Blue Stains Showing Up on Washed Clothing

All of my white cotton clothes have started turning an aqua shade of blue after being washed in my washing machine. I also have this same color in my tub and shower. A neighbor told me it's the copper water pipes that cause the discoloration. CLR gets the tub and shower clean, but nothing I've tried (bleach, Oxi-Clean, Borax) gets the stains out of my clothing!


By Marcy from Aberdeen, NC

February 21, 20100 found this helpful
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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.

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February 23, 20100 found this helpful
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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.

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April 19, 20100 found this helpful
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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.

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June 16, 20100 found this helpful
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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.

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September 20, 20100 found this helpful
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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!

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February 21, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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