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Can You Bleach White Cotton Towels That Say Do Not Bleach?

white towels

Find out whether or not you can bleach white shirts, 100% cotton white towels, and other clothes and fabrics that say Do Not Bleach on the label.

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I just bought new white towels that are a Micro Cotton style. The care label says do not bleach. Can they be bleached anyway?


You should absolutely be able to wash your towels with Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach and we’ve got great tips for using bleach to help you if you aren’t sure how. If a brand of 100% cotton towels say “Do Not Bleach” for every color, even white, it is likely a way for the towel manufacturer to save money by using the same conservative care label on all of the towels in the 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!

Remember, anytime you have an item that you aren’t sure can be safely bleached, you can do a quick colorfastness test: add 2 teaspoons of Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach to ¼ cup water; apply a drop on a hidden section area like inside seam, hemline or cuff; wait 1 minute then rinse and blot dry. No color change means it is safe to use bleach on the item.