By Marcy from Aberdeen, NC
Any kind of detergent, chlorine bleach, ammonia, borax, or oxygen cleaner binds the copper blue in the water to fabric in the laundry. If you fill the tub with water and detergent and agitate to mix before adding the laundry, things will get a uniform bluish cast, rather than dark areas where the water runs onto concentrated detergent on the laundry. The loger you wash a load, the more copper is laid into the fabric. Even the products (white vinegar, Calgon) suggested by a university extention site did not work. THe ONLY thing that did work was an old bottle of The Works (not the one put out by Clorox) but by HomeCare Labs. THe active ingredient was phosphoric acid. THe formulation has been changed now and it doesn't work as well. THe old formula completely removed the blue from a colored linen/rayon blouse and did not damage the fabric in any way. I don't know where you can get phosphoric acid for home use, but I suppose it's been replaced because of environmental concerns. We're renting an old house while ours is being built. I'll have to toss our copper laced towels, sheets, underwear, socks, etc when we move. Bummer!
The linking factors for blue clothing seem to be:
1) Tide liquid detergent (or P&G liquid detergent products)
2) Soft water
For what it's worth, I've noticed more immediate blue staining on brand new synthetic white fabrics than older cotton whites.
I am going to go with the fact that it is laundry soap. In the past I have had problems with this. For months I've been using Purex free & clear detergent, and the other day I had my husband pick up some laundry soap and he brought home just some regular Purex that is blue. Well, of course loads later when I go to pick out clothes I notice these horrible stains. Ooooh, it makes you so aggravated! I'm going to try the Vinegar and water solution to hopefully remove the stains. I think running an extra rinse cycle might help as well as not putting in as much detergent. I know I'm going to go back to the Purex free & clear and never look back.
I have posted before and still have blue water, but no longer get spots in my laundry. I changed the anode rod in the hot water heater and the blue dots went away. I still have blue water, but the anode rod must be taking the 'edge' off the copper level. The City of Raleigh tested my water at multiple points inside and out and the report said the copper levels were normal. I had an electrician test the grounding on the house and that was fine (bad grounding can cause electrolysis of copper pipes and create the blue water). I had a plumber check for mixed metals at faucet housings and I didn't have any of that.
Now I know in a few years to change the anode rod again or the blue spots will be back. The anode rod costs about $50 for my hot water heater. Also, try not to add Oxi-Clean and other items that create oxidation in the water. That makes the blue dots worse because blue release from the pipes comes from oxidation, so adding these items to the laundry exacerbates the water condition.
Just a thought, if CLR gets the stains out of the tub, why don't you try vinegar in the wash? They are both acids; it may do the trick, and you can use it all the time.
Get some Rid color remover and use it to get the color out. I've used it several times on all colored clothes that had stains like that. Another thing I found when I wash my clothes on gently cycle is to add another rinse cycle. Sometimes liquid detergent will not completely come out with just one rinse.
I have a mystery that perhaps someone else has discovered the answer to.
Periodically when I wash a load of clothes, some of the clothing will come out with blue dye stains scattered around. No pen in the load. No blue item that could have bled.
I changed from the blue fragrance Downy to a green fragrance and nothing changed. The only other thing I could find in common was that I was using Era detergent, which is blue. So I changed to a Tide detergent that is clear. I assumed I was free and clear of this period hassle.
But nope. I just found a fairly new light blue blouse with the same blue stains randomly scattered all over it.
I'd appreciate the answer if anyone has one.
Jubi from Nebraska
I heard a rumor that the problem could be caused by the BLUE automatic toilet bowl cleaners. The claim was that as these tablets dissolve, some of the blue dye seep back into the plumbing if the seal for the incoming connections to the tank were not tight. The blue stuff settles down to lowest part of the plumbing and then the next water draw would carry this stuff to that location.
It sounded like a long shot but I was willing to try anything so I stopped using the blue tablets and it seemed that the problem subsided. However recently I have started to see the problem again even though I stopped using the Blue cleaner for more than a year.
I use a water softener and have a whole house filter to accommodate my hard, iron-rich well water. I am now thinking that this problem is related to the water composition or corrosion in the pipes. I plan on installing some type of inline filter just in front of the washing machine in order to purify the water just before it enters the machine. At least I should be able to see what gets picked up in the filter. (02/23/2006)
By June Moncrief
So we next tried clorox clean-up, fantastik heavy duty cleaner and window cleaner. None worked. One day while at Sears buying hoses for our washer we asked a representative if she could help with our dryer dilemma and she recommended using Cleaning Cream for Smooth Top Ranges. It worked, with a little elbow grease. My hubby is doing most of the cleaning.
We recommend doing small sections at a time. We just started yesterday and we are almost finished. When we are done we plan to clean it often especially after washing dark clothing. Hope this helps anyone who has not found a solution yet. (07/30/2006)
I have blue stains on light clothing, washed with Tide and Downy. These are pieces I wear regularly and am a bit devastated at the thought that they seem ruined. Is there any way to remove these stains? They are not white. One is yellow, one lime green, and one peach. Will Biz or Clorox 2 work? Please advise.
By Laurie/ Florida
If caused by fabric softener, rub stains with bar soap, wash. (01/17/2009)
I've had the anode (that is the device that pulls heavy metals from your water so it doesn't wreck the H/W heater) checked in the hot water heater and it appears to be working fine (only 7 yrs old). The white top that got the stains had very little contact with my skin when I wore it so I don't think it is a chemical reaction to something on me. Every time I try to recreate the problem testing with hot, warm, cold water, Tide, no Tide, I cannot recreate the problem, it just happens intermittently until...
Then it happened while hand washing a white garment in 2 gallons of warm water with a Target brand of mild soap (like Woolite) and had sprayed spots with Spray 'N' Wash. There they were, those blue dots. The city of Raleigh is testing my water for copper and lead levels...no feedback yet. I now have little blue stains on the metal of my white washing machine. I had wet kitchen dish cloths sitting there when they were dirty. I also tend to lay cloths out on the top of washing machine when I spray them with Spray 'N' Wash.
So now I have ordered a replacement for the anode rod in the hot water tank. The hot water heater manufacturer says maybe the anode rod is used up because it is very, very pitted. Hopefully, that will take care of it. There is some chemical reaction going on that's making these blue dots on cotton and metal washing machines! (08/17/2009)
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