Red Wine Stains on Light Blue Shirt: Your Questions

Advice from Dr. Laundry
Q.

My husband spilled red wine down the front of a pastel blue golf shirt. Unfortunately we didn’t pretreat the stain. The wine stain stayed there for a few hours. Later we tried to pretreat the stain and wash it, but it didn’t work. The stain was still noticeable. My sister said to use bleach, but I am afraid the stain part will turn white. Do you have any suggestions? This is my husband’s favorite shirt. Help!

A.

Your instincts were right; pretreat the stain ASAP, especially with red wine. Next time, try some club soda poured from the back of the stain and absorbed onto a towel. This keeps the stain from being driven into the fabric and helps “bubble” it off the shirt.

A lot of colors can be safely bleached. You want to be sure do the simple Bleachability Test on the colored shirt in a hidden part of the item (2 tsp Clorox® Regular-Bleach₂ with CLOROMAX® in 1/4 cup water; apply a drop on a hidden color section 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).

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