Your Questions: Dishwashing Stains and How to Remove Them

Advice from Dr. Laundry
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.