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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Treating a sweatshirt with an emblem

By Dr. Laundry January 16, 2013

I have a white hoodie with a school emblem on the front. The top of the front has yellowed and has some blue faded on it. How do I get it out without messing up the emblem? I’m afraid if I bleach that I will not be able to contain the area!

The Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel could be just the thing you need to remove a stain from one part of a white sweatshirt without negatively impacting a colored portion of the sweatshirt since it allows you to carefully control the application of the gel. Here are some important tips for working with the bleach pen specific to your situation to help you increase your chances of success:

1.  After applying the gel, the treated area should be rinsed and the garment washed immediately. DON’T let the gel sit on the fabric for a few minutes (like you might if you were pretreating with detergent) and definitely don’t let it dry out on the fabric–this will leave behind a yellow spot that is irreversible.

2.  Normally items treated with the bleach pen are washed immediately after treating with detergent and Clorox® Regular-Bleach–you don’t have to rinse them first. This helps unify the overall appearance of the item (otherwise you can end up with a very clean section where you used the gel compared to the rest of the item–this is especially common on older white items that have never been bleached). Since you are trying to preserve the school logo, you may want to rinse the treated area and then wash the sweatshirt with detergent and Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster instead.

Something else I wanted to point out is that if the logo is printed on the sweatshirt, there is a very good chance you actually can wash it with Clorox® Regular-Bleach after treating the stained area with the bleach pen. Normally I recommend a bleachability test before washing a colored item with bleach or the gel pen, but this would be difficult to test on your sweatshirt since a “fail” (color change due to bleach contact) would be permanent on the sweatshirt. Given that, you could try this if you are desperate or willing to live with the color change that could result. If the logo is embroidered on, the same thing applies–if the embroidery thread is polyester then it is very likely safe for bleach, but if it is cotton then it’s harder to predict. I have a twenty-five year old sorority sweatshirt with an embroidered logo that I have been bleaching forever–I took the chance on bleaching it when nothing else was going to work to get a stain out. Hopefully in your case the bleach pen on its own will be sufficient to remove the stain–if it’s not, only you can decide if following up using the bleach pen with a detergent and bleach wash is worth it.