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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Stains on Shirts: Your Questions

By Dr. Laundry September 3, 2008

Q: How do I remove a stain on a shirt that was put in the dryer and is quite faint, but my husband noticed it and wont wear it now? Help!



A: I am not quite sure what the original stain was, what the shirt color and composition are and what if any extra treatments you had done to remove the original stain.


You are right to note that after drying this may have “set” the stain especially if it was greasy/oily which makes it much more difficult to remove.


A couple of guesses:

  • If it is residual grease/oil, then pretreating with liquid detergent or stain remover (apply; rub in; wait 3-5 minutes; then wash in hottest water recommended on care label) might to the trick.

  • If it is residual colored portion of a stain, just do the simple Bleachability Test on any colored portion in a hidden part of the shirt (2 tsp liquid Clorox® Regular- Bleach in 1/4 cup water; apply a drop on a hidden color section 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)

  • If you have our Clorox® BleachPen™Gel, apply the product, use the scrubber end to rub the product into the stain; wait 3-5 minutes then wash in the hottest water recommended on the care label with detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular- Bleach

  • If the colors are not bleachable, then I would pretreat the spots with Liquid Clorox2® for Colors Color Safe Bleach (Apply; rub in; wait 5 minutes; then wash immediately with detergent and recommended amount of Liquid Clorox2® for Colors Color Safe Bleach
    Check for success and retreat if needed BEFORE drying again.