Preventing Bleach Stains on Clothing

May 25, 2004

Bleach Stains On Red T-Shirti 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


May 26, 20042 found this helpful


This same thing has happened to me. But alas I found out what was causing it. Fabric softener, that you would pour into a dispensor cup ontop of the agaitoter. (WOW what a spellor). If just one drop goes into the wash cycle, it finds you nicest clothes. And then you already know what happens.

Once I stopped fabic softening this way and went to the sheets. No problems, so if this is what you are doing, My advice is get the sheet, not the liquid. And it worked for me.


By Gardencraft (Guest Post)
May 26, 20040 found this helpful

What type of detergent are you using? Are you pouring it over the already loaded washer? The same thing was happening to my sons clothes and we found it was the liquid detergent "working" before the washer had filled with water, even a worse problem when the detergent contains "brightners or bleach." It was causing bleached stains and streaks.


We now put the detergent in first and rinse down the tub with a cup or two or water BEFORE we load the clothes in. Problem solved.

By (Guest Post)
May 26, 20041 found this helpful

Yeah, I learned the hard way to always add the soap to the water before putting clothes in. You have to dilute a lot of these laundry detergents before they make contact with your clothes. Especially if you are a bargain hunter and change detergents from time to time when you find a deal.

I had problems with liquid detergent staining clothing and powdered detergent sticking to clothing and not getting rinsed off. Sometimes when you dry clothing without seeing the stuck-on powdered detergent it will set a stain or discoloration on clothing. At best those clothes need to be re-washed. So, I always let the water run for a while, add the soap, then add the clothes and I haven't had a problem since.


The fabric softener may also be the problem.

By Julie . (Guest Post)
May 27, 20041 found this helpful

One thing I have been doing for years has saved my clothes and made my washer work better and longer.
Once a week pour 2 cups of household vinegar over your adjitator to clean off all the resedue left by soaps and powdered bleach. Run some old white towels through a short wash without soap. They will come out whiter and cleaner then before but your machine will be clean also. It is a good idea to run vinegar through once and a while by it's self. If I get a real build up I use a entire gallon.
To prevent problems in the future- dissolve your detergent in an old cut off bleach bottle. Rinse one out. Fill half full with warm or hot water, depending on what you are washing and stir after pouring detergent in. let stand while you fill the drum with clothes and water. Don't add soapy liquid until the washer is almost full. Even adding detergent first doesn't always work. Try it

By Linda (Guest Post)
May 28, 20040 found this helpful

I always put the detergent in first when I do wash. I pour it (powder) right where the water hits when it fills. Start the water. Then I go get the hamper and start to put in the clothes.


By then there are a couple of inches of water in the tub and deterg. is mostly dissoved.

By judy (Guest Post)
May 28, 20040 found this helpful

I had noticed some grime on the agitator but it did not wipe off easily. Today, I used the magic eraser and it worked like a charm. All that grime is gone. I then filled the washing machine and let it go one cycle to wash away the dirt.

By (Guest Post)
May 29, 20041 found this helpful

This is happening to us too, but never with our old Kenmore machine. We moved and bought a GE from Sam's Club. I think what's happening is that most bleachable loads are smaller than dark clothing loads so, when you add soap and bleach to the tub to do a small whites load, the fill stream splashes concentrated bleach/soap drops higher up on the tub and/or agitator sides than the eventual water level reaches during the whites cycle. These concentrated droplets of bleach solution remain there for your next dark load which is usually bigger, so you pile in the clothes, they contact the bleach droplet and voila-a white spot!


Two solutions for this:
1. Make your whites load the last of the day so the tub dries out completely-dry bleach won't enter the fabric like liquid does, and
2. Let the tub fill with water about half way before GENTLY pouring the bleach in. Pour it in on the front side of the tub opposite the water stream. Then, let the agitator do a couple of rotations to mix before adding the whites. No more bleach stains on the dark stuff.
The Kenmore had a bleach-add cup on the top of the tub area that let the bleach in on the outside of the perforated tub so we never had the problem until now. Hope this helps!

By (Guest Post)
July 9, 20050 found this helpful

don't use deoderant that is a clear stick. I had some and it got a white "bleach looking"stain on one of my good light blue tee shirts. I know it was the deoderant because the stain was only under the arms.


I retested it by putting the deoderant all over the shirt and rewashed it. Sure enough, there was white marks everywhere I put the deoderant.

By Karen (Guest Post)
November 20, 20050 found this helpful

i had a lovely pair of khaki combat trousers which have been ruined by bleach. there are a few purple drops all down the front of them as a result of the bleach in the mop bucket. i am devestated as i loved them. any tips as to how i could go about repairing these combats. they are my favourite. karen xoxo

Read More Answers

13 More Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

July 26, 2021

I recently bought a Pure Wash Pro to attach to our top load washer and suddenly started getting bleach spots on clothes. I don't use detergent, softener or bleach.

I only wash with cold water. For the first month, everything was great, now I'm getting bleach spots. Any ideas out there?


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
July 27, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

Pure Wash Pro is a very expensive devise so I would suggest you find the company 'help/support' on your manual/paperwork and contact them before you try anything not related to this product.
I'm sure your Pure Wash Pro is guaranteed so contact them first.

Here is a link to a YouTube video on your product. I'm sure your filter does not need changing yet but it seems people are asking questions on this site also.


Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 440 Answers
July 30, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

I think the reason is not Pure Wash Pro. The source of the bleach stains may not be liquid bleach, but rather could be coming from other bleaching sources in your home that are getting onto your clothes, in particular high chlorine levels in your water supply, whitening toothpastes, acne medicines, some mouthwashes.

In some rare cases, a person's body chemistry has been known to contribute to bleach spots in clothing when the clothes are washed.

This issue sometimes occurs due to caused by a soap buildup in the washer, clothes or a draining issue. But if you have been using the washing machine without any detergent for a month now, then I think all the detergents should have been washed out.

Answer this Question

April 30, 2008

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


By Anne (Guest Post)
May 1, 20080 found this helpful

BLEACH Stains: Bleach in TOOTHPASTE and MOUTHWASH is definitely a CULPRIT! Bleach is actually a NEURO-TOXIN and caused damage and changes in our NERVOUS system. Fibromyalgia, etc. I have de-toxed my household from Toxic household cleaners and personal care products, and it is only when guests come that these mysterious BLEACH stains start showing up on our new towels!!! Anyone interested in non-bleach products that really "out-shine" the bleach ones, I have some suggestions! brusselsannie AT

By rae (Guest Post)
May 5, 20080 found this helpful

Beware, the acne medicines will also bleach your carpet if a person using it lays their face on the carpet.

By Christine (Guest Post)
May 6, 20080 found this helpful

I know that if you accidentally load the dish washer with detergent and it splashes onto your clothes, this will bleach it also. Splashed lemon juice will lighten areas if you don't rinse immediately. You could have spilled tea with lemon or lemonade. Some sodas that contain ester of wood rosin will do the same. And of course any toilet, shower or mopping cleanser, toothpaste, peroxide, hair lightener, fade cream and acne meds will react with the clothes detergent and bring mystery white spots out. I guess we all should rinse our clothes as soon as we get home and change into something already ruined.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 263 Posts
May 6, 20080 found this helpful

We had a laundry detergent called Wisk tablets, that contained bleach in them. Some folks complained of bleach spots on their clothing. The manufacturer quit making this product, at least hear in the U.S. Hope you figure out what's causing your bleach spots. Sorry about it. I know how you feel though. I got a bleach spot on one of my favorite summer time blouses, on the back of it. I did cover up some other bleach spots on a pretty decorative denim shirt I have with some bumble bee appliques (sew on patches in shapes of bumble bees) I've had several compliments on them (little did they know they were covering up bleach spots. You might can do the same thing, too.

By Ellen (Guest Post)
May 10, 20080 found this helpful

I've narrowed it down to whitening toothpaste. No acne medication, or Tide here. And this is only happening to the towels in my sons bathroom where the whitening toothpaste is being used. I'm furious, they should put a disclaimer on the packaging!

Seems to me, that it's the most reasonable culprit. Whitening toothpastes have only been really popular the past few years, about as long as these mysterious bleach spots have been around.

By Elizabeth (Guest Post)
June 2, 20080 found this helpful

I just checked into this for my boyfriend. It's caused by metabolic disorders. An increase in acid. Sometimes called acidosis. You need to get tested on a chem-20 and it will determine if your acid is high. It can be a signe of diabetes or kidney issues. They can test further to determine cause. Extended exercise and certain health enhancements can complicate it.

By Beth (Guest Post)
June 5, 20080 found this helpful

For the people that are having staining problems on some of their shirts and in the underarms, check your deodorant. It's easy to get this on the middle of shirts too when taking them on or off. I had this problem, and it turned out that the Secret Platinum protection that I was using was bleaching the shirts I was wearing, and also sheets near the top when would wear a tank top to bed. I found other websites where people all said they were having the same problem, and when I wrote to the company, they told me that their deodorant needed to be applied and let dry for ten minutes before putting clohting on!! I don't use that brand anymore, and have not had the same check your deodorant.

That was the only problem I have had, and that was over a year ago, until I bought new, nice towels recently. I bought a set of light green towels from Crate and Barrel, and those are getting bleach spots all over, in between washings, so I know it's not the dishwasher. The hand towels are the worst, and the only thing I can think of is that it's antibacterial soap? I dont' use whitening toothpaste. I then recently got a set of towels from Pottery Barn in a similiar color, and it's happening again! The strangest part...the cheaper towels i've had in blue and maroone from Costco and Charter Club, and have used them for years, with acne medication and whitening toothpaste in the past....and have never had a spot.

So the theory of cheap vs expensive towels doesn't seem to hold up, because my expensive towels are the ones bleaching.

Read More Answers

April 14, 2008

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


By barb (Guest Post)
April 14, 20080 found this helpful

Same problem! I have decided my current washing machine does not fill enough on the rinse cycle. Therefore it does not wash out the fabric softener or the soap residue. I'm on the verge of getting a different washing machine. I've tried less soap, less fabric softener, no fabric softener - no help. What seems to help the problem is doing a third rinse.
Fischer/Paykel is currently being informed of the problems.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 255 Posts
April 14, 20080 found this helpful

That is why I don't use by bleach dispenser. Sometimes they do not empty completly until a load or two later.
Instead, I fill my washer and add my bleach while it is filling. I let it adgitate about 5 seconds, then I add my whites.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 213 Posts
April 14, 20080 found this helpful

I HAD this same problem, but solved it by washing first a white load with bleach, & the next load I wash is light colors that don't need bleaching, (like light blue, pink, white or light gray) then lastly after I've run the light load through I finally run my dark colors through. Just be sure to run the light load or "cleansing load" through the wash after every bleach load BEFORE you wash any jeans or dark clothes. Of course my machine is over 20 years old, too!

YES! Always add your bleach as or after the water has filled the machine, then lastly after you've agitated the load a bit, THEN add your whites.

* I'd NEVER give up using bleach! How else would I totally disinfect my bath towels, pillow cases or bed sheets? Yes, I know hot water helps (but costs money) as does drying in the Sunshine. But I live in Seattle! (only rain!) So I'll stick to bleach to kill my germs.

By Mary. (Guest Post)
April 15, 20080 found this helpful

I have found that I have simply splashed myself while pouring in the bleach, now I pour into the backside of the washer and hold the bottle neck low into the washer, pouring slowly. Now that I am more careful, I never have bleach spots. It takes awhile for the bleach to discolor your clothes as it is now dilluted with wash water, so you don't notice it till you launder them again. Notice if the bleach stains are usually on the front and or sleeves of clothing, including pants.

April 15, 20080 found this helpful

As Mary said, you are probably splashing yourself or letting the bleach drip somewhere unnoticeable. Then the clothing comes in contact with the drip or splash and you've got ruined clothing. It's happened to me too and I wondered how in the world it was happening. It's possible that the bleach bottle was set down beside the colored clothing and the clothing rubbed against the bottle. Very frustrating, I know. Probably best thing is to be more careful and to keep the bleach as far away from colored clothing as possible.

By Cindy (Guest Post)
April 15, 20080 found this helpful

I have the same problem and only use color safe bleach on my clothes because of our septic system.

I am starting to think that maybe the Downy that I use is getting on stuff and "bleaching" it. Has anyone heard of this happening?

April 15, 20080 found this helpful

For awhile it seemed we had that same problem but I began noticing it was only my daughters clothing or bed I concluded that it had something to do with a type of cologne or lotion she was using and thus getting on her clothes and sheets...and it was acting as a type of bleach when washed. If you'll take note of where on the item these bleached spots are showing up and see if that doesn't make sense in your case.

By rikki (Guest Post)
April 15, 20080 found this helpful

I like the new splash-less clorox. It's thicker more like a thin gel.. I'm less likely to get it on the outside of the bottle or splash it on the outside of the washer. It's a little more expensive but still a lot cheaper than new clothes!

By Cindy (Guest Post)
April 15, 20080 found this helpful

I have the same problem and only use color safe bleach on my clothes because of our septic system. I am starting to think that maybe the Downy that I use is getting on stuff and "bleaching" it. Has anyone heard of this happening?

April 15, 20080 found this helpful

You people are TERRIFIC! I definitely wasn't expecting *this* many responses to my stupid question! Thank You! I accidentally stumbled on this site, and am truly amazed!

Will be honest far (knowing my laundry habits) I'm going with, "Mom-from-Missouri's" advice (re: bleach dispenser). Sounds the most plausible. I truly appreciate all your help.

Now...if I just could get one of you to actually come over and *do* the laundry? lol

Thank you Thrifty Fun, also. But just curious now, why I get 3 e-mail alerts for every 1 response? Glitch?

Larry K.


Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 337 Feedbacks
April 15, 20080 found this helpful

I had this same sort of problem with my son's clothing. It turned out it was the lotion he was using to treat his acne. If this was dotted on his shirts, if he sweated while he had this on and the perspiration ran onto the neck of his teeshirt, or if he wiped his hands on a dark towel after applying it, these items would fade out in the next wash. They did not do so until they were washed, so it was hard to figure out what was causing it. Perhaps there is something you are using that is bleaching the clothes and it has nothing to do with the bleach you are using for your whites.


Bronze Request Medal for All Time! 53 Requests
April 16, 20080 found this helpful

I noticed that liquid fabric softener will also bleach your colored clothes if it come in contact with them. I now add my laundry detergent and fabric softener while washer is filling, then put my clothes in.

April 17, 20080 found this helpful


My son was having a similar problem with the bleach spots.

Ask him what detergent he was using.

He said "Tide" oh no, he then noticed it was the one with bleach.
Good Looking, Well Educated, Talented and now know the difference in the detergent cap colors.

patti r

May 2, 20080 found this helpful

Have you tried washing all your dark clothes first and the load you bleach last? Bleach could be getting on your clothes if you have washed them after a bleach load.
Wash bleached stuff last, then run a rinse cycle on the washer. Hope it helps.

Read More Answers

December 7, 2006

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


By (Guest Post)
December 10, 20060 found this helpful

it's worth the money (what a $1 or $2) to run a load ahead of you rather than ruining shirts that cost what -- at least $40 total (ok I guessed at the amount but you get the idea).

Use the extra 20 minutes to study :)

By Grandma Margie. (Guest Post)
December 10, 20060 found this helpful

Do your whites in the machine first. If there is any residual bleach in the machine it won't hurt anything. Then you can feel safe washing darker clothes the next load.

By Gib (Guest Post)
December 14, 20060 found this helpful

Thanks! My girlfriend set her jeans down on my laundry for a sec and it had bleach on it! I had distracted her with something else and she went back to find 5 bleach spots on her designer jeans! So we are gonna order those Marvy Fabric Pens and everything is ok! Thanks!

By nate (Guest Post)
May 31, 20070 found this helpful

to prevent bleach stains is simple... dont use bleach. there are many effective non-bleach alternatives out there without the risk of permanently ruining clothes

By carole Chavez (Guest Post)
April 12, 20080 found this helpful

Bleach spots on dark clothes. I have not used bleach in my washer for at least 6 loads and I am still getting bleach spots on my dark clothes. Can this problem be fixed?

By Dragon (Guest Post)
May 7, 20080 found this helpful

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 :)

Read More Answers

September 25, 2013

I am getting bleach stains randomly on clothes in the washer when no bleach was used. Please post other possible solutions you may know of. I've tried with no success. It drives me crazy! I do all my daughter's laundry and have used bleach so I guess I'm going to never use that dispenser again. It is a front loading machine. I was thinking I would pour very hot water down the bleach dispenser a couple of times, then run the machine empty with detergent. What do you think? The other things, I can try?

By Sherry Berard

Read More Answers

March 23, 2019

I recently began having a problem where two of my jackets. They have developed mystery bleach spots! The first was a trench coat with spots on the back, waistband, and by the pocket. The second was a field jacket that had stains on the pocket, collar, and on the back. This was a bizarre incident- the stains appeared over an hour when I wore it in the rain while wearing a backpack.

Two things of note, the aforementioned backpack is one that I only wore with these two jackets, as it would cause pilling on my other coats. Second, my short, shoulder length hair is dyed a dark brown color. (I feel this is worth mentioning because the towel I spilled hair dye on when coloring my hair has stains that have faded from dark brown to bleached.

Though this occurred over a couple of weeks of everyday use, I'm thinking these stains have something to do with something in the backpack transferring into the jackets when it rains? I know this sounds odd, but I'm at a loss for what else it could be. Anyways, any thoughts on what is causing this strange problem and how to prevent it from happening again would be appreciated!

Read More Answers

July 26, 2012

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

Read More Answers

April 14, 2016

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.

bleach spots

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.

Read More Answers

March 20, 2006

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

Read More Answers


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

April 30, 2008
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.

September 26, 2010

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.


December 7, 2006
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.

February 27, 2006
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
Home and Garden Cleaning LaundryJanuary 8, 2013
Valentine's Ideas!
Birthday Ideas!
St. Patrick's Ideas!
Better LivingBudget & FinanceBusiness and LegalComputersConsumer AdviceCoronavirusCraftsEducationEntertainmentFood and RecipesHealth & BeautyHolidays and PartiesHome and GardenMake Your OwnOrganizingParentingPetsPhotosTravel and RecreationWeddings
Published by ThriftyFun.
Desktop Page | View Mobile
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Generated 2024-01-25 09:56:29 in 17 secs. ⛅️️
© 1997-2024 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.