Problems With Polyester?

I have a polyester (synthetic at any rate) shirt from the 1970's (sentimentally very valuable!) that is covered in a black, orange and white motif. In the wash, the white has turned gray, I suppose because of the nearby black. Additionally, on one of the white sections, there are two or three dark gray streaks. I tried a soak in Ammonia but it did nothing. I also took the shirt to the dry cleaners and they said dry cleaning would NOT:


A) Whiten the overall gray.

B) Take out the gray streaks which they believe to be mineral deposits brought out by ironing.

I also have a synthetic multi-colored dress from the 1960's that has an underarm problem where the dye has spread onto white areas due to sweating. I tried to clean it up with alcohol and a Q-tip but that made the dye spread and run even more.

Again, the dry cleaners said nothing could be done.

Maybe I should try different dry cleaners, or at least insist that they try.

In the meantime, does anyone know of home remedies that might work? For both items I have tried ammonia, alcohol, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. I would like to try brightening or dye removal products by RIT etc. but the packages say either only for use on all-white products, or not for use on synthetics.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much in advance.

Anna from Illinois

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By Sandy from Pittsburgh (Guest Post)
November 2, 20050 found this helpful

I use the following:
1/2 cup Cascade powdered dish detergent
1/2 cup bleach
dissolve in one gallon of pretty warm water and soak items for a few hours or overnight. This has always worked for me and anyone else I've told about it. My Mom has used it for years also.
Sandy from Pittsburgh

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By SNIGDIBBLY (Guest Post)
November 3, 20050 found this helpful

I have used rit whitener/brightner on yellow and pink items to remove dinginess and it worked great. I have also used it on striped t-shirts to take the grey out of the white stripe and it worked fine.

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By Ann (Guest Post)
November 3, 20050 found this helpful

Have you tried oxyclean? It really helps whiten my clothes and removes some stains. I haven't tried it on polyester because most of our stuff is cotton. I put the oxyclean in the washer (5 scoops for a full load) with hot water and as soon as there is enough water to dissolve the oxyclean, I switch to cold and put the clothes in the washer.


Let them soak overnight. I don't think this would harm the clothes. Good luck!

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By Jen (Guest Post)
November 3, 20050 found this helpful

Rit color/dye remover will most likely work. I have used it on colored synthetics with no problems. After you get the dye out of the white, wash the shirt with a bit of salt to set the black dye so this won't happen again.

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By Anna (Guest Post)
July 7, 20060 found this helpful

Thank you ladies, for all of your advice! Better late than never, I just wanted to say that the whitener/brightener did work to take most of the gray out of my polyester shirt! And without ruining the other colors. I've worn it since and had many compliments!

Also, the oxy clean miraculously helped the 1960's dress - but tragically the dress fell pray to clothes moths!!! Apparently it was not synthetic after all. I will save some of the fabric to make something else at some is too beautiful to just throw away.


Finally, thank you Sandy, for the recipe, I have it pinned up and at the ready for my next crisis!

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