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Why Did Color-Safe Bleach Turn My White Shirt Blue?

Did your shirt end up with a blue bleach stain? Find out why certain types of bleach can leave a blue stain on clothes if applied directly and left on too long.

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We used Clorox 2® to get pizza sauce out of our daughter’s school uniform.  While it took out the stain, it left a blue stain. How do I get it out?


It sounds like liquid Clorox2® was applied directly to the stain (which is good for improved stain removal), but stayed on the fabric too long before being washed.  We typically recommend 3-5 minutes (depends on the type of stain and its severity) for pre-treating before washing an item.  This allows enough time for the surfactants and hydrogen peroxide to work in concentrated form, but not so much time that the colorant and brighteners permanently dye the area where the stain was treated. Additionally, the product should never be allowed to dry on the fabric, since the stain left behind (a combination of blue colorant and brighteners) is nearly impossible to remove.  There’s a chance you might be able to remove the blue colorant by soaking the uniform (if it’s white) in a solution of ¼ cup Clorox® Regular Bleach2 per gallon of water, for up to 5 minutes before thoroughly rinsing.  Any residual blue color left after this process, is concentrated brightener that reflects light off the fabric in the blue spectrum.  How successful you will be depends on how long the liquid Clorox2® was originally on the fabric.

If the uniform is colored, you still might be able to safely bleach it.  To check, add 2 teaspoons Clorox® Regular Bleach2 to ¼ cup water and apply a drop of this solution to a hidden part of the garment; wait 1 minute then blot dry. No color change means the item can be safely bleached.  If it passes, then you can try soaking the uniform as described above.

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