Your Questions: Removing Old Stains

Advice from Dr. Laundry
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 tsp 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