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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Your Questions: Removing Old Stains

By Dr. Laundry April 25, 2008

Q: I have a christening gown with a yellowish stain around the collar. It has been in a box for years. I need to clean it for the next generation to wear in June. Please help!

A: You didn’t give me much detailed information (e.g., the color of the item, what you might have tried, etc). I’m assuming it is white.

I suggest you at least wash it in the hottest wash recommended for the item. You may want to consider a quick bleach soak if appropriate for the item/color. (1/4 cup bleach in gallon of cool water for 5-10 minutes) prior to that hot water wash with detergent and liquid Clorox bleach. Do the quick Bleachability Test (2 tspn liquid bleach in 1/4 cup water; apply a drop on a hidden 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.) A few other bleach options:

  • Try the Clorox BleachPen Gel on the yellow spots. Apply using the scrubber tip; then wash in hot water with detergent and Clorox bleach

  • Try the Clorox UltimateCare bleach which is safe enough to pour directly onto the yellowed stain; rub in and then wash in hot water with detergent and Clorox bleach