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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Removing Pet Stains

By Dr. Laundry March 19, 2009

Q. We recently had to pet sit a cat for a family member. A few weeks after that, we discovered the cat had used a goose down comforter as its main place to relieve itself. 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 tsp. Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 in 1/4 cup water; apply a drop on a hidden area like an 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 would likely occur if you proceed with the liquid bleach usage.

Want to proceed? I would do a quick liquid bleach soak (1/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 in a gallon of cool water for 5 minutes), then wash immediately in hot water using detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach1. 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 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. Again, check for success before drying. Especially here, it might require multiple treatments to get the desired result.