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How to Get Bleach Stains Out of Clothes

Seeing mystery spots on your clothes and fabrics after washing them? Find out what could be causing random bleach stains on your clothing, towels, and fabrics.

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Question

For the last few years, we have had problems with spots on our clothing and towels. It’s like the fabric has been faded or bleached out in random spots on the towels and the collar area on t-shirts. It has also happened on our sheets. This happens with dark colored fabrics only. I use Clorox 2® For Colors with the ALL clean & clear detergent.

I can’t figure out what is causing it. Just recently I had a dark brown towel develop spots of almost a reddish color on them. Do you think it’s a combination of the detergents, or maybe there is something wrong with the washer? I wash everything in warm water. This has been going on for at least 5 years and I can’t figure it out.

Answer

What you describe sounds like discoloration you would get if the dark items were accidentally exposed to regular bleach. While I see that you use Clorox 2® For Colors 3-in-1 Liquid in your dark loads, do you also use Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach in your white loads?

It’s unlikely that either the detergent or Clorox 2® is the reason for your problem. Instead, it sounds like when you use Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach it is somehow carrying over from one load to the next.

The most likely cause is the liquid bleach dispenser on your clothes washer. It may not be properly dispensing the bleach at the correct time in the cycle, or failing to flush the compartment completely, so bleach carries over to the next cycle. Check out our tips to help avoid leftover bleach residue so you can avoid the problem in the future.

Unfortunately, discoloration caused by accidental exposure to regular bleach is permanent, but there are a few things you can try to help keep the items usable. For any black items with light spots try coloring them in with a black permanent marker. For other colors, you can try to match a marker, or you get creative and use these items for bleach craft projects. Try reverse tie dye with bleach to hide any spots on sheets and bedding. Or make bleach art on clothes that hides the discoloration. A little creativity goes a long way here, and can turn an accident into something intentional.

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