using detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach. Check before drying to insure complete removal. It might require multiple treatments to get the desired result.

If you can’t bleach the comforter, then try several washes in the hottest water recommended on the care label 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. Again, check for success before drying. Especially here, it might require multiple treatments to get the desired result.