Preventing Bleach Stains on Clothing

Finding mysterious bleach spots on your laundry, even when no bleach was used is frustrating. This is a guide about preventing bleach stains on clothing.

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It's been quite a while since I've posted here, so I'm back for more of your good advice. This isn't the first time I've had this problem and I gotta tell you I'm getting tired of ruining my clothes. This time I have a brand new GE stackable washer/dryer combo, but it happened on my past Kenmore also. I do a load of whites with a little pre-diluted (1:3) Chlorox liquid bleach, but any brand will do it. The next load after that is colored and I specifically wipe off all areas where previous bleach was poured in.

Results of this load: Tiny bleach spots, but not on every item in the tub, just 1 or 2. It's making me wish I drank again! Anyway, this 70 year old bachelor is fuming. I'm sure it's me doing something wrong. I hope I'm not told to do an empty load after the whites to remove any bleach remnants. Can anyone help? Thanks in advance.

bleach spots
    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    Since your washer is "brand new", you should take your problem back to the seller for an explanation.

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    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    I keep getting bleach stains on all of my clothes, I no longer use bleach and have washed the washing machine. Please Help?

    Emma from Tas, Australia

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    The same thing has been happening to me, I've tried everything that all of the postings suggest. Spoke directly to Whrlpool and they had no idea what could be causing it either. I'm glad I'm not the only one who is going crazy over this. I also have many friends who have this problem. We don't use acne products. My husband uses topical medication but the stains are usually on MY towels that he doesn't use! The only other thing we have thought is bad dye lots in some clothes but even that doesn't make sense. Somebody help!

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    Can someone help a dumb bachelor? I only use bleach when doing whites in a separate load. I notice periodically a small white bleach stain on an item in later loads of shirts and pants. This obviously ruins the item, and is driving me crazy. This has been happening for years, which leads me to believe I'm doing something wrong. And I don't think it's just me, because I'm starting to notice it on others clothes as well. Can someone help. Thanks.

    Larry from Clearwater, FL

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    I get this bleaching too, mostly around the necks of shirts, and I use a sunscreen-lotion on my face. But I also get it elsewhere (like the legs of underwear), and I rarely use _anything_ but the mildest, most natural, non-allergenic lotions or plain oils, like Jojoba and almond. My BF uses the same face lotion sometimes, but his occasional bleaching spreads evenly down his shoulders. I use maybe a liter of bleach in a couple years.

    Cyinda - I used to live in Olympia! I used a few drops of Tea Tree Oil in every load to fight the allergens like dust mites and mold, and the dryer is hot enough to kill anything else! (And hydrogen peroxide works very well on stains on whites - haven't tried it with colors.) I _hate_ to endorse brands, but that Tide pen works wonders on almost all stains (even took the yellow off small a blood stain after that H2O2).

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    I live in a dorm at school, none of the kids are supposed to use bleach, but of course they do. I've been the lucky person to put clothes in after they are done and have had 3 very nice shirts with bleach stains. How can i prevent this? I don't have the time/money to run just a load before I put my clothes in. Any suggestions?

    Kevin from Philly, PA

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    ok, I have had 3 of my favorite black shirts get bleach spots on them. What should I do?

    p.s. I'm 15, so gimmie a solution that will make sense to a teen :)

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    I have a new light blue sleeveless t-shirt. I pulled it out of the wash and now has white dots and white streak on it. It seems nothing is taking it out. What is this? How did it happen? Can I do anything to fix it? Thank you.

    By flower51

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    Just Googled and two answers on other threads are the chlorine from the water is doing it so use hot water not cold on darks and dilute detergent before washing Don't pour right onto clothes. I'm going to try those...grrr

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    My daughter has a problem with her laundry. She randomly gets bleach stains on her wash. She has stopped using any bleach and fabric softener and it still happens. Does anyone have any ideas what might cause it. It doesn't seem that the machine would hold bleach for months. Very strange.

    Thanks for your help,
    Sally from South Berwick, ME

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    I was having the same probelm. I would get bleached marks around the collars and sometimes sleeves of my shirts, and around the edge of my towels. I finally narrowed it down to the Clearasil that I was using.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    i need help. Every once in a while (more lately) when I do a colored load of wash clothes will come out with what looks to be a bleach stain on them. I have already lost a few shirts and some nice pants and I cant figure out whats doing it. I very rarely use bleach and I know I didnt spill it. I seperate the clothes and follow the lables. I am sick of losing nice clothes. It will only happen to one or two things a load and not every time I do wash. Anyone have any ideas what it could be?? Thanks for the help,

    Missy in PA

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    Thanks everyone for the good hints. I found that I was getting white stains or residue on clothes from the detergent even when I use liquid detergent and diluted it in a jug of water and poured it on the clothes before starting the washer. Using only cold water might be the culprit, although I diluted detergent in hot or warm water first. So annoying to find when hanging clothes on the line and I had to rewash them.

    Sometimes I didn't notice the marks until they were dry as I mostly hang them inside out (to avoid fading) and discovered this when putting them away. A little rubbing removed some, but not all. NOW, thank goodness, I have discovered that if I put the undiluted detergent in a large spare plastic cap from a bottle of detergent or softener and place it on top of the clothes close to where the water fills from and turn on the washer, it dissolves the liquid and I rarely get residue stains on clothes. Original we had a plastic ball with an opening until it broke up, and now we just use any large cap that has no sharp edges to harm clothes when agitating.

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    My daughter has a problem with her laundry. She randomly gets

    bleach stains on her wash. She has stopped using any bleach and

    fabric softener and it still happens. Does anyone have any ideas

    what might cause it? It doesn't seem that the machine would hold

    bleach for months. Very strange.

    Thanks for your help,
    Sally from South Berwick, ME


    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    Had this trouble with several of my face cloths. Dark colors

    ended up with light blotches on them. Turns out it was from skin

    cream with a hydrogen peroxide type of chemical in it. Put the

    facecloth in the hamper once and apparently it even transferred

    onto a blouse as it ended up with a lighter blotch on it, too.

    (03/20/2006)

    By Tracy

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    Is she cleaning with anything containing bleach? One time I

    cleaned my stove with Soft Scrub and it had bleach in it, and

    when I threw it in with my clothes it bleached them.

    A lot of items have chemicals in them that can bleach clothing,

    maybe she can watch what chemicals she uses (if any) and pin-

    point the problem.

    Good luck! (03/21/2006)

    By <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com//profile/index.lasso?

    profile=thr721229">katieandjeffy

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    My daughter had this problem (still does). I figure it's the

    face creams or perfumes she uses. The stains are mostly up

    around the neck area on shirts, and on pillow cases, and the

    tops of her sheets. (03/21/2006)

    By <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com//profile/index.lasso?

    profile=thr523346">marinewife5

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    Occasionally this has happened to me. I have found that this

    blotching can occur when laundry soap goes directly on the

    clothing versus putting the water and soap in before any

    clothing. Also, some detergents have a "whitener" in them that

    can cause blotches when put directly on the clothing.

    (03/22/2006)

    By Sheri

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    This sometimes happens with my daughter's tees, I'm beginning to

    think it could be from one of her many hair styling products.

    (03/22/2006)

    By yankeesgryl

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    I am the daughter! So I stopped using fabric softener and

    switched to All Free, no dyes or perfumes. Also I started

    wearing gloves when I clean. I am happy to report that no stains

    for 3 months or more! (04/03/2007)

    By

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    I heard from my neighbor the other day that some newer washers

    that have a dispenser for the bleach. Some of them do not

    completely empty out so they can be dripping bleach onto the

    next loads. If you use a bleach dispenser or have this type of

    washer, it's a possibility. Run only water through your bleach

    dispenser for a load or two and see if it makes a difference.

    (06/10/2007)

    By <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com//profile/index.lasso?

    profile=ver1000140">ThriftyFun

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    So I only use All Free and Clear, no fabric softener and I clean

    in one outfit. I am happy to report that almost 6 months have

    gone by and no more random bleach stains, Woo hoo! (07/23/2007)

    By Barbara

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    We too had the same mystery. Finally I realized it was not only

    our son's acne wash, but also the Scrubbie Bubbles used to clean

    tubs and our jacuzzi. Now I leave a special laundry container

    for these items and the problem has gone bye bye! (12/11/2007)

    By Mary

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    I have this very same problem. It's sending me mad. It started

    first with our towels, my husband and I had nice brown towels,

    and they all started to get random orangey bleach marks. Then,

    it was the hand towels, face towels and even my pillowcase and

    the top of my sheets. I have since noticed some spots on our

    carpet in our bedroom (in front of our mirror) and on some of

    our clothing. I went and stayed at my mum's house one night and

    she rang me up the next day to tell me that I had bleached her

    towels too!

    Having read what everyone has posted, I am convinced it has

    something to do with me using Clearasil cream and/or a few face

    washes. I thought maybe it was Johnson's Holiday skin, but other

    people I know use it and they don't have any problems. I too

    don't use bleach products around the house and hadn't really

    started using any new products, except for Clearasil. I think

    this could be it for me. The Clearasil is going in the bin. It's

    wrecked too many of our nice towel sets. (02/18/2008)

    By Abby

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    I think it could also be from toothpaste. When you wipe your

    mouth of toothpaste on the towel and then it sits there until

    you clean the towel. (02/23/2008)

    By Melanie

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    Had the same exact problem and just figured out for sure what it

    is. The cleaning spray I use in my apartment has bleach in it.

    So, I could have been getting the spray directly on my clothes

    while cleaning and secondly (definitely more likely) is after I

    clean I throw the rag I used into the hamper with my clothes! As

    a test I just sprayed some of the cleaner onto an old black

    sock, sure enough, it was instantly covered with the orange

    stain. I feel like a complete idiot now, but at least I know how

    to put an end to this. (02/28/2008)

    By Jeff

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    I always use the same creams, detergents, etc., but my husband

    found a large bleach-like stain on my tan pillowcase the other

    morning. The only thing that has changed is that I had inpatient

    surgery and was medicated. That night I experienced night sweats

    partially due to a heating pad I was using. My thoughts were

    leaning more towards the ingredients in the body/shampoo wash

    that the hospital provided. (03/15/2008)

    By Jennifer

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    While having lunch with a coworker she mentioned that her

    dermatologist told her to keep the prescription face cream away

    from color clothes like towels and pillow cases. I have been

    having that problem the the towels in the girls' bathroom only.

    Now I know. There is Proactiv in there and prescription cream.

    (06/27/2008)

    By <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com//profile/index.lasso?

    profile=thr815886">nbruegirls

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    My goodness. Finally, after years of random, bleached out spots

    on towels. I Googled the problem, generally it is liquid soaps

    of any kind. I recently visited a friend's home and found the

    towel I had used the night before after washing my face was

    "bleached" out in spots. Since the towel wasn't washed in my

    home, we looked at what I had used. Simple liquid soap we all

    buy for the convenience and use in lieu of bar soap. To test our

    theory we put it on a new towel and washed it. Produced the

    white bleach spots. I have gotten rid of all liquid soaps and

    with them went the problem. (07/17/2008)

    By Rosemary

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    Same problem here! I'm almost positive my last episode of

    bleached towels came from my hand soap "Method" located in the

    bathroom. Don't wash your hands with that stuff and dry your

    hands on a nice towel. That's the only thing that it could be.

    (08/11/2008)

    By Ashley

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    So here it is, and I can say this with certainty:

    For years I have gotten those random bleach stains. After

    finding this post, I did some experiments. Here's the findings:

    Laundry Detergent: Yes, this can cause the stains. If you

    have a detergent with "color safe bleach" or a "whitener", be

    sure to shake the liquid before using, as you can get a

    concentration of the whitener in a cap of soap. You can also add

    the clothes AFTER you fill the washer with water and detergent,

    to dilute the soap issue. If you use powder detergent, I highly

    recommend the latter.

    Acne medication: Absolutely the highest risk, however I think

    there should be an addendum to this statement (mention it

    below): Almost all the acne cleansers that are "not" salicylic

    acid will cause the problem. Proactiv and Clean and Clear are

    notorious. The experiment I did to test the theory was as

    follows:

    I used Clean and Clear in the shower, then made certain (on

    an older towel) to dry my face only in one particular area of

    the towel. Sure enough, that area proved to have stains upon

    drying. To further test this, I asked a roommate to use his acne

    product under the same circumstances (area of towel), and the

    results, not surprisingly were the same (his Proactiv actually

    seemed to make the stains worse).

    Now, what about that addendum I mentioned earlier? Be wary of

    antibacterial agents in your soaps. Hand soaps with many

    antibacterial agents seem to cause the same result. Same

    experiment as above was done to come to this conclusion. My

    example comes, like a previous person mentioned, from the

    "Method" brand foaming hand soap from Target.

    I feel that the producers of these products should be held

    liable for the damages caused, as no warnings, written nor

    implied, are ever given.

    I hope this helps people avoid the problem. Do what you can

    in your own mode of living to accommodate these issues. In

    talking to my doctor, he actually said that the whole

    "antibacterial" agents in hand soap are a sham. Soap, in it's

    most basic form is anti-bacterial by nature. I have switched my

    handsoap to a nice smelling diluted mixture of dish soap

    (Palmolive is great on the hands) and water. It's worked great,

    and no more stained hand towels. I switched acne cleansers to

    ones which use salicylic acid as the active ingredient, and I

    always dilute my laundry detergent now, in addition to agitating

    the bottle to make certain any whitening and brightening agents

    are mixed well before use. Since those implementations, no

    problems. (10/12/2008)

    By Jason

    src="//img.thrfun.com/images/database/tff42428311.JP

    G" width="400" height="300" alt="RE: Random Bleach Stains on

    Laundry" />

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    The one common denominator is the fabrics, which I think is the

    problem. Whether towels or clothing, it never used to be a

    problem, so what is different now? I think it's the overseas

    manufacturing processes and dyes. My aunt died 2 years ago and

    I got a beautiful set of rose colored decorated towel,

    washcloth, and handtowels. I use the same products on my skin

    that I use on my Ralph Lauren towels from Kohl's and the color

    stays true with no spots on the old set, while the newer ones

    are ruined. The towels, while put away and not previously used,

    were made in the USA in 1987, while the Lauren and others I've

    had with similar spots were made in India and other overseas

    countries. I've always had oily skin and used benzoyl peroxide,

    astringents, and Retin-A for years also, liquid hand soaps and

    whitening toothpaste. It's only been in the last several years

    the problem has shown up. The same is true for pillowcases, old

    versus new. I've also had problems with sunscreen I use on my

    neck turning my collars yellow. I think the alcohol in that and

    colognes is the reason. These things never used to happen to me.

    I really think it's all the overseas, cheap labor products.

    (08/11/2009)

    By <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com//profile/index.lasso?

    profile=thr886761">kshope

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    My sister who is the authority for all my questions said it's

    certain dyes that react to acidic oily skin, that bleach it that

    pinky orange color, seen mostly on blues, browns, and khaki. I

    once stood in acid rain in London in a khaki top and the

    raindrops turned my top into orange polka dots. Now I know

    there is nothing that can be done if the dyes are not set by a

    process which is why your old towels are fine and the new ones

    made overseas aren't. They obviously don't use the needed

    process anymore. My blues ones are all ruined and my green ones

    are fine. Anyone know if something can be added to the first

    washing that would set these dyes properly so it wouldn't happen

    later? (06/01/2010)

    By <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com//profile/index.lasso?

    profile=thr507550">Anonymous

    Random Bleach Stains on Laundry

    I have to agree with the folks that concluded the dyes in newer

    towels (almost invariably made overseas) are inherently

    unstable. I experimented with brand new hand towels that had

    never been washed, and was able to produce the bleach stain

    problem within a couple of days. It never happens on the towels

    I bought 15 to 20 years ago (yes, I still have some of those.)

    :-)

    I don't use any medications containing benzoyl peroxide. I do

    use daily sun screens, and I think the sunscreen left on my

    hands may be the culprit, as I've seen the same problem with

    sunscreen bleaching some of my less expensive (made overseas)

    cotton tops.

    Bottom line: the dyes used in towels are no longer stable. I

    may give up and simply start buying white towels. Discouraging.

    (06/26/2010)

    By <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com//profile/index.lasso?

    profile=thr240332">djfoster

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