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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Your Questions: Amount of Bleach in Laundry

By Dr. Laundry July 1, 2008

Q: My wife has been unable to do the wash for a long time. A friend suggested that I use bleach to wash a pair of her white slacks that has many stains. But how much? Should I soak them first, or can I just add some to the wash machine and how much? The washer is a Calypso Whirpool.

A: I could probably help you more if you had provided the fiber type of the slacks and the types of stains. This would allow me to be sure you should be soaking (e.g., 5-10% Spandex should not be soaked, but cotton and poly/cotton are OK) and whether bleach would work on the stains (great for drink and colored stains, but would use liquid detergent on greasy/oily stain, for instance).

The presoak directions are: 1/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach in gallon of warm water for 5-10 minutes to be done before laundering in the laundry tub; drain and then, launder in hot water using detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach. Your couple of glugs was probably a little aggressive for a couple of inches of water. The Calypso should have a bleach dispenser that you can use to add the Clorox® Regular-Bleach; fill to the line or use the 3/4 cup recommendation.

Here are some general tips:


  • Don’t forget to sort by whites and colors

  • Check the garment label for laundering instructions

  • Don’t be shy about pretreating and presoaking to jumpstart your stain removal

  • Use the recommended amount of product

  • Check for success after you wash and BEFORE you dry it – you may need to repeat the treatment

  • Separate lint attractors and spreaders when drying


It’s never too late to learn the laundry game. Use my blog for understanding the basics and even specific issues.