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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Your Questions: Bleach Stains on Khakis

By Dr. Laundry July 15, 2008

Q: I sprayed two light khaki pants with Clorox Stain Out. They faded in the area that I pretreated. It also got onto other fabrics in the wash and it looks as though I put Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 on them. What can be done about this? These were very expensive pants. Thank you for any advice.

A: This is quite baffling. The fading you describe usually is caused by bleach contact and Stain Out does NOT contain any bleach. I have also seen this when Clorox 2® Stain Remover & Color Booster is left on the item and dries. This is the result of the brightening agent which helps make the item look brighter, is “set” in that spot. Again, Stain Out does NOT contain a brightening agent. It has surfactants to solubilize the stains but nothing that should cause lighter colored spots.

I would try wetting and retreating the area with liquid detergent then rewashing. If it is surfactants, they would be resolubilized and removed. Also check the Stain Out bottle to be sure nothing has been added and consider not using it again.