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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Your Questions: Dishwashing Stains and How to Remove Them

By Dr. Laundry May 30, 2008

Q: I have black stains on my dishtowels from pots and pans and have soaked and bleached them, but cannot get rid of the stains. Is there something I can add to the wash water that will remove these stains, other than bleach?

A: I’m not sure from your description what is the source or causing the black marks. They could be baked-on grease and oil or oxidized metal like streaks in the sink. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the bleach soak/wash would be effective against either type of stain. If they are old grease/oil stains, sometimes these can be removed by pre-treating with a good liquid detergent (rub into the spots; wait 5-10 minutes) then wash in hot water with detergent. If they are oxidized metal, that’s a lot tougher and I really don’t have any good suggestions. You might try soaking them in a good powdered detergent, but it is doubtful that this will solve your problem. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.