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Laundering Micro-Cotton with Bleach

Advice from Dr. Laundry

We just bought new white towels from the “Biltmore for your Home” line at Belk. They are the Micro Cotton style. The care label says do not bleach. Can they be bleached anyway?


You can absolutely bleach your white Micro Cotton towels with Clorox® Regular Bleach2. I checked out the towels at the store, and it was impressive to see a whole wall of towels in a rainbow of colors (plus the white ones) all labeled “do not bleach.” This is likely a way for the towel manufacturer to save money by using the same conservative care label on all of the towels in their product line, regardless of the towel’s colorfastness to either chlorine or oxygen bleach. It’s too bad; this “low-labeling” practice doesn’t provide consumers with readily accessible accurate information to help them care for their textiles, the whole purpose of care labels. Anytime you have an item you aren’t sure can be safely bleached, you should do a quick bleachability test: add 2 tsp liquid Clorox® Regular Bleach2 to 1/4 cup water; apply a drop on a hidden section area like inside seam, hemline or cuff; wait 1 minute and then blot dry. No color change means it is safe to use bleach on the item. I hope this helps and let me know if you have any further questions.