Ask The Clothing Doctor

Welcome to the CSC ServiceWorks laundry forum! I am Steve Boorstein, The Clothing Doctor. I will be your clothing care expert. I spent 20 years in the high-end drycleaning business, but I've also written four books on laundry and hosted two DVDs on clothing care, so I know about dirty laundry! Write me about caring for everything made from fabric; washing, cleaning, stain removal and storage.

Before I begin answering questions, let's get a few facts straight:

Before you treat a stain, make sure you know if it's watery or oily!

  • Water-based stains contain water, NO oil.
    • You can identify water-based stains such as coffee, wine, beer and blood because they have a ring around the outside (like a road map).
    • Water-based stains need water or club soda (and an occasional "stain stick").
  • Oil-based stains contain oil, but NO water, so water and soap will not help to remove them!
    • Oil-based stains such as butter, mayonnaise, and olive oil will look blotchy and have NO ring around the stain.
    • Most oily stains require drycleaning.
    • Oily stains that do not come out in the wash will look blotchy after washing.

Know a few first aid hints:

  • Never rub a fabric — blot only with a dry white cloth or napkin.
  • Be careful about putting water or club soda on dryclean-only clothing, such as silk and acetate, because they can bleed the dye and cause rings.
  • If in doubt, blot with a dry white cloth and STOP, until you can write me or show the garment to a professional.

Click on a category below to see frequently asked questions along with my helpful hints to keep your laundry clean!

Clothing Care
Color Bleeding

I put a few things in the dryer with a friends clothes. When I took the clothes out, I saw a little blue-ish stain on my white cotton shirt. I tried using a stain stick to get it out and washed again, but it didn't really help. It's been about 2 months. Is there anything I can do to get rid of the stain? Should I take it to a dry cleaner? I really love the shirt, so if there's ANYTHING I could do to save it, that would be amazing!
- Samantha

Answer: Samantha, the white shirt could have picked up—or touched up against—some loose dye from something in the load, or the blueish spot could be a latent stain that showed up after washing and drying. If it is dye from another garment or from food coloring, the two month wait should not be a problem. You can try soaking the shirt in color-safe bleach for 30-60 minutes and then re-washing, but do NOT tumble dry. If that doesn't work, and it is dye, an experienced drycleaner should be able to apply a dye stripper, which can fade or possibly remove the spot!

Best — The Clothing Doctor

Hi, I wore a brand new green 100% cotton t-shirt with a pair of white jeans (98% cotton; 2% spandex) and when I got home my jeans had green mostly on the belt loops. I haven't washed them at all and it has been a couple of weeks since it happened. What do you recommend? Thanks!
- Camille

Answer: Camille, this is an unfortunate but common occurrence; a dark belt on the waste bleeds onto the white silk blouse under it; a green T-shirt can bleed onto white items … I'm guessing the jeans or the green T got wet from water or perspiration? Bottom line, all deep colors should be washed before wearing the first time, especially with white items! You can try treating the belt loops with a stain remover, followed by washing—but DO NOT TUMBLE DRY, until you are sure the green is out. If that doesn't work, a good drycleaner should be able to "strip out" the remaining green dye, after washing.

The Clothing Doctor

Hi, the white sleeves of my blue hoodie turned light pink after I accidentaly mixed it with red skinny jeans. I don't know how to remove the light pink colour.
- Shayne

Answer: Shayne, this is a very difficult and time-consuming restoration. If you try to "strip" the dye out of the sleeves (with pink being the most difficult to remove), the blue part of the hoodie will suffer and loose color. Just rewashing the hoodie, without the skinny jeans, may not remove the red/pink residue. But after rewashing, assuming it does no good, I think you would have to have the sleeves removed and dye-stripped at the cleaners, and then sewn back on. I warn you though, that the pink may still not come out, even after washing and stripping. Buy a new one??

Good Luck - The Clothing Doctor

Help Please! My denim blue jeans (that have been washed several times) rubbed off on my white satin Coach purse. The purse is not pure white, it also has purple and brown colored "C's" on it. What do I do? Thanks!
- Jill

Answer: Jill, I don't know if the jeans are an Indigo dye, but it sounds like it, which means that they could bleed and "crock" for a while longer. Given that it's a satin fabric—and depending on the amount of dye—it may be impossible or risky for you to try and remove the dye on your own, without spreading or worsening the condition. I suggest you consult the best drycleaner in your town. I can suggest cleaners … Let me know.

Best — The Clothing Doctor

I wore a blue shirt that had been previously washed over a white bra. Even though neither got wet, the blue rubbed all over my new white bra. What should I do before washing the bra?
- Annette

Answer: Annette, the best thing you can do, assuming the bra is nylon or some synthetic, is to take a worn out toothbrush (or any soft-bristled brush), wet it with water and detergent, and brush the "rubbed" dye, until it starts to break down. Then rewash, as hot as is safe—and then AIR DRY. If that doesn't work, then you could try a dye-stripper from RIT, or some other brand. As for your blue shirt, I would rewash that many times to diminish the lose dye, so it won't happen again!

The Clothing Doctor

Hi! I purchased a blue and green cotton T-shirt yesterday and put it in cold water for soaking - I removed it after a couple of hours and dried it in shade. Much to my dismay, I had forgotten to remove the dark blue price tag before soaking it in the bucket and now there are blue blotches on my new T-shirt where the price tag touched the fabric. The price tag looked like made from hand-made paper or the like. Please help me in how I can remove the stains. Thanks a lot!!
- Niranjan Shukla

Answer: Nir, that presents a whole lotta trouble, because blue dye is extremely hard to remove from green & blue (opposed to white), without "pulling" or dulling the color of the T-shirt. You can try pretreating the spots with detergent and water, and rewashing, but other than that it's a crap shoot :)

The Clothing Doctor

I wore a red top underneath a cream lace blouse - long sleeves. The red bled underneath the armpits. Is it possible for me to remove the bleeding? Thank you for your response.
- Nancy Ugarte

Answer: Nancy, If the cream blouse is washable, then apply some detergent to the underarms and rewash as hot as possible. Then air dry. If stains remain, but have improved, then do it again. If they still persist, soak the shirt in color safe bleach for 1-2 hours. If still there, and it's worth the effort and price, then tale it to the BEST drycleaner in town to remove the last trace of red.

The Clothing Doctor

I washed a vivid teal dress (55% hemp/45% cotton) with black leggings (cotton/modal/spandex) and ended up with dark splotches all over the dress. Both items are washable in cold water and both have been washed multiple times before! For this reason, I did not anticipate a problem washing them together. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you!
- Jeannot Gangwisch

Answer: Jeannot, regardless of the history, you should never wash BLACK, purple, navy, and other dark colors with lighter colors, even if they performed well, alone. As for restoration, it's gonna be tough, and you may need professional help. Still, getting black our of multi-colored hemp and cotton requires dye-stripping and years of talent … and a lot of luck! Sorry I couldn't be of more help!

The Clothing Doctor

Hi my sweater is beige and is made of 81% cotton 17% nylon and 2 % spandex. It's meant to be machine washed cold. It's a size small. I noticed some blue in the armpits and I think it's from the dye in my dark blue jeans. I have washed jeans lots so I assumed all the dye was gone. The blue color is just in the armpits and I want it gone! Any ideas!?
- Grace

Answer: Grace, you can try rewashing the sweater alone or with other light-colored items, and then air dry so as not to "set" the stains. These are typical dye transfer stains, which usually occurs from a blue blouse bleeding onto the pits of the sweater, but from blue jeans? Anyway, the underarms may require a light dye stripping by your drycleaner. Good luck!

The Clothing Doctor

Hi, I have a tan 100% T-shirt that has writing on it. A dark green bandana accidentally got thrown in with the same load of laundry and I didn't realize it until after I was already taking them out of the dryer and folding them. The tan shirt has green splotches all over the bottom, front half of the shirt. Is there anything I can do to restore it? Thanks!
- Alyssa Morris

Answer: Alyssa, I am sorry to hear that! Removing green "transfer" dye from a cotton tan T is almost impossible. The problem is that dye strippers—which can easily remove the green dye—will also remove much of the tan dye in the shirt. You can try rewashing (and air drying) to see if that fades the green dye, but you will probably have to disguise it or cover the areas, or incorporate the green into some color scheme! Last options would be either stripping out all the dye, or bleaching the T as white as possible. Sorry I don't have an easy fix for you.

The Clothing Doctor

I made a linen jacket and put it in a new plastic bag in my car; hours later when I took it out, it's turned pink along the color -- what happened and how do I fix it, please?!
- Marge

Answer: Marge, I'm guessing that you meant it turned pink along the COLLAR? Since you made it, I can ask if you put facing or lining behind the collar that could have contributed to the pink coloration. Was there any dye or color on the plastic? The heat of the car against the plastic may have brought out some color? I need to know more information. Thanks

The Clothing Doctor

I got a stain (ketchup) on my shirt a week ago, and didn’t treat it, can I save my shirt in the laundry or is it too late?

Answer: Ketchup, like beer, wine, coffee, and sweat are all water-based and can be treated with water immediately, so at a minimum, be sure to rinse out the garment in cool water if you can’t wash it for a few days. This stain, depending on the color of the fabric, can usually be removed with pretreatment followed by washing.

I got wax on my skirt; the kind you use for hair removal that hardens quickly, and it didn't come off in the wash. How on earth do I get it off?

- Gabrielle

Answer: Gabrielle, wax CAN be one of the easiest stains to remove, but it requires either dry cleaning — which removes it in minutes — or a number of processes at home. The one concern is the color of the wax. White or clear wax is the easiest. Gabrielle, you did not mention if the skirt is washable or requires dry cleaning, but if you care about the skirt and are willing to invest in dry cleaning, it is the least painless approach, and it takes the responsibility off of you. If you want to try it yourself, you have a few choices:

You can put the skirt in a large ziplock bag and "freeze" the wax, and then carefully crack and chip it off, using a dull butter knife or spoon.
Then scrape off all the wax you can and place a piece of paper bag above and below the wax. Then use a hot iron on the paper bag, above the wax stain. In many cases, the wax will melt and be absorbed onto the paper bag.
If it's colored wax, or if there is a wax residue, then use "Goof Off" (sparingly) or some other "solvent-type solution to "melt" or dissolve the wax remnant. Then wash as usual (unless it requires dry cleaning)!

Steve Boorstein — The Clothing Doctor

Hello! I bought a new bright colored shirt, didn't wash it first, and paired it with a white shirt. Needless to say, anywhere I sweat the color bled onto the white shirt. Lesson learned but now I am not sure how to get the color out of the white.

- Caroline

Answer: Hello Caroline, Thanks for writing. I'm sorry to hear about your travails with "loose" dye! Yes, dyes can "migrate" or bleed from deep colors to lighter colors from perspiration, so it's best to wash new, striped, printed, or bright-colored clothing before wearing. However, dyes can migrate from dry fabrics, as well, from rubbing against other clothing. Fortunately for you, the affected shirt is pure white (versus printed or pale yellow). You have a couple of options for restoration that should remove ALL the colored dye from the white shirt. Here are the options and steps:

  • You can wash the white shirt, alone, or with other white garments, which may remove the dye (but be sure to AIR DRY the shirt — do not tumble dry).
  • You can add a scoop of OxiClean Versatile or Clorox 2, or some other color-safe bleach to the load to assist in the dye removal.
  • If the shirt still has dye residue after this process, you can soak the shirt in a 4" of warm water, with soap and color-safe bleach for thirty minutes, then rinse and AIR DRY.
  • If you still have dye stains, then a dye-stripper or dye remover would probably remove the rest of the discoloration. You could use RIT DYE REMOVER or some similar product.
  • Follow directions, as stated on the bottle of RIT, but be sure to air dry again until you are certain that ALL the dye was removed.
Lastly, one or two of the above steps should solve the problem. But, if you are not comfortable with all of this, you could contact your local drycleaner —assuming they have the skills — to remove the dastardly dye! I hope this helps! Be sure to call or write if you still have questions! Best, Steve, The Clothing Doctor

Hi, I have a down comforter that just happens to be covered in vomit. I don't have the time, money or transportation to take it to the dry cleaners (and I need it to sleep tonight, i'll freeze otherwise). My girlfriend's mom suggested taking a sponge and dish soap to it, but that doesn't seem to be working so well. Suggestions?


Answer: Dear Jake,

Thanks for writing. I am answering immediately so you won't be cold tonight :)

Ah, college life, how I miss it! I assume you do not have a duvet cover on the comforter, but I would recommend that you get one asap, so the next time you vomit you will only have to clean the cover!

Okay, you have a few choices. First, your girlfriend's Mom is not that far off if it's a small stain, but it would probably still stink. Down is usually washable, but you will need a front-load washer because of the size and weight of the comforter. You may have one on campus, or at a laundromat nearby.

First and foremost, you MUST carefully inspect every seam to make sure there are NO holes or tears, otherwise you will lose most of the down feathers during cleaning.

  • Wrap the comforter in a trash bag or a sheet to transport it to the washing machine, and bring along a pair of tennis shoes or some tennis balls (to help fluff the feathers during drying and to keep them from bunching up, hence reducing the insulating value).
  • Load the comforter into the front-load machine, add the detergent, and then wait for the load to finish.
  • After washing, carefully lift the comforter into a dryer, and then throw the shoes or balls in.
  • Bring some extra coins or dollar bills because drying takes a long time. Down smells horrible when it's wet, so you will know when it's really dry!
Good luck, and be sure to write back if something's not clear.

Steve Boorstein — The Clothing Doctor

I was just out painting and I got paint on my tan Northface Vest, what can I do to get it out?

Answer: Hello Adrienne,

I wish I could tell you this was an easy fix, but without knowing the type of paint (Oil or Latex), the size of the stain (a "swipe," dime size, or larger), and the colors of the vest and the paint, it's hard to advise!

I will say the following and hope one of them will help! First off, read the care label to see if the vest requires washing, drycleaning, or allows both. Second, if the vest means a lot to you, and you want the "easy" way out, take it to the best drycleaner in town and talk directly to the manager or owner to get a prognosis.

Assuming you want to try removal on your own, and the stain is smaller than a dime, and its latex paint:

Test a very small area of the stain with a Q-Tip and soapy water. Blot the stain until it softens. Allow the Q-Tip to remain on the stain for a full minute. (If it doesn't soften or bleed at all, then the paint is probably Oil and you should take the vest to the cleaners. Seriously!)

If the paint does start to bleed, then it's latex (not oil). If it seems to be working, then re-dip the Q-Tip in soapy water, and repeat the process until the paint completely stops bleeding.

Once it's stopped, try Spray and Wash or some other soapy stain remover, then blot with a dry white cloth until it's mostly dry.

You are taking a chance by washing it — as the stain may not come out — so AIR DRY the vest and then re-inspect it once it's dry. If it's better, but not completely out, then repeat the whole process.

I hope this helped. If not, or you are too concerned about trying it in the first place, entrust it to the drycleaner or call me directly at 303.443.3232

Good luck,

Steve Boorstein — The Clothing Doctor

Hi, I wore my mother's 100% cotton fuchsia shirt yesterday. I use arm & hammer baking soda for deodorant. It was unseasonably hot and when I began perspiring purple circles formed in the arm pits. Please tell me there's something I can do to save her favorite shirt. She always dry cleans it. Thank you.

- Ciel

Answer: Hi Ciel, thanks for writing. Perspiration stains are the number one garment killer, especially in warmer months. The purple "color change" under the arms is very common. I would pre-treat the underarms with a water/detergent mix ASAP.

  • Use a worn toothbrush to gently work the solution into the underarms before washing. Wash the blouse as hot as you can, without it fading or bleeding.
  • Be SURE to air dry (not in the dryer), so the heat will not "set" the underarm stains if they do not come out.
  • If the purple rings still show, you can soak the blouse in color-safe bleach for 30 minutes, which may remove the last trace of the stain.
  • Lastly, if you do not feel comfortable doing this yourself, then take the blouse to the BEST drycleaner in your area and show then the color change. They may be able to reverse the purple lines with the proper chemical.
Good Luck,

Steve — The Clothing Doctor

Was eating a salad with oil/vinegar. Got 3 spots on red t-shirt. it wa pre-treated with shout spray. It was cold wash/do not tumble dry (drip dry it said). By accident ended up in dryer on low. stain is still there. any thoughts?

- will

Answer: Hi Will,

The best part is that you identified the stain as oil/vinegar. If you remember science class, you will recall that oil and water do NOT mix! We are under the misconception that Shout and other commercial stain removers (that work well on water-based stains) will also remove oily stains. In most cases this is not accurate!

The good news is that you washed it cold and did NOT tumble dry it! Your only option is to have the shirt drycleaned. I know it seems like overkill to pay to have a T-shirt drycleaned, but it is your only hope. The cold water wash may compromise complete removal, but there's a very good chance that it will work. You can ask them not to "press" it, which may save you a few bucks!

Good luck,

Steve — The Clothing Doctor

I left my yellow hat in the wash with my whites and it bled leaving my clothes with yellow spots. I dried the items before I realized my error. I tried washing in oxy-clean and it did no good. The majority of the clothes are white cotton so I assume I can bleach them. I am not sure of: 2 100% polyester running shirts, a linen button up, 100% cotton and Poly/cotton blend chef coats with embroidering, a cotton polo with gray embroidering, and a 100% cotton off-white. What can I do?
- Nate

Answer: Hi Nate, very sorry to hear this. Dye transfer and dye bleeding are both difficult to restore, especially with colored items. First, drying the garments does not help your cause, as you already know. And yellow dye can be stubborn, but at least it's not green or blue! You have a few choices:

  • Rit Dye Remover should help to remove the dye from your white garments, followed by bleaching to remove the last trace of yellow. You can even use the Rit with a Q-Tip on specific yellow spots.
  • Polyester workout gear is trickier. You can read the instructions, but Rit can sometimes work with colored items, in the right strength, in the right water temp, for the right amount of time. But, you may want to show the colored garments to the "best" drycleaner in your area to get an opinion from them.
  • If you try all this on your own, take it a step at a time; run one shirt through the whole process before starting on the next!

Nate, keep in mind that I am available to help you — and all college students — through this process. Lastly, we sell a product on our website called Dye Lock. If you had used one of these strips to "lock-in" the dyes before washing, you may not have had the yellow dye problem, so think about buying a pack of these. Each strip lasts 25-30 washings (which is probably more than you do in a year!).

Best of luck,
Steve — The Clothing Doctor

My girlfriend washed a new multi-colored shirt of hers that was supposed to be hand-washed in cold water, and she washed it in warm water and the blue ran into the yellow! Is there any way for her to get the blue out of the yellow? Thank you, Fred

Answer: Fred, I am sorry to hear that! I hope it didn't bleed onto anything else. There are a few possibilities, but none are guaranteed. If this shirt is important to you, you may want to consult a GOOD drycleaner:

First, rewash in warm water (to loosen dyes)
You could try a RIT Dye to "separate or strip" out the blue dye. This is tricky and may take some experimentation.
You could check with the store where it was purchased, as warm water should not have bled the dyes, unless the dyes were unstable in the beginning.

I hope this helps! - Steve - The Clothing Doctor

Hello. I washed a load of white cotton shirts and threw then in the dryer, but because they did not dry completely, I threw in the next load that needed to be dried too. However the second load was a mix of jeans and other darks. I noticed that my whites now have what looks like dye from the jeans have rubbed on the whites. How can I removed the transferred dye from the whites? Thanks!

- Candice

Answer: Candice, sorry to hear about your dye woes! It's good that the tainted shirts are white, because white is the easiest color to restore. I would do the following:

  • Pre-treat the dyed spots with whatever stain remover you have, but Spray & Wash is good for that. Let it sit on the dye for 5-10 minutes. Re-apply if it's working.

  • Re-wash the white shirts as hot as possible —but don't tumble dry

  • If the dye is still there after air drying, then buy some RIT Dye Stripper (or Dye Remover) and follow the directions.

  • If the "loose" dye still remains after the RIT, then soak the shirts in hot water and color-safe bleach for 30-60 minutes. You can use a bucket or a sink for soaking.

  • This should remove all the rest of the dye. If not, then write me back or call me directly at 800.300.9975

    Hope this helps!
    Steve Boorstein — The Clothing Doctor

    So I spilled beans from a burrito on a sweatshirt, and then I washed it after pre-treating the stain with stain remover I bought at the store. After taking it out of the dryer, the stain is still lightly there. Is there hope for the stain to still come out, if so how do I get it out, and if not then could I get it to fade? Also the sweatshirt is faded/worn black and the stain is a dark dark black.

    - Tiffany Coleman

    Answer: Tiffany, thanks for writing. First of all, remember the golden rule ... NEVER tumble dry anything with a stain or soil. If it doesn't come out in the wash, then you have helped to "set" the stain by drying it! Okay, since you stated that the stain is very dark (and maybe blotchy), I'm guessing that the part you are seeing is actually oil or grease from the Burrito. The "water-based" part of the stain washed out in the machine, and the oily part did not.

    It may seem like overkill, for an old garment, but I would have it drycleaned. If the dark area remains after that, then it's either a set stain, or it will respond to mild bleaching. To try bleaching (after drycleaning), I would fill a bucket or sink with 4-5" of hot water and Oxiclean Versatile—or a color-safe bleach—and soak it for 30-60 minutes. Either drycleaning or soaking should get it out!

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    I sat in what I think is softened caramel candy while in my favorite jeans. I used a fork to gently pull the melted candy out of the jeans with limited success. I tried ice on the candy to harden it, no luck in getting it out. I'm afraid to use a blow dryer to warm it up but I'm afraid it will become more sticky. Any help? They're my favorite jeans, sadly. Thanks

    - Lisa Tuders

    Answer: Hi Lisa, you have a few options; you can try a small amount of "Goof Off" or Goo Gone" with a Q-Tip or toothbrush—just on the affected area. This should dissolve the sticky stuff. Then rewash; or you simply dryclean them, and that should remove the sticky matter!

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    I am having a problem removing stains from my clothing. I think they're clean when I get them out of the washer, but sure enough when I take them out of the dryer they have dirty looking blotches on them that have set in the fabric and I can't remove them.

    - Kathryn

    Answer: Hi Kathryn, this is a tricky thing to answer without seeing the garment, but I will give you the basics: Oily stains usually don't come out in the washer (especially food oils vs. bike grease), so they show up as BLOTCHY marks (they could need drycleaning) ; Never tumble ANY clothing that has stains. Air dry/drip dry all stained clothing, so you can inspect it. If the stain did come out, then just re-wet or rewash, but at least you will have fewer stains that become set by tumble drying. If you need more information on this, visit

    Good luck, The Clothing Doctor

    I use Dynamo or Ajax or other inexpensive detergent for my teenage boys. Several times with a blue t-shirt, around the front collar, there has been some discoloration. It also happened on the front of other gray and blue t-shirts. Can a teen's sweat cause color to come out of fabric? Can body oils or sweat cause any of this? I keep bleach far away and don’t use it. Thank you for any help.

    - Francine Mauro

    Answer: Hi Francis, thanks for writing. Discolorations can be difficult to identify because there are so many variables, from personal hygiene habits to weird machine-based stains. A few examples that may have contributed to your discolorations: Body oils, perspiration, hair care products, acne medicine, and some colognes can cause discolorations. You want to wash these shirts as hot as possible, with a quality detergent. If you still can't figure it out, go to and email us a digital picture of the discoloration.

    I hope this helps: The Clothing Doctor

    I caught a bike as it was rolling down the stairs and got bike grease on a pale yellow cashmere sweater. I can't take it to the dry cleaner's until tomorrow; should I do something now or leave it alone until tomorrow?

    - Lujk

    Answer: Lujik, Sorry for the late response, but, yes, you should take it to the drycleaner, and I would not try anything at home unless it's a very small spot. But anything YOU do will probably reduce your cleaner's chance of removal.

    Best - The Clothing Doctor

    I have a 98% polyester 2% spandex black jacket that was in a hanging bag in front of a 100% polyester yellow dress. Both are costumes for my daughter's dance recital in one week. It seems the jacket has somehow left black marks on the the dress. The hanging bag was hanging on the inside of a door to my laundry room where it gets hot sometimes b/c of the dryer. I have tried everything I can think of to get the marks out with no luck. Any suggestions?

    - Tracy

    Answer: Tracy, it's hard to know the real cause without seeing the garments, but i'm going to guess that it's a case of "fume fading." Vapors actually lift the dyes from one garment to the other, if they are in close proximity. Of course, it may be a totally different issue, but it does sound like dye, nonetheless. Removing black dye from yellow is very hard. However, the fact that it's poly fabric may make it easier. Still, I believe you will have to consult the BEST drycleaner in your area to try and resolve. Feel free to send me a digital photo if you'd like some personal feedback.

    Good Luck - The Clothing Doctor

    I do racewalking and all of my exercise tops are getting a big stain under the arms - it looks almost black and my favorite color of exercise top is pink! Should I just throw the soiled ones out?

    - Cori

    Answer: Cori, first of all, make sure that you rinse the underarms with a soapy solution as soon as you take the top off. I would use an old toothbrush to lightly "scrub" the area, and then wash, as instructed, ASAP. I would then wash in the best detergent and the hottest water the care label allows. And then AIR DRY to make sure the stains come out before drying, if you dry at all. If the stains do not come out, write directly and I'll help you!

    Good luck - The Clothing Doctor

    I tried to scrub a stain out of my brand new orange linen blouse without realizing it was "dry clean only." Now, the color has faded in the areas I had scrubbed. Is there a way the color can be restored? I'd hate to have to throw away the blouse since it's brand new and was quite expensive; however, I will not be able to wear it due to the significant color fading to the front. What options do I have? Thanks!

    - Cristin

    Answer: Cristin, you have probably done irreversible damage, as linen (and orange) can lose color and surface fibers very quickly, especially if you were scrubbing a colored stain or an oily stain. I would take it to a drycleaner that knows how to use "dye pads, colored pencils, and mineral oil." The technician should be able to discern the condition, and possibly restore some of the color. But, it may be a lost cause. In the future, you should never RUB a fabric in hope of removing a stain. "Mechanical Action," as we call it, almost always "pulls" color. Good luck!

    The Clothing Doctor - Steve Boorstein

    I recently discovered some vomit stains on my daughter's dry clean only, polyester dress after she became really sick at a dance. She spot cleaned it with water the day of, but only just told me about the stains. If the stains were made nearly a month ago, is it still possible to get the stains removed, and how?
    - Joyce

    Answer: Joyce, I would inspect the dress in bright light. If it seems pretty trashed, then I'd show it to your drycleaner. However, it will probably need washing—which they can do. If it is simply designed (no flowers, stones, etc,) you may be able to wash it and AIR DRY it yourself! I hope that helps!

    Steve Boorstein - The Clothing Doctor

    The last half dozen or so washes of my whites have come out with random yellow on various pieces (and I mean bright yellow, not yellowing of armpit stains and the like). It comes out with bleach but it keeps happening. There are no stains prior to washing, I only use detergent and softener, like I've been doing for years; I'm not using any kind of bleach or any other product. Is there possibly something wrong with my washing machine?
    - June Thompson

    Answer: June, this is a very hard problem to solve without first seeing the yellow stains. You could take a photo and email it to us at clothing doctor. My first thought was rust, but that doesn't come out with bleach. My second thought was oily stains, but they do not come out with bleach, either. And you inspect these before washing, so you know that they were not there before washing? I wish I could do more for you, but at least the stains come out with bleach—which I hope you first dilute!!

    Steve Boorstein - The Clothing Doctor

    I recently wore a brand new, 100% combed cotton white shirt with graphic print on the front over a neon pink undershirt. The undershirt had been regularly worn and washed for a while before this, so I didn't think about color transfer; however, I sweat a little and my new shirt came out with pink armpit rings. What should I do to fix the pink and keep the print safe?
    - Alexis

    Answer: Alexis...Perspiration can upset and loosen dyes, like the pink you mentioned. I would pre-treat the rings with Spray n' Wash, or some other product and then rewash. I'd AIR DRY the white shirt so as not to set the stains. If they get better, but don't come out completely, I'd soak the shirt in a OxiClean Versatile or some type of color-safe bleach. It can soak in the sink for an hour, if needed. As for the print undershirt, I'd rewash, as hot as allowed and then soak in OXI. Let us know if you still have issues!

    Steve Boorstein - The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I got a zipper which is white with blue stipes and I washed and dye has ran on to the white. Is there any way of removing as I just bought this and it's very expensive.
    - Berni Small

    Answer: Hi Berni, I'd like to give you a quick answer, but I have questions! But here goes ... I don't know if this is a zipper, all alone, or if it's part of a garment and sewn into it. Either way, it should not have bled. It's possible that rewashing, or dye stripping would help, but it's really something that should be taken back to the fabric store or retailer. The zipper could be removed and stripped of the blue dye, but that can also be very expensive. Write back or call us directly if you need further assistance.

    The Clothing Doctor

    I find amber colored stains randomly on my clean laundry. The only thing I can think of that these stains resemble is earwax. I have to put hydrogen peroxide in my ears regularly to prevent buildup of earwax, but I wash my ears out in the shower immediately afterwards. Could earwax somehow be ending up in my laundry or do you have any other theory as to what this might be? Thanks!
    - Ken Rosenberg

    Answer: Earwax can cause some yellowish stains. Wax is easily removed in drycleaning, but not so easy in the the wash unless the water temp is 140 degrees or so. I would try one piece in drycleaning to see if that removes it. If not, then it's probably not wax. Ask the cleaner to clean only, do NOT press, as it will save you money!

    The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I got vaseline on a shirt of mine that is made out of satin and it left a stain. I have tried almost everything to get it out except dry cleaning and the shirt is fairly new. How do I get rid of stains caused by vaseline for future reference?


    Answer: Jasmine, first of all, drycleaning is the first choice with ALL oily stains, other than car grease. If you haven't set the stain, removed it, or "pulled the color," then dryclean and the Vasoline should come right out!

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    I purchased a new sliver gray shirt from Armani and it contained a yellow bill in its pocket. Disastrous part is it got washed and the yellow color blended with my new shirt. I gave it to be dry washed thrice but no happy results. The stain is still there- loud and bold. Can you please help me?

    - Rishi Raj Shukla

    Answer: Rishi, sorry to hear that! I've known for years about the yellow dye from charge receipts, but it's usually only a problem with laundered shirts (not dry cleaned). I'm guessing that they washed it. I would check on that for the future. I think your only option is to contact a high-quality cleaner and to speak with the owner or manager. They may have the skills to "strip" out the yellow dye, without ruining the gray—but it's tricky and may not work. Do you know such a cleaner? If not, contact me directly, off the Clothesline and I will help you personally.

    Best, Steve

    I spilled salad dressing on my pants, what should I do?

    - Bill

    Answer: Bill, some salad dressing comes out in the washer, but most are of an oily nature and require drycleaning first. I don't know the fabric of the pants, the size of the stain or if you already tried washing them. But, if they are valuable, then I'd confer with a drycleaner, before washing them.

    Best, Steve — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I washed a red shirt that had white letters printed on it. It was the waxy letters that melt when you put them in the dryer. Well I washed the shirt once and the the second time I washed it the letters turned pink. Can I make the letters white again?
    - Sarah

    Answer: Hi Sarah, that's a good question, and hard to answer without seeing it first. Just wondering if you washed it cold? You could try re-washing, if you haven't already, but it could take some intense "spot" removal, on just the white letters. If you want to send me a phone pic of the letters I may be able to give you better advice.

    Best - Steve

    I spilled Mayo on one of my white hoodies a while ago. I didn't notice the stain until I wore the hoodie on Tuesday. It is my favorite one and I don't know how to remove the stain. I have tried everything and nothing is working. What do i do?

    - Moe

    Answer: Hi Moe, mayo can come out in the wash with pre-treatment, though cotton is very absorbent. Mayo is also oily, which doesn't come out in the wash easily. If you have already washed and dried (as you mentioned trying "everything"), then I would go to a cheap drycleaners and point out the stain. Ask them to dryclean, NOT wash, and it may come out even at this late date!

    Good Luck - The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I wore my favorite pair of sweatpants (a light grey color) over the weekend, and today while sifting through my laundry I have discovered some dry blood stains on them. I use Tide Pods when I do laundry, so I don't have a detergent I can directly put on the clothing. Is there anything I can do to get this stain out? Thanks so much!!!

    - September

    Answer: September, I would try re-washing and air drying one more time. Then I would try some 3% Peroxide, which you can get from a drug store or grocery. A few drops will cause the blood to foam. If that doesn't do it, then I would try a Q-tip of Ammonia with some detergent. If that doesn't work then I would try the Peroxide and the Ammonia together, which forms a mild bleach. It could lighten the gray color or even fade the color, but it's a common remedy for blood!

    Best - The Clothing Doctor

    Hey, I washed my babys conforter today with out looking at the tag. It was dry clean only and the pink faded on the white. Is there any way to get it out? Do I need to take it to the dry cleaners? Thanks

    - Betsy

    Answer: Betsy, this is a tough one, and I'm sorry that you've had this problem. You can either try re-washing and air drying yourself, or you could take it to the BEST drycleaner in your area. They might be able to use a dye stripper to remove the pink stains, but it could lighten the pink or ruin it completely. Call me directly if you would like more information. 800.300.9975

    Good Luck —The Clothing Doctor

    How do you get deodorant stains out of clothing?

    - Tracy

    Answer: Hi Tracy, I am guessing that the garments have already been washed or drycleaned, and the deo stains still remain? I'm assuming that the garment is dark in color, so the whitish residue shows? If the garment is washable, then the stains should come out in the wash cycle, especially if you pre-treat them with a soft toothbrush and detergent before you wash. If it's a dryclean only fabric, and possibly dark, and possibly acetate or some synthetic fiber, then you could try a "deo brush" that removes surface stains. Visit this link to see a sample:

    I Hope this helps!
    The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I have a suit which has vomit on it. Just wondering what's best practice for removing the vomit since it's a dry clean only garment? Thanks!
    - Raymond

    Answer: Hi Raymond, while you might think it advantageous to remove some of the mess on your own, other than a gentle wipe down with a damp sponge (if it's a "hard" wool"), it's best to leave it to the drycleaner. You may encounter a special spot-removal fee. Good luck!

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi! I spilled refried beans mixed with sour cream on my sweatshirt. What's the best way to clean this to make sure it doesn't stain? Thanks, Ann
    - Ann

    Answer: Ann, it's mostly a washable situation, but it shouldn't be dried because the heat may set the stains, making them harder to remove. There is a slight chance that some of the stain is oily, which typically doesn't come out in the wash. If the sweatshirt means a lot to you, you may want to have it drycleaned to remove the oil, and then washed (and maybe bleached, as mentioned below) to remove the food coloring. You did not mention the color of the sweatshirt, but unless it's very dark, you will probably have stains that remain after washing. If so, you will probably want to soak it in the hottest water possible, along with some color safe bleach, such as Clorox for Colors, or some such product. You can soak it for up to an hour.

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    My navy suit jacket lining bled ( transfer dye ) to the underarms of my white silk blouse...... Help! It is faint but definately stained. do I remove it!!!!!! Thanks
    - Ann Burke

    Answer: Ann, I have seen this too many times to count. It's the perspiration that bled the dye from the jacket lining. I would take the blouse to the BEST drycleaner in town. They will "spot-treat" the underarm of the blouse, and maybe remove the "transfer" dye in the process, without the need for dye strippers. You may want them to spot-treat the navy lining of the jacket so it will be less likely to bleed again, under the sam sweaty conditions!

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I bought a cream/black cocktail dress and had it hand washed without using it first. However, when it dried, the black color stained to the cream-colored part of the dress. Now there are some patches of black stain in front and back of the dress. What should I do? Is there any way to remove them? I hope you can help me because I've never wore the dress before and I'll use it for a special occasion. Thanks in advance.

    - Cheryl Salvador

    Answer: Cheryl, I first have to ask if it has a wash label, as some dyes—depending on the fabric content—can bleed in washing. It's possible to remove the blotched areas, but it may require removing the trim that bled, stripping the dye, and then resewing the darker trim. I would call The Clothing Doctor at 800.300.9975 for more info!

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I have just washed a black and cream dress. The black has run into the cream, making it very discolored. What can I do?

    - Jill Oliver

    Answer: Jill, just like Cheryl, I first have to ask if it has a wash label, as some dyes—depending on the fabric content—can bleed in washing. It's possible to remove the blotched areas, but it may require removing the trim that bled, stripping the dye, and then resewing the darker trim. I would call The Clothing Doctor at 800.300.9975 for more info!

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    I spilled pizza sauce on my new grey American Eagle hoodie. I was able to get the stain out of the cotton but it is still stained on the white lettering and I don’t know how to get it off. I have tried oxi stain remover, and Dawn dish soap but the stain has not even faded.

    - Traci

    Answer: Traci, is the lettering white? Is it that soft, thick texture (opposed to absorbent cotton? It may require some spot bleaching or spot dye stripping.

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, So I'm new to washing clothes and I just now realized the importance to not ripping the tags off comforters because they have the instructions on how to wash them. I ripped the tags off my daughters brand new Disney princess comforter and I washed it and when I took it out of the dryer it has a yellow stain on it that feels like cardboard. I'm sure it has something to do with the dryer and the heat but how do I fix it?
    - Skyller

    Answer: Skyller, I'm familiar with the comforters, but it's hard to know the problem without seeing it or getting more information. I'm betting that you did nothing wrong by washing and drying it, except to inspect the comforter for stains BEFORE drying! You can call us, or send a photo, but it seems like something either stained the area—causing it to turn yellow and hard—or something got stuck to it. The stiff area might be treatable. Short of calling or sending a photo, I'd visit the best drycleaner in town for advice.

    How can I get a wine/drink stain out of a pink polyester evening gown that has already been dry cleaned?
    - Kathy

    Answer: Kathy, did you ask the drycleaner to re-treat the wine stain? I'd try that first. Wine can usually come out of polyester. What color is the gown, and does it contain stones, beads or other ornamental embellishments?

    Let me know—
    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    Hello Doctor, Months ago one of my sweaters got spilled with root beer, I did not act quickly and let the stain dry for days because I wanted to take it to the cleaners, but I was short on money. I washed the sweater once, but the stain never came out, is there anything I can try?
    - Joe

    Answer: Joe, I don't know the fabric content, but you could soak it in color-safe bleach for an hour or so. That may lighten the soda and break down the aged sugar from the soda. If it improves, repeat the process.

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    After bringing some dress shirts home from the cleaners, I noticed a pink tinge on some of the collars. The dry cleaners say that it is not their fault and they don't know what caused it, but it wasn't there when we took them in. Any ideas? Thanks for any advice.
    - Laura

    Answer: Laura, are these shirts white, and could the pink be either yellowish or from makeup? Discoloration on collars usually comes from make-up, perspiration or perfume (discolors with heat and pressing). I would need to know more to really help you, but I would rewash the shirts as hot as possible, and then soak in color-safe bleach, if still stained.

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    My husband washed my WHITE polyester/ spandex jacket along with his BLACK jacket. Mine, sadly came out with MANY splotches of black on it. We have put it through the wash again, with not much change. How can we save this?
    - Stephanie

    Answer: Stephanie, you would probably have to re-wash the jacket in the hottest water allowed by the care label, and then AIR DRY it, so as not to set the dye anymore. However, if you followed the care instructions for the black jacket and it failed in washing, then you might have a case to return it to the retailer (and manufacturer). If none of this works, then I would take the 2 jackets to the BEST drycleaner in town for their opinion.
    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    I recently bought a hot-pink suit jacket and packed it in my suit case. I did not put the jacket in any kind of protective covering. When I took it out, directly on the front was a small brown spot. I thought it was dirt that may have come from shoes. I gently rubbed the spot. It is not as prominent but it is not completely gone. The tag says dry clean only-I did not want to put any kind of water or chemical on the spot before asking. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
    - Alexis

    Answer: Alexis, you made the right decision NOT to proceed. Since it means so much to you, I would take it directly to the best dry cleaner in your area to let them assess the spot. Hopefully your "gentle" rubbing did not cause any fiber damage or color loss. A good cleaner will have a myriad of tests they can run to determine the nature of the stain.
    The Clothing Doctor

    I have a 35% cotton/65% polyester jacket that has a large automotive oil stain on it. Have washed it using oxiclean and another time with dawn but stain persists. Only air dried. What do you suggest? Please help.
    - John Middleton

    Answer: John, I would have told you from the start to have the jacket drycleaned (if it has a dryclean label), as drycleaning solution easily removes most oils, including motor oil. At this point—given that the wash and OXI could have "set" the stain, I would tell the drycleaner what you did, in detail, and then allow them to "run" the jacket to see if they can remove more of the stain.
    The Clothing Doctor

    Please help!! I washed my son’s black cotton shirt and the white lettering on the front and back (but not on his sleeves for some reason) came out pink. I washed it with other black clothing, no colors, and I also dried it before realizing what happened. I feel was a hockey shirt from his coaches. Is their anything that can be done?
    - Mary

    Answer: Mary, I can take a stab at this, but really need to speak with you to actually help! I need to know if the lettering is "puffy" and somewhat soft, or simply silk screened onto the shirt; is the lettering on the sleeves the exact same as the the lettering on the front? My number is 303.443.3232

    About a year ago now, I was at a function where an entire beer was dropped on me and my favorite mint H&M dress of polyster. I took it to the (eco)drycleaners twice now, but the stain is still there. Because I have a wringer in my machine, I'm afraid it will get damaged. Would you recommend getting it professionally laundered or having it dry cleaned with chemicals? Thanks very much.
    - L.A.

    Answer: L.A., beer contains sugars and other food particles, like alcohol, that can age and caramelize a fabric. This means that the stain may have set. However, if the fabric CAN be wetcleaned, a skilled drycleaner may be able to restore it ... Beer is a water-based stain, so the dress will need water to hopefully remove it. Please let me know if I can be of further help.

    Best - Steve, The Clothing Doctor

    Hi my sons 100% navy wool suit (dry clean only) has quite a few blood stains on it should I do anything myself or just take suit to dry cleaners in morning? Thank You
    - Cathy

    Answer: Cathy, it depends on the amount of blood, the location of the blood—if you've done anything to it yet—and the age of the blood. Most blood stains will come out of navy wool, but the lining can be a challenge. Blood does NOT come out in drycleaning, so the suit will require a lot of "hand work" and personal attention, depending on the amount of blood. Question the drycleaner you choose to make sure they've had experience with blood stains of this magnitude.

    Best - The Clothing Doctor

    I got a stain on a sweater that is dry-clean only. Forgot it was dry-clean only and when I got home, sprayed the spot with a stain-remover before I remembered. It's cranberry juice. I have an at-home dry-cleaner kit with a stain remover. Can I use that? Or can I take it to the dry-cleaners? What does using a pre-wash stain remover do to a item that is dry-clean only? I haven't put it through the wash.
    - Lori J Berry

    Answer: Lori, some sweaters, and other "dryclean only" fabrics can withstand a home stain remover. I could tell you if the sweater could be drycleaned if I knew more, but you can still take the sweater to be drycleaned, even with the stain remover in the fabric. I would, however, be sure to tell someone "in the know" at the drycleaners that you did apply the stain remover on the cranberry juice.
    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    My daughter’s clothes went through the wash with a battery and now there are black stains all over her clothes. Is there a method that works to get these stains out?
    - Christina

    Answer: Hi Christina, if the garments are worth the effort and price, a drycleaner should be able to remove the black stains. You could also try doing it at home with Spray & Wash and a Rust Remover. But be sure to air dry the clothing, so stains are not set! If you're not comfortable doing this, then consult a cleaner.
    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    White sweater got into dark wash. Not white anymore. Can it be cleaned back to white somehow?
    - Patti

    Answer: Patti, sorry to hear of your troubles. You didn't mention the fabric of the sweater, which might help me decipher if the black would come out. Still, it's a tough one to restore ... It will definitely need a dye-stripper and rewashing. Personally, if the sweater is a valuable part of your wardrobe, I would take it to the BEST drycleaner in town, as they probably have the skills to do the work.

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    I filled several heavy duty, vacuum-type sealed storage bags with clean garments. They were stored about 2 years. The armpits on some of the white shirts had a light orange/brown ring under them. What caused this? Is there a way to remove the stain?
    - Deanna

    Answer: Deanna, yellowed or discolored underarms are usually a result of perspiration that has NOT been removed completely and has "oxidized" or aged—hence taking on color. If you perspired in a garment, and did not wash it after wearing or if it was washed but not completely stain free, then discolorations like you describe can appear, especially after prolonged storage. Since the garments are white (and presumably cotton), you could load a sink with hot water, add detergent and color-safe bleach, and allow then to soak for an hour or so. To be safe, you could air dry them after bleaching and rewashing, just to make sure the stains came out before putting in the dryer. Please let me know if I can help any other way?

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, my 17 year old daughter has a bright red jacket which is 65% polyester / 35% cotton. Every time she wears it, the color transfers to either her clothes, hand-bag or skin! It's been washed 3 times (on gentle, in cold water) but the problem still exists. Is there anything that can be done or should she throw it away.
    - Jen

    Answer: Jen, first of all, I would rewash it, alone—or with other red colors, as hot as possible. Cold water does not help to keep dyes from fading. I know all about the problem you're describing, but honestly, the garment should go back to the retailer, as it should not be bleeding or rubbing off on other clothing, especially a poly blend. It may be too late now, if it's not new, but the manufacturer should get it back!

    Best - Steve, The Clothing Doctor

    Hi. I recently purchased and washed a new comforter. The comforter is made up of three colors: white, brown, and sage green. The white is a rectangle in the middle that is surrounded by a brown border. After washing and drying it in a friends front loader I noticed that there are light pink stains on the outside of the white rectangle near the brown border. Is there any way I can fix it? Thank you. I can email pictures of it if that would be helpful.
    - Christina

    Answer: Christina, every question today is about dye bleed or transfer. Honestly, if it's new, and it failed in the fist washing, then it needs to be returned. Period. Short of rewashing and drying (as the label directs), then the cure will cost you to much money and hassle. Take it BACK, it's the only way the retailer will know they are selling poorly-made products! You can email a pic to

    Best - Steve, The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I have a couple of stains on my white 100% cotton dress. I have had the dressed dry cleaned but unfortunately they have not come out! It looks like the stains are coco cola!
    - Emma

    Answer: Emma, can the dress be washed? Can you soak it in a sink of color safe bleach, like Clorox 2? Many stains that you describe can be improved with this process. By the way, does the coke stain have a ring or outline around the perimeter? If it does, then the stain is probably water-based, like cola. If it does NOT have a ring (even a thin one) around the stain, then it may be oily, but then it should have come out in the drycleaning process.

    Best - Steve, The Clothing Doctor

    Hello, I bought a 100% polyester "faux silk" blue robe and put it in the dryer to get the wrinkles out. When I took it out, it had slightly darker streaks and spots all over it. I did not wash it first and only had it in the dryer for about 20 minutes. The tag says it can be tumble dried on low. How can I get rid of the steaks? Thanks.
    - Shannon

    Answer: Shannon, It's hard to diagnose from here, but it's like computers: if it doesn't work, re-boot it! So, try washing the robe and then re-tumbling. If that doesn't remove the streaks, then it should go back to the retailer.

    Best - The Clothing Doctor

    I got BBQ sauce on my blue silk blouse that says dry clean only. I put water on the spots. Will this discolor the fabric or should I put the entire shirt in water and hang it to dry? Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
    - Blue

    Answer: Blue, as long as you did NOT rube the spots with a napkin (towel) and water, you should be ok, as far as discoloration. You should know, however, that putting water on an unknown stain (when it could be oily), is not a good thing. Water-based stains have a ring around the stain, and oily stains do not! BBQ can be a blend; the color is water based, but the recipe is probably oily, so dry-clean if needed and do NOT tumble if you wash it yourself.

    Best - The Clothing Doctor

    I bought a dress from a boutique to wear to a concert. Its an off-white with thick, bright red lace from the shoulders down to line the v-neck. The care tag says 100% polyester, machine wash cold, do not bleach, tumble dry low. I wore it for the first time and I was caught in the rain running from my car to the venue, and the red lace bled. The lining is pink and there is dark bleeding around the lace and underneath. It has air dried and I have not done anything yet. Please help.
    - Tori

    Answer: Hello Tori, first of all, I'm sorry to hear about your dye problem. Given that it has redeye on white, am not surprised it bled. However, polyester is NOT supposed to bleed, or if it does, it should "wash out."

    I would follow the care label, assuming that it's supposed to be washed, and see if the dye is removed in the wash cycle. If not, and you haven't done anything wrong, it MUST go back to the retailer, as the maker needs to know that the red dye is NOT stable in water, or from water in the form of rain. Please ket me know if there's anything more I can do to help!

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    Are all detergents effective or do the more expensive ones clean better?

    Answer: No, you usually get what you pay for. But unless the clothing is very soiled (use Tide) or very delicate (use The Laundress), most “average” detergents will do the job.

    I have a neon shirt (100% cotton) that had a spot on it that I sprayed with Shout. It was washed and dried when I noticed that the spot is still there and you can see the area where the Shout was sprayed. I have washed it again and let it soak but it is still there. Is there a way to get it out?
    - Monica

    Answer: Monica, while cotton is very absorbent, and neon colors accentuate that, Shout can leave a residue because of the absorbency. Still, I have to ask; is there any chance that the stain is oily? Is there a clear ring around the stain, or is it nebulous or "cloudy" looking … with no clear outline? I would try two things: first, try to discern if the stain is oily. If it is, then drycleaning would probably remove the stain. If it's water-based, then a 30-60 minute soak in color-safe bleach (like OxiClean Versatile) should lighten what ever remains. I hope this helps! If not, call or write.

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    I have a purple pencil skirt from JCrew for work that a Clorox wipe dripped on. I immediately blotted it so the spots are just faintly discolored but enough to be noticeable. Is there something I can do to either lighten the rest of the skirt or make the spots less noticeable? The skirt is 100% cotton.
    - Kate

    Answer: Kate, Clorox is extremely alkaline, and it can remove color from fabric in a moments time, as you've seen. Chemistry says that if you flush the bleach from the fabric with water, and then apply a drop of acid (the opposite of alkaline), you can sometimes neutralize the color change to go BACK to normal. A gentle acid would be white table vinegar. This does not always work, but it's worth a try. Use just a drop on the end of a Q-Tip and allow it to sit on the fabric for a minute. NOW, vinegar is a If the vinegar turns the fabric a. You did not mention the color of the skirt, but if you neutralize the spots with vinegar, and rewash the skirt, and the color spots have not been removed, then I would try disguising them. This may sound a bit unprofessional, but you could try a lightly touching a colored marker to the discoloration … but be very careful, as markers can be quickly absorbed into cotton and then spread! I hope this helps. Call or write if you need further assistance.

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi. I put my white shorts in the washer with my comforter which is black. I pulled my white shorts out after and they have these strange black marks on them. They aren't a stain my mom says it's because there was too much stuff in the washer. What do I do? always been washed by me. Just got the shorts. Shorts are polyester. Blanket is like cotton or some type of durable material Not wool though. Please help
    - Brenton

    Answer: Brenton, sorry to hear about your problems. Sounds like dye transfer from the comforter … I would start by pretreating the black spots with Spray n Wash (or some similar product) and a light scrub with a soft or worn-out toothbrush. Then rewash the shorts alone, or with other light-colored items. Be sure to AIR DRY the shorts, so you don't "set" the stain by machine drying. If the stains improve, but are not removed, then repeat the process exactly as written. If the dye stains still remain, I suggest a 30-60 minute "soak" in color-safe bleach. This may remove all the remaining residue, but be sure to AIR DRY again. If this process does not completely remove the dye, then write me directly and we'll discuss dye stripping!

    Good luck — The Clothing Doctor

    I got my hair dyed with a temporary die on Thursday evening. On Friday, I wore my favorite white "dry clean only" blazer. On Saturday, I noticed that the blazer had a reddish ring around the collar where the dye had transferred from my hair to the blazer. I can't dry clean the blazer until Monday. What should I do in the meantime? Right now, I just have the collar soaking in water with detergent. Should I remove it? What should I do? Thanks so much!
    - Christina

    Answer: Oh boy … I know it's a little late, but you never want to put water and detergent on a white dry-clean-only item because the stain could spread AND form a ring that drycleaners may not be able to remove—especially when it's a reddish dye. So … I suggest that you find the BEST drycleaner in town (by calling the best clothing store for a referral) and then take it in to the owner or manager of the cleaners to see, firsthand. I'd remove the jacket from water before you leave, and put a clean white towel over the affected area so it won't drip or spread. Call me directly if you have more questions or problems.

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    Every time I get a new sweater and wash it, little puffballs appear and ruin the sweater. What am I doing wrong?

    Answer: I assume you are referring to “pill balls.” Pills often form because of friction; rubbing against a layer of clothing or a piece of furniture, or from rubbing against itself and other garments in the washing machine and dryer. Pills can also form because of the type and length of the yarn, and how “tightly" it is wound. Acrylic, cashmere and merino sweaters are the most susceptible to pill balls!

    To minimize pilling, use mesh wash nets when washing and drying. This will keep the sweater from touching other garments during agitation. Quality also has a lot to do with pilling. Pill balls can often be improved or removed with a battery-operated depiller or a single-edge disposable razor. Depill slowly and check your work regularly, so you don’t thin the sweater too much! Look to the light to see how you are doing.

    Steve, The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I just bought a new shirt with lace-type material around the neckline. The instructions said to tumble dry low, so I tumble dried low, and the detailing around the neckline came out all shriveled. I guess I should have let it air dry, but I was doing what the tag said! Is there a way I can stretch the lace part out again so the material around it isn't all puckered and weird?

    - Chelsea

    Answer: Hi Chelsea,

    Sorry to hear about your troubles. You can re-wet the blouse and then air dry it (versus tumbling). You should lay it flat and then manually "flatten" the crochet bits, as they dry. This may restore some of the body and texture. You may even try an iron, if the care tag allows it (or even of or doesn't).

    If that doesn't work, then the blouse should be returned to the retailer. This may not be possible, but clothing makers and retailers need to know if a garment is defective, or if it cannot withstand the care instructions. Returning the garment may be the only way the retailer will know that the blouse does not adhere to the labeling laws. This care label is actually in violation of the FTC labeling law, so feel good about keeping the manufacturer honest!

    Good luck. Write back if you need further guidance on this matter!

    Steve — The Clothing Doctor

    I have a bunch of nice, career-wear shirts that say "hand wash only" on the tag. This is impossible at college! The sink in my community style bathroom is too gross, and washing it in the shower would make me a weirdo. What's the best way to clean these shirts using a washing machine?

    - Chelsea

    Answer: Hi Chelsea,

    Thanks for writing. I agree with your assessment — and how hard it is to do "special" treatments on campus. (I live in Boulder, five blocks from the CU campus.) You didn't mention the fabric content, but most clothing that can or "should" be hand washed can also be machine washed on a delicate cycle. If the shirts look like they can withstand machine washing, then they probably can. It's hard to say for sure without seeing them — as there are often exceptions — but this is rarely the case with career shirts! I will list a few concerns and you can take it from there:

    "Hot" colors such as red, deep green, blue, black and purple can bleed onto other garments the first time they are washed, so either hand wash separately, or machine wash alone.

    Garments with stones, beads, and other ornamentation, may need hand washing, but can often be turned inside out and safely machine washed. (You can also buy a few mesh wash nets to help protect ornaments, available at Nets work well for loose socks, bras, and other small items.

    Shirts like this may have a hand wash tag to avoid very hot water or to eliminate tumble drying —especially if they contain lycra/spandex or some other stretch material that weakens in high heat. Tumbling may cause shrinkage or fading, so check the tag for drying instructions and then consider tumble drying on low heat.

    Lastly, if none of this makes sense, then call the manufacturer and ask the tech department. This process is actually easier to do than you'd think, but it might take 15 minutes to get the right phone number!

    Good luck, and write back or call if you need additional help.

    Steve — The Clothing Doctor

    How do I keep my shirt collars flat without ironing?

    - Jeff

    Answer: Hi Jeff,

    I will assume the shirts are made of cotton, as they typically get the most wrinkles. I assume you do not have a small travel iron for your dorm or don't want to buy one? I know ironing can be a pain and you do not have an ironing board. I can offer a few solutions to try, without the use of an iron, but without more information it's hard to be exact.

    You can try smoothing the collars with your hand after washing, and before drying: Allowing the collars to dry in the "smoothed" condition. You may even want to try hanging the shirt and and air drying, as an experiment.

    You could try re-wetting the collar after washing and drying, and then smoothing the collar by hand.

    You could also purchase a travel steamer, small but efficient. it may not work on all wrinkles as well as an iron, but it's quicker. Visit

    Lastly,you may want to ask a fellow female student to help you, as they may have more experience with this dilemma than you!

    Best of luck,

    Steve Boorstein — The Clothing Doctor

    Hello! I am fighting bed bugs and would like to know if freezing my delicate clothing in my home deep freezer can damage them thanks

    - amalia

    Answer: Amalia, I am very sorry to hear that you have problems with bed bugs. Fact is, bed bugs are becoming the number one nuisance and epidemic. The bugs can be killed by exposure to extreme heat or extreme cold — like the cold in the freezer. I've had some experience with this, so I know it's very hard to beat them on your own, without professional help. I think it's best to share these steps so everyone can benefit:

    • Remove all covering or padding from the infected items, such as plastic bags, newspapers or cardboard. (They could aid in insulating the infected items.)

    • Place all affected items that in the freezer.

    • Keep the freezer at a constant temperature below 0 degrees Fahrenheit for two weeks. (Zero Fahrenheit equals -17 Celsius) Do not open freezer for prolonged because any fluctuations could allow bed bugs to "re-heat."

    • Allow two weeks before removing the affected items. Then place the items in an enclosed area, such as a bucket or tub filled with water. (This will trap any living bugs.)

    • If any are still moving around, put the infected items back in the freezer for an additional week.

    This information came from a professional, so I wish you luck!
    Steve — The Clothing Doctor

    I bought a color blocked black and white bodysuit made of 60% poly 40% spandex. I noticed that a ton of my bronzer had gotten on the white parts. The directions said hand wash cold, do not bleach, hang dry. So I did this and it only faded the tan color. I bought oxyclean and sprinkled a little baking soda to "loosen the stain". I let it soak but the white part is still dirty. Tried to hang dry and now-black streaks all over the white! Nonreturnable item-the damage is done! any hope??
    - Helen

    Answer: Hi Helen, bronzer is one of the hardest stains to remove, especially if it's already been washed, so don't be too depressed on that front! The bodysuit may be washable—and the bronzer may wash off your body with soap and water—but it doesn't come out of poly as easily. I would let it dry completely and then take it to the best drycleaner in town. It's possible that some special "spotting" by a professional can still remove the bronzer. It's a bit of a gamble, but the cleaners should be able to assess, and test the stain to give you some sense of removal, for very little fee.

    Best of Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    I just bought a maroon 60% cotton 40% polyester hoodie and washed it for the first time with warm water instead of cold. The maroon bled onto the separate white fabric (which is also on the hoodie) and the white writing is now a pinkish color. Is there anyway I can reverse this?
    - Maya

    Answer: Hi Maya, sorry about your problems, but it's a common occurrence. Restoration can be tricky and difficult, so I'll state, flat out that: IF you followed the wash & care instructions—and it bled as you described—then you should take the garment back to the store. Did the instruction say cold? Bottom line, as I've said before, cold water does not cause bleeding as readily as warm water. You did not mention if you tumbled dry or air dried … With that said, if you can't return it, you can try the following process:

    • Rewash it and tumble dry. If the "fugitive" pink dye washes out, then it's all good.
    • If not, then you could try soaking in color-safe bleach (Clorox 2) for 30-60 minutes to see if that helps remove the pink.
    • If none of this works, and you don't or can't return it to the store, then you could consult a good drycleaner for help.

    All of this may help, but it's probably best to get another hoodie, if that one doesn't bleed, as well.

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    I hand-washed my 100% rayon silky white oriental jacket in the tub today with a little All Free & Clear detergent and something in the detergent picked up the pink color from the lining of the jacket, so now there are pink stripes showing through on the white parts. Is there anything I can do? I'd hate to lose the jacket.
    - Claire

    Answer: Claire, oh boy … First, did the jacket have a dry-clean-only care label? I'm guessing that the lining is darker than the shell, which begs for dye bleed, if it touches water. Now, if it actually had a wash label, then you should take it back to the store. However, if that's not the case and not possibility, then I would consult with the best drycleaner in town about restoration. But, sight unseen, I'm guessing that restoration will either be too expensive or not possible. Many silk jackets and fabrics can be hand washed, but it's often the darker lining that backfires. Let me know if I can be of further help!

    The Clothing Doctor

    Hello, Last night, I was out eating some thai food and got some sriracha sauce on my shirt. It is 80% rayon, 17% nylon and 3% spandex. The satin is about the size of two number on a credit card. When I came home, I tried to put a little bit of detergent over the stain, waited for 2 minutes and ran it under cold water. Parts of the stain seemed to have faded but I can still see a small yellowish stain. What should I do?
    - Aditi

    Answer: Aditi, I'm guessing that the remaining stain is the "oily" portion of the sauce, as water and detergent do not remove oil! As I've said many times before, detergent and water RARELY remove oily food and spills, on ANY fabric, much less on rayon blends. If you believe that a stain could contain oily particles, and you cherish the garment, then you should always try drycleaning first, so the water does NOT set the stain. You can probably dry-clean it now, and still expect the stains to come out. Be sure to tell the drycleaner EXACTLY what you did, thus far.

    The Clothing Doctor

    My husband washed our bedspread (which had been washed twice before). He sprayed some Oxiclean stain fighter on one spot. After being washed and dried the bedspread has pink faded spots in random areas. It almost looks like what bleach would do to fabric, but no bleach was used. I have heard that sometimes yarn isn't dyed all the way through and this causes faded spots? The bedspread is brown and the spots are pink.
    - Daley

    Answer: Daley, it has been my experience, in the last 15 years, that Oxi has not caused stains or discolorations. My guess is that the existing stain, and the rest of the pink spots are unrelated. Trying to identify what caused the spots and subsequent color loss is often time consuming and a crap-shoot process. I wish I had better news. The color loss does sound like the result of bleach (or a latent spill that contained something damaging, resulting in color loss and fading). You can send me a picture, if you like. The only answer I have for you is to try and cover or disguise the areas. I do not know the age of the spread, if you eat or drink in bed, or any other details.

    I hope this helps - The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I have a black hoodie that I took to a gig and from what I gather it was fine in the morning but when I looked at it before I went into the venue, it had a purplish stain/mark on the back which is quite large. I put it on the bench I was sitting on but I'm not sure what it actually is, it looks like either a light paint or a light bleach stain but I don't know where I could have got this. I really love this hoodie, and I don't want it to be ruined :( Thanks
    - Lauren

    Answer: Lauren, if the hoodie is black, then I'm surprised you can even see a purplish stain … a dark stain or splotch, yes. If it's from bleach, the fabric would be light and partially beige or tan. If you'd like to take a pic and send it to, and I will take a look at it for you.

    The Clothing Doctor

    Hi there, I love all of my hoodies. They are my favorite type of clothing, but I have a slight problem. I usually let them hang dry because if I don't, they shrink and the zipper doesn't and it looks really bad. I accidentally put one of my hoodies in the dryer - is there any way to reverse this? And also is there a way to keep colored clothed from fading, like with cotton and polyester mixes? Thanks!

    - John

    Answer: John, first of all, you can re-wet the hoodie—spin it—and then lay it on a towel. Then gently "stretch" or re-block the body to the right size, easing out the fabric in relation to the zipper. Allow it to air dry on the towel, adjusting the shape as it dries. That should help the "injured" hoodie.

    As for the fading, you can use some Oxi-Clean in the next load to help "set" the dyes, washing on the coolest water possible. If the hoodie is black, you can use some Back-to-Black, or some other dark dye restoration product to re-darken. If it's red or some other color, then wash in cooler water and cutdown wash times and agitation to reduce fading. I hope this helps!

    The Clothing Doctor

    Hi! I have a brightly colored coral dress that is dry clean only. It has a stain on it, but I'm not exactly sure what it is. I had the dress dry cleaned twice, but they could not get the stain out. I'm wondering if you have any ideas on what I could do at home. The stain is dark and splotchy, it almost looks like it was sponged on. The dress is 93% cotton and 7% spandex. Thank you!
    - Clare

    Answer: Hi Clare, my first thought on blotchy stains is that it could be oily, but oily stains typically come out in drycleaning … so that's curious. What did the cleaner have to say? Would you like to send me a picture of the discoloration?

    The Clothing Doctor

    I purchased a pair of 7 for All Mankind jeans that fit great when I tried them on (they are 98% Cotton, 2% Spandex). The saleswoman told me not to wash the jeans on hot/warm or dry them, as heat will ruin the elastic. But they have stretched out a LOT and the only way I know how to shrink clothing is to put it in the dryer! How do I keep my jeans the same size as when I purchased them without "ruining the elastic?" I want to be careful since they were expensive. Thanks in advance!

    - Maddie

    Answer: Maddie, I know about these jeans! First of all, the 2% spandex is supposed to minimize bagging and stretching. My question: have you tried washing as instructed, to start? If not, I would wash the jeans, as instructed, and then try them on. By the way, the elastic should not be ruined by one wash in warm water and a casual, warm drying cycle. I would try all this first and then get back to me! Happy holidays :)


    The Clothing Doctor

    I recently washed a brand new maroon shirt that I had only worn once and when I took it out of the washer to hang it for drying I noticed that there were some lighter spots on it, they weren't white spots and I didn't use bleach but they look like a lighter maroon color. This also happens when I was my husbands green shirts and there will be yellow spots on them also! What am I doing wrong?

    Answer: Kristina, thanks for writing. This is a somewhat common problem with cotton shirts, especially with maroon, green, and other deep or rich colors. You did not mention the fabric content, so I'm guessing they are cotton. The reason is not easily answered because of the variables. It sounds like you either spilled or splattered something onto the garments, or there is a presence of some acidic chemical present, either from a body-care product or in the washing formula. "Light" areas or spots of the same color usually result from this type of exposure (If the spots were from bleach they would be whiter).

    Green shirts often form yellow spots, but it's usually because of exposure to a cologne, perfume, hairspray, or some other chemical or spill. You could try to neutralize the color loss by touching the discolored area with a Q-Tip of diluted ammonia, to reverse acidic reaction, if that's what occurred. This is all conjecture because we do not know the origin of the spot, and I can't see it!!

    Good luck. Let me know if you need more help!

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi! I have some red stains on my black cardigan that were caught from mold killer sprays.. Is there a way to remove them? Or should I do a partial dye on the cardigan?
    - Jennifer

    Answer: Jen, I assume you already washed and or dry-cleaned the cardigan? Removing red stains from ANY color, even black, can be hard. If pre-treatment (with a stain remover) did not help, or even get the red to bleed, and you've already rewashed it, then I would consult a professional drycleaner. They can often test the stain to give you some idea of success.

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    Hello, I was in a party last week and some guy broke one of those glow in the dark I have a tshirt whith several glow in the dark stains on it(is a washable cotton sky blue shirt, the paint does no longer glow in the dark but the green stains remained). I tried to wash it but the stains remained in there. What shall I do to remove them?
    - Harry Levine

    Answer: Hi Harry, these stains can be tricky, as some of the dye can be water soluble (as some of it no longer glows, but the dark remains). First of all, I hope you air-dried the T-shirt, as heat can set stains. These sticks contain a number of chemicals, including peroxide (which is a mild bleach). I would make a hot "bath" of water in the sink, tub or bucket, add detergent, and then ADD color-safe bleach, Allow the garment to soak for 3-12 hours. Rinse, AIR DRY, and then reinspect. Let me know how it goes! If it comes out, then rewash, as usual.

    The Clothing Doctor

    I had my boyfriends favorite heather grey Notre Dame hooded sweatshirt on this morning when all the sudden I notice a purple stain on it almost looks like marker...but doesn't seem possible that it could be marker...basically he's going to be so bummed when he found out I ruined his favorite sweatshirt. What should I do?
    - Kristin

    Answer: Kristin, I'm not a shrink, but I think he will understand :) You need to test the mark to know if it might come out. Wet a white cloth (just damp, not dripping), and lightly press it onto the spot, let it absorb for a minute and then see if the purple came off on to the cloth. If it doesn't have been a trace of purple, then add a drop or two of household ammonia to the cloth (or Q-tip) and repeat the process. If the purple STILL does not bleed or appear on the test cloth, then there's probably little you can do at home. In other words, if the marker is NOT water soluble (comes off on wet cloth), then it's probably an oil-based spot in need of professional spot removal and drycleaning. Remember, not ALL stains come out of great heather fabric, like they would out of white fabric. Hope that helps!

    The Clothing Doctor

    If I dyed a jacket in black, the jacket is 100% polyester on the outside and 70% cotton on the inside, will the dye bleed when I wash it? Thank you.

    - Ana J. Pana

    Answer: Hi Ana, thanks for writing. If you haven't dyed clothing before, you are in for an experience! You will find that each fabric reacts to the dye differently. The dyes could also bleed differently. I suggest the following: dye the fabric as hot as possible; rinse each piece after dying; and wash each piece a few times before wearing. This process should tell you if the dyes will bleed onto other clothing. TO TEST: After dying/washing/drying, use a white towel to rub the dyed area. This will tell you if the dyes appear to be "fast."

    Good luck, The Clothing Doctor

    I hang 90% of my clothes up after washing them. But with being in a dorm this year I won't have the space to hang all my clothes up. Any ideas?

    - Sydney

    Answer: Hi Sydney, do you own a wooden or metal drying rack? I know you have very little room, but many of the drying racks break down and fold up. You could set it up to dry your clothing and break it down to store in a closet or under your bed. Or, you could get a cascading hanger with metal clips that houses 8-10 skirts or pants. You might be able to find these hangers for blouses, as well.

    Go on the net to see what you can find: The Clothing Doctor

    I just washed a load of clothes and I noticed a black shirt has a bleach like stain, its redish. I’m not too sure if its dye transfer or a bleach stain I wouldn't understand if it’s a bleach stain though because it was washed with colors. A red new shirt was washed for the first time with the load the black one was in so I’m wondering could it be that? I really love this shirt is there anything i can do to save it? Its black, 100% cotton, and washable.
    - Yecenia

    Answer: Yecenia, that is a tough one. On first thought, the red spot could be the result of bleach or hair products. Black can get beige bleach spots, but they can also look red. As for removal? Very tough. I'd rewash the shirt and air dry it. If no change, then you might try "disguising" or covering the stain with a permanent marker; go to an art store and try a DOT of various markers, until you find one that seems to darken the reddish area. May sound unprofessional, but getting red out of black, without ruining the color can be almost impossible!

    The Clothing Doctor

    I have a wine stain on a polyester white blouse and I was wondering if a regular hand wash will remove the stain? The tag on the shirt says hand wash, and dry clean, so I'm not sure which one I have to do? Thanks!
    - Laven

    Answer: Laven, wine is a water-based stain, so drycleaning does not help. Pretreatment with a stain remover (like wine away) will help, followed by washing and air drying. If that doesn't remove it all, then follow up with a 1-2 hour soak in color-safe bleach.

    The Clothing Doctor

    Hi! I'm hoping you have advice on taking pills off lace. I have an old black lace shirt that my Daddy gave me, and I am scared to ruin it by using a razor blade! Is this safe? Is there a better alternative?? Thanks!

    - Amber

    Answer: Amber, there are battery-opertaed pill removers that work about as well as razor blades, and are often safer (sample on Amazon - However, it takes a subtle touch with either approach. You would drape the fabric over the palm of your hand and then gently run the blade or the shaver over the fabric, applying just enough pressure to shave off the pills, and nothing more. Start slowly and then look at the results. Blades tend to "grab" the fabric and cause snags more than the shaver. I hope this helps! You could also consult a great drycleaner in your area, if that's easier.

    The Clothing Doctor - Steve Boorstein

    So I washed a pair of my jeans yesterday and hung them up to dry. After they were dry there was these weird stains on my jeans. Like it made me jeans appear to have wet spot on them but they weren't wet. And I know for a fact I didn't get any oil or grease on my jeans. So how do I remove this mystery stain?
    - Ailana

    Answer: Ailana, tough to prescribe without seeing them. Is this the first washing? Are they indigo dyed? Were they left in the washer for a prolonged period? Do the spots look blotchy, or have distinct lines around the perimeter? Were they washed alone? Wanna send a picture to

    The Clothing Doctor

    Hi there! I am wanting your help. I just brought a new top loader washing machine and washed some new work jumpers (yellow factory jumpers). I washed them with Dynamo and they came out with sorta black stains on them, I think from the detergent. Every wash seems to be the same- doesn't matter how much detergent I put in. The question is, what have I done wrong?

    - Rebecca

    Answer: Rebecca, I don't think the detergent had anything to do with the black marks, but of course I'm not there to look at the jumpers. You may have a bad hose (that's spewing debris in the washer) or something going on with your machine. Detergent doesn't usually cause stains. If you had rust in your water or fabric softeners, perhaps—but those stains aren't usually black. I would start with experimentation and elimination; wash other items or towels under the same circumstances and see if they get marks. Let me know if I can suggest anything else to you!

    The Clothing Doctor

    Ahhh! Long story but I borrowed a vintage polyester dress from a very kind shopkeeper for a swing dance party this weekend. Her "dry-clean only" polyester, rayon, spandex blend halter dress had make-up stains on it. When I got home I used just a little water (bad idea!) to clean the white trim and caused dye transfer from the navy blue fabric. I plan to take it to dry cleaners first thing tomorrow. Is there hope?

    - Amy

    Answer: I am very sorry to hear that! This kind of dye bleed can be remedied, but it takes a very astute drycleaner. I don't think you can do anything yourself, as the dress says dryclean only—and you've seen what water did to the dye!
    The Clothing Doctor

    I have a couple of blue dress shirts and white dress shirts that have darkened blotches on them. Very irregular in nature. Almost looks like a reverse fade. Much more noticeable on the light blue than the white. Any idea what may be causing it?
    - Wally

    Answer: Wally, it's very hard to guess without seeing if the blotches are a remnant of a stain, or a degradation to the material; if you can see through the fabric, then it's probably not a stain. You didn't mention the age of the shirts. If your first thought is "blotchy," then I'm going to guess that the stains are OILY, as most oily stains look absorbed and blotchy, and have NO clear line around the outside of the stain). I would take them to a drycleaner, have them assess, and then probably have them dry-cleaned (not laundered), to remove the oily stains: Unless, the fabric is degrading and the blotchy areas are a result of worn fabric, in which case dry-cleaning would be on no help.

    The Clothing Doctor

    I recently just bought a 100% cotton shirt. I usually just always line dry my cottons but this particular shirt says "tumble dry low". It doesnt say pre-shrunk, so if I throw it in the dryer with the rest of my clothes on regular heat is it going to shrink? Thanks!
    - Emily

    Answer: Hi Emily, if you want to be very sure to minimize shrinkage then air dry. If you feel comfortable following the "Tumble Dry Low," then do that. If it shrinks then you should be able to return the shirt. However, fabric is always softer when tumbled, even for the first 5 minutes (and then air dry the rest)!

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi! I recently bought a pair of maroon shorts. They were washed with darks but now that I'm back at college, I thought they would be fine with my other colored items in cold water since the shorts had been washed before but they bled over everything! I treated the stains twice and the pink came out of almost everything but a white and pink shirt and a pair of tan shorts still have pink splotches. Is there anyway to get the pink stains out and keep the original color of my clothes?
    - Allie

    Answer: Allie, sorry to hear about your troubles. Maroon is one of the most inconsistent dyes, as you've learned. Glad you were able to remove the loose dye from the other pieces. The white & pink, and the tan will be trickier. You could try using a RIT Dye Stripper, but it may pull the color form the garments—and not just the pink/maroon dye. If that seems too challenging, I would show it to the BEST drycleaner in town (the owner or spotter) to see what they have to say. Wish I could offer more advice!

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    My teenage son has numerous Merino wool shirts with huge anti-perspirant / sweat stains that will not come out. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    - Nancy Sparrow

    Answer: Nancy, perspiration is normal, but it can be reduced by using a good deodorant/antiperspirant—and washing right after wearing. Do not let sit before washing, and do NOT allow your sone to wear the merinos more than once between washing. I would treat the underarms with a soapy solution as soon as he takes them off and then wash asap.

    I hope that helps—The Clothing Doctor

    Hi I need your professional help. Hope you can help me. I hand washed a 100% silk multi-color dress in cold water, because of a stain on the chest and ended up with color run on several places on the dress. I hung it up to dry. Label reads no dry cleaning no washing only spray spot stains by a professional. Is there anything I can do to get rid of these color runs from my dress. Thanking you in advance for your advice.

    - Silvana

    Answer: Silvana, sorry to hear of your problems, but I have to wonder what made you buy a garment with such a care instruction? We saw a number of pieces like this when I was in the drycleaning business, but we typically spot cleaned them, as instructed. I believe you need to seek out the BEST drycleaner you can find. Talk to the owner and see what they can do for you. Call me if you like: 303.443.3232

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    I have a blouse, dry clean only, 100% polyester and sleeves 100% acetate it was dry cleaned with a red dress in a bag but the red still bled. Now the white is pink is there anything I can do to get back white? Please help soon.

    - Gloria

    Answer: Gloria, Are you saying that your blouse was drycleaned with a red dress and it bled onto your blouse? If so, then it seems to me that it would be the drycleaner's responsibility to restore it or replace it. The sleeves, or the part that turned pink—which to me is not clear by your description—may be restorable or "stripable," but again, it seems like it would be their responsibility because they washed it with a red item. Call if you want to talk further. 303.443.3232.

    I wish you luck!
    The Clothing Doctor

    I washed and dried a cute logo shirt of my daughters with some of her other clothing. After she had worn it, I realized that something had faded onto it from the wash and is now dried in. The shirt is a bright blue with black designs on it. This was a brand new shirt and her first time wearing it, is there any hope in getting this fading out as it is in several places on the shirt. She loves this shirt! Please help!!!
    - Donna

    Answer: Donna, washable fabrics are usually responsive to dye-strippers, which is what will probably be needed to help remedy your situation. However, it is a very tricky process if you don't want to remove the original dye, as well. And it may not work anyway. I suggest that you take the shirt to the best drycleaner in town and speak with with the owner. I restored hundreds of pieces during my 20 years in the drycleaning business, but this may be difficult-to-impossible because of the colors.

    I would re-wash the damaged item—and not dry it—and then re-inspect it If it's better, then wash it again. If it's not, then take it to the cleaners. But you have to speak to a technician. Feel free to contact me directly if you need more advice.

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    I wash my white clothes and sometimes a beige spot appears on the shirts after they are clean. I did not have any colored clothes in them but sometimes I still end up with beige spots...?
    - Dee

    Answer: Hi Dee, I'm going to guess that the beige spot is absorbed into the fabric, and has NO line around the perimeter of the stain (like coffee, beer or blood would produce). If this describes your situation, then I would guess that the beige spot is the remnant of an OILY spot that did not come out in the wash. Removing oily stains in the washer requires water of 150+ degrees, and only the newest washers with steam or heating elements can raise the water temp hot enough to dissolve oil. If it's oil, then it should come out in the dry cleaning process.

    The Clothing Doctor

    I have a cream North Face jacket with a fleece lining. It is marked around the wrist and bottom areas in black dirty marks. I have tried normal washing powder before washing again with the protector to keep it waterproof but it has not worked. Can you please advise me how to get rid of these marks?
    - Dawn Smith

    Answer: Dawn, I am guessing that you waited a bit too long before the first washing. Rule of Thumb: Inspect ALL clothing after EACH wearing, under bright light—especially with light-colored clothing. If you do this, you will catch most of the dark soil that's deposited on the cuffs, hem, zipper, pockets, neck, etc. I suggest making a pasty batch of detergent and water, applying it to every dark area, lightly scrubbing with an old toothbrush. Then rewash, as instructed. If that doesn't help, then I would consult a respected dry cleaner.

    The Clothing Doctor

    Hello. My sister brought me a pretty jacket. It is so warm & comfortable, It was brought to me, when they went to Washington. I got home from work so tired, and I had to put a white load in. Without even realizing, that I had NOT yet taken off my jacket, I poured CLOROX in it - and, what happened - the dang thing splattered some bleach on my new jacket. I didn't know what to do. Is it salvable? Oh, PLEASE help me. I just can't get myself to throw it away. Thanxs

    - Carolina Medina

    Answer: Carolina, it's an honest mistake! There are chemicals that reverse the effects of bleach, but they usually don't work on dark and thick, absorbable cotton. You could try a drop of white vinegar (an acid that is at the opposite end of the Ph scale) to reverse the color loss, but it's a long shot. Leave the vinegar on a TEST area of white for 5 minutes. If it starts bringing back the color on one small splash, then add another drop to the same spot. If it's NO help, then rewash and allow to dry. I know this sounds unprofessional, and far from scientific, but I would then go to an art supply store to test different shades of dark blue markers to see if one would help to "cover" or disguise the white spots. It may not come out blue on the sweaty, but it may make the spots less visible. I hope this helps!

    Hi Clothing Doctor, I have a blazer put in the car and expose to sunlight and heat unintetionally, the color faded and compared to the other sides. Please help. Thanks.

    - Esther

    Answer: Esther, this is usually a one-way condition, and cannot be improved. Fading removes color from the fabric, and cannot usually be reversed. If it's very light, your drycleaner may be able to add some mineral oil to darken the area, but it will "wash out" each time it's cleaned. Sorry, wish I had better news. We sell protective, breathable bags on, for future garments.

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    Hoping you don't mind dispensing more advice. I allowed hard candy to melt in the pockets of a dry-clean-only coat. I took it to the dry cleaners and asked them to get it out of the pockets. I found another fairly large area of melted goo on the lining. Should I to take it back to them and point out the new mess -- or is there something I can do at home? I'm pondering things like Goo Gone but not sure how much is too much or if that will make my problem worse. Thanks
    - Michael

    Answer: Michael, I understand your frustration ... Bottom line, you should take it back to the cleaners, but this time you should speak to a manager or an owner, only. They obviously missed the 2x2 spot, which is lame, but forgivable if they remedy the situation. Using Goo Gone, or some such product, would probably breakdown the stain and remove it, but you would have to then have the pants recleaned anyway. Last ditch, if none of that works is to have the tainted part of the lining replaced.
    Best of Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi I received a merino wool jumper back from my local dry cleaner and found two quite large black marks on the back of it that certainly were not there when I put it in for cleaning. As I've never experienced a problem with dry cleaning before, I'd already removed the receipt before noticing the stains. They rub off a bit black on my finger but I'm scared to do anything in case I make it worse. What could it be and how can I possibly get rid of it?

    - Jayne MacArthur

    Answer: Jayne, without seeing it, it sounds to me like a greasy smudge from the cleaners ... maybe picked up by a machine and went unnoticed during final inspection—if they did an inspection at all! If it is grease, then I would take it back to the cleaners and point it out. Washing will NOT help.

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    I spot bleached some marks on a white table cloth and then washed it in the machine. Upon hanging it up to dry I saw there were purple stains on the cloth where I had bleached it. Am I able to rectify this? Thank you

    - Michelle

    Answer: Michelle, it could be the result of a color change between the bleach and the food/spill stain. Did you dilute the bleach, or use it full strength? If it's a chemical color change from putting a strong alkaline (bleach), then it may get better with a touch of white household vinegar (an acid), to reverse the alkaline color change. Call us at 800.300.9975 for more free info!

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    My twin girls received a bunch of clothes for Christmas and I've never had a problem with colors bleeding, but this time not the case. Blue jean dye is now on most of the other clothes. Many colors like purple, pink, and white the blue is on them. They are all cotton but I have tried oxi, color safe bleach, and soaking them in hot water. Nothing has worked. They have been washed and dried a few times. What can I do? I can not afford to re-buy all of these clothes.
    - Shana

    Answer: Shana, it's a tough restoration, but you should know that drying the garments was a bad idea. Can you send me a digital picture from your phone? I know you'd like a quick and easy answer, but there isn't one. Sorry. Or you could call and talk with us about it. 800.300.9975

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    I recieved a red hoodie with white lettering. I am afraid to wash it because I don't want the white lettering to turn pink. What can I do to prevent this? Thanks!
    - Hollee

    Answer: Hollee, first of all, while the hoodie probably has a wash instruction, it generally does NOT apply to the embossed lettering, so it's good you wrote. Red dye does so often bleed onto white parts. I can only say this; wash as instructed (ALONE or with other non-bleeding garments) and tumble dry, as instructed. If you follow the care label to the T, and it bleeds onto the white, you can take it back to the retailer. Let us know!

    Best —The Clothing Doctor

    Hi - When I wash any red item, it gets a dark stain on it. When I wash the red item it is always with other items that have been washed many times. So I don't think there is any bleeding of colors. Yet somehow I get a stain on the shirt. I could wash a red tee shirt 5 times then the next time I wash it, it stains. The stains appear always a blueish color, and do not cover the entire shirt but a spot 1x3" here and there. I use Gain liquid. Should I give up wearing red?
    - Bonnielie

    Answer: Bonnielie, While I've seen these issues before—and it's entirely strange that it only happens on red garments—it usually turns out to be a result of something bizarre or unintuitive, so you have to think outside the box! My guess is that it's one of these things: there is a latent stain on the ALL the red garments, that once it mixes with the detergent and the drying cycle it causes it to turn blue; that you use some kind of body lotion, hair product, or such that contains an acid that causes the blotchy spots to appear; that the machine is intermittently leaking an oily mess that shows blue on red, and it just happens on red items?

    These weird occurrences are always hard to solve, so you have to keep thinking and experimenting. Do you use any fabric softeners, as they can cause similar discolorations? Call us if you'd like to discuss it live!
    Best —The Clothing Doctor

    I have a black evening suit made of cotton & silk. I tried to remove a stain and I rubbed out the color. How can I restore the stain that should look black? I wanted to dye it but I was told that the suit can shrink, so I took it back home. Please help it's my best suit. Thanks!
    - Chana Zorger

    Answer: Chana, how large is the affected area; dime, quarter, or larger? There are ways to cover up or darken color loss, but it will need re-treatment after every cleaning. Needless to say, NEVER rub a stain; BLOT only! Did you use a napkin to do the damage? Some drycleaners have "Dye Pads" that would restore the color, or you might try going to an art supply store and testing magic makers and other pigments, a small area at a time. I know this sounds hokey and unprofessional, but color loss is difficult to restore.

    Call if you need help! — The Clothing Doctor

    I have a gray hand wash only shirt that 60% cotton & 100% polyester shirt and when it dried it has a maroonish tint all over it now. How can I get it out?
    - Reba Roberts

    Answer: Reba, I have no idea without seeing it, but I would try rewashing at the hottest temperature allowed, and air dry it. If you want to send a photo ... If you still can't solve the issue, take the blouse to the best drycleaner in town for another opinion.

    Let me know if you need more help — The Clothing Doctor

    I have a navy blue jacket with white trim and white like netting inside that has been washed and dried and the blue has now discolored the white trim and on the inside. Is there anything I can do to get the white back white?? I have already soaked in hot water with clorox 2 over night and that didn't bring it out.. Thanks
    - Jennifer Stacy

    Answer: Stacy, you would probably have to remove the white netting and dye-strip, or beach just the netting, then resew and reattach to navy jacket. However, if you followed the care instructions, and it failed in washing, then the garment should go back to the retailer (and manufacturer).

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    I washed a neon pink sweatshirt w/ a neon yellow sweatshirt, the pink faded on yellow, dried it before I realized on low heat, any advice on how to get it out?
    - Celeste

    Answer: Celeste, this is a very difficult restoration because neon colors can have a pigment that's hard to remove, especially when talking about hot pink, and cotton fabrics (or blended fabrics). I would try rewashing the yellow sweaty, and then air drying it. If still no luck, and you really want to try and "save" the sweaty, then I would show it to a great drycleaner. Again, I hate to always recommend a cleaner—as folks hope to fix it themselves with my advice—but it's hard to give pat answers when I can't see the garment and when the consumer has already tried various approaches that compromise future removal by a professional!
    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    Hello, Can I hand wash a shirt that is 55% Linen and 45% Rayon? If so, any special considerations?
    - Susan

    Answer: Susan, first of all, I usually acquiesce to the care instruction label; does it say it can be washed? Linen is usually washable (depending on the color, which you did not mention), but it can fade, change texture (softness), and may develop "hard" wrinkles. The rayon part may shrink or lose body, too—and may even bleed or fade. Re-check the label and, if you decide to wash it, hand wash it and air dry it, just to make sure it makes it through that process. In the long run, it may make sense to dryclean it, but if you are comfortable with hand washing, give it a shot! I would like to know the color, first, before giving you a full pass!

    Best - The Clothing Doctor

    I have a 100% polyester backpack that has its fair share of stains from various things. The pack is lime green, electric blue, black and white multicolored. I'm wondering if I can wash and dry it (and how) and if I can use Shout stain remover on the spots. Thanks!

    - Mason

    Answer: Mason, If it's like most packs, it would probably wash well. Tuck in straps and hardware, or use a mesh net to protect the hardware. (They are avail on You could test a small part of the pack by dabbing it with some water and detergent to see if the dyes are secure. You should maybe air dry the pack, after washing.

    Best - The Clothing Doctor

    My suit coat got wet at the bottom so I let it air dry and now it has a water stain. How can I get rid of that stain?

    - Alex

    Answer: Alex, you did not mention the color or fabric of the suit, but it may need professional help! Fabrics that get wet and form a ring or a stain are usually a result of impurities in the water, or sizings in the fabric. Either way, they are usually removed by re-wetting the area and then drying it quickly to avoid another ring or stain. However, the trick is to wet the fabric enough to flush or force the stained matter from the fabric, but not to over-wet it, causing a bigger stain. Let me know if I can be of further help! 303.443.3232

    Best - The Clothing Doctor

    What types of materials and stains can't be dry-cleaned? And what types of materials and stains can be dry-cleaned?

    Answer: Jenny, most oily, and oil-based stains do very well with drycleaning; food oil, body oil, wax, lipstick—and all things containing grease or oil. Drycleaning does NOT remove water-based stains naturally during the cleaning cycle. Soda, coffee, perspiration, food coloring, sugars, and all other water-soluable (need water to remove) are worked specifically by hand, or wetcleaned. The better the drycleaner, the better the water-based stain removal.
    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    My daughter has a new grey sweatshirt with white and black silk-screened lettering. I washed in warm water with a non-colorfast red sweater by accident. The grey sweatshirt is still grey, but the white letters are light pink. Is there a way to whiten the letters without damaging them or the sweatshirt?
    - Jon Eggert

    Answer: Jon, sorry to hear about your troubles. These are touchy restorations, so I'm going to suggest that you take it to a good drycleaner to discuss the options. The raised lettering (I'm assuming) can sometimes be restored, but it will take more than just soaking in color-safe bleach, but you could try it, without a disaster, I believe.
    Good luck. Write back if you need more info!
    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    Hello! I spilled rubbing alcohol on my purple jeans. Will it fade?
    - Quineice Vaughn

    Answer: Quiniece, it's hard to say if the fabric will fade, but there are typically 2 issues at hand here; the purple dye is usually NOT as firm or strong as typical blue jean dye, and the purple may be as fragile as blue indigo dye; secondly, if you rubbed it, then it could fade. I would just wash and air dry, as usual. If you have a problem, or experience fading or color loss get in touch!
    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    Hello Clothing Doctor, I just bought a new off white and navy blue viscose/spandex dress. The first day I wore it a few tiny drops of coffee spilled on it. I immediately tried to spot with water and a mild detergent. Now I have rings where I spot washed. : ( The dress says dry clean only but I didn't think spot washing it would be a problem. Can these rings be removed by a professional dry cleaner? Please advise.
    - Kim

    Answer: Hi Kim, that's one of the best lessons to learn ... early on. Most water-based stains that have color, such as coffee, do form a ring when water, soap or stain removers are applied. The viscose does pose a challenge, but as long as you did not RUB the fabric, a good drycleaner should be able to remove the ring. In the future, be very careful when applying water or soap to dryclean only garments. If it was washable, the coffee and the ring may have "come out in the wash," as they say!
    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    I keep having deodorant stains show up on my very expensive, dry clean only items after they have been dry cleaned. When I show up to pick up the item there is a white or bleached look under the arms. This has happened twice at two different cleaners even after I have asked that they pre-spot or pre-treat under the arms for these invisible stains. Both cleaners have stated that the item they cleaned is ruined. Is there anything I can do? Will perspiration alone do this to clothing?
    - Marissa

    Answer: Marissa, these "stains" could be part perspiration, part DEO, part fabric degradation. You did not mention the fabric content, so I don't know if it contains acetate, or some other delicate fabric. The underarm (U/A) "stain, could be a combination of DEO, perspiration, and the cleaner's attempt to remove the discoloration, possibly causing some of the color loss or whitening. I really would suggest that you call me directly at 303.443.3232, to do address this thoroughly, but here are some of the issues:

    What is the exact fabric content
    What is the color of the garment (dark colors tend to show DEO stains more)
    Do you perspire more than the average person
    Do you allow your DEO to dry completely before dressing
    Do you bathe after each wearing
    AND do you ever wear the noted dress(s) more than once between cleaning
    I hope this helps!
    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    I have just bought a lagoon blue comfort colors tshirt. Within hours of buying it, I spilled red koolaid on it. I've had a comfort colors shirt get stained before and used spray and wash to get it out...well the original stain was gone but here see I sprayed the spray and wash, there were huge white!
    - Dallas

    Answer: Hi Dallas, without seeing the shirt it's hard to say ... so I have some questions, which you can answer on Forum, or directly to me:

    Did you rewash the shirt after applying the Spray & Wash? Is that when the white blotches appeared?
    Did you rub the fabric with the S&W on it? Could the splotches be color loss or fading?
    Can you email a picture of the blotches to
    Best —The Clothing Doctor

    I have just recently bought a pair of jeggings, and I absolutely ADORE them. I just love the way they fit me, and are oh so comfy. But here's the catch: These jeans contain dyes that rub off on other clothing. How can I prevent this from happening?
    - Jennifer

    Answer: Hi Jennifer, my guess is that these jeans are an Indigo Blue? I need to ask if you've washed the jeans ... and how many times? The "loose" dye should dissipate after a few washings. Are the leggings a lighter color, and have they been washed ... with any success?

    Please get back to me.
    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    I have a few white linen skirts that are now dingy. What can I do to make them white-white again. Thanks!
    - Candice

    Answer: Hi Candice, the only way to brighten linen is through wetcleaning (controlled washing,) and possibly bleaching. It works quite well, actually. What to consider first:

    If the skirt is lined, and sewn in at the bottom & sides, then I would send it to the best drycleaner in town to do the work because of shrinkage and loss of sizing.
    If the skirt is unlined—and you're ok with hand washing—then it can probably be soaked in detergent & color-safe bleach for 30-60 minutes and AIR DRIED. Any sink or bucket works.
    If the skirt is hand washed and bleached, it could lose it's sizing, leaving it limp. A good drycleaner could add back sizing and re-press it for you.
    Submerge the skirt in 6" of warm water and watch it brighten over the hour. Then rinse and lay flat on a white towel.
    Gently "shape" the linen to be flat and even at the hem. Let dry and adjust as necessary.

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    I washed a sweater on gentle and laid it flat to dry but now it has lines all through it. Is there any way to get it back to normal. I've had this happen before.
    - Dianne

    Answer: Hi Diane, I am not sure what the lines are, but I'm guessing it's from uneven drying. Not knowing the fabric, I can't recommend anything along those lines, but I would re-wet or re-wash it, spin it, and lay it over 2 hangers (too avoid stretching and bagging), to see if that helps. It's possible that re-wetting or re-washing and lying it flat will work the second time.

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I recently bought a heavy cotton jacket in Italy and it has black piping on the inside of the jacket. I accidentally got some oil on it while having dinner and decided to hand wash it with my facial soap (silly me I did not read the tag which said dry clean only). Now the outside of the jacket has bled with the black color of the piping inside. Is there anything I can do to save this jacket? I love this jacket and have only worn it once! Thank you for your help!
    - Anna Limcaoco

    Answer: Anna, I'm sorry to hear that! You did not mention the color of the jacket, only that it has black piping. However, this type of dye bleed (from the black piping) is very hard to remove because cotton is absorbent and because the jacket is so thick—and, with all due respect, you would only make it worse. I would not mess around and just take it to the BEST drycleaner in town! Write me directly if you'd like a recommendation your home town.

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    Hello, so I have a lot of "Comfort Colors TM" t-shirts/tanks (100% cotton) from school functions. I've washed them at school with no problems, but when I got home and started washing them in our HE washer they've been bleeding onto one another even in cold wash! And the stains won't come out but simply fade after many many cycles in the wash. I haven't dried them yet so as to not set the stains. What's going on?
    - Timothy

    Answer: Timothy, it's hard to nail down an answer without seeing the garments, but I'm guessing that the cause could be a combination of the HE detergent used at home and the "aggressive" nature of a front load HE washer that may have loosened the dyes. Have you been sorting the Tanks by color, at all? Have you tried rewashing one tank, apart from the others to see if it still bleeds? You would probably have to use a weakened dye-stripper to restore the tanks, but the process could fade or ruin the tanks. Let me know if I can be of further help. I could call the manufacturer ... or you could. I hope this helps!

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi- I have a light purple sweatshirt that's started to turn pink around the neck when washed. What can I do to reverse this?
    - Gavin

    Answer: Gavin, I need more information to help you, but when a garment ONLY changes color at the neck or underarms, it's usually the result of perspiration, body oils, medicine or cologne. Has anything changed in your personal hygiene, detergent, or anything else you can think of? Is it a "color change," or fading, or the result of something you've done or changed? I would need to know more, or see a picture. You can email it to

    Best - Steve, The Clothing Doctor

    Hi there, I am having problems every time I have to hand wash my cheerleading top (It is lycra, mainly navy blue with panels of cerise pink and white) all the colors run into the white. Now the white part is a mix of patchy pink and is now a dark grey color instead of white. Can I restore it? Do u have any tips for the next time? I always delay washing it after each competition as I am scared to ruin it!
    - Klair

    Answer: Klair, what an interesting name! Do the other girls have the same problems with their outfits? Lycra doesn't usually bleed. Are you following the same washing directions as the other girls; water temp, detergent, time of cycle? I would try rewashing as HOT as possible, since it's already "ruined." If no luck, then give it to co-cheerleading friend and ask them to wash it If nothing works, I's try and get a refund on the old outfit, and then order another. It's usually a process of elimination, but if it's only happening to you and your outfit, then do the math! As for fixing it, you would have to try a dyestripper, which is a skilled process. Good Luck!

    Best - Steve, The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I recently washed my sweater which is made of Cotton/nylon/Lycra® spandex in a 14-gauge knit and I hung it to dry. I noticed that it was wrinkly where it had hung on the rack, but it also looks as if the dye has stained the sweater in the same area where it was wrinkled, if that makes sense. I know now that I should have laid it flat, but is there anything that I can do to even out the color? It is a dark teal-ish color. Thank you.
    - Carol Unfreed

    Answer: Carol, I am familiar with this dilemma. I would start by rewashing and laying flat, if that's what the care instruction calls for. Sometimes the condition you tell can be restored by this process. I was wondering if it can be dried in a machine, or only by laying flat? Loose dyes sometimes "fix" themselves by rewashing and tumble drying (if it won't shrink or stretch out of shape by drying in a machine). Hope this helps!

    Best - Steve, The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, Can you please tell me what the best way to get stains out of white linen? I've tried non-chlorine bleach and it has worked, but I am not sure if I am soaking it long enough. I'm not sure what the stains are. Thanks!
    - Carol

    Answer: Carol, removing stains from white linen may be the easiest process around, as it's white and it's linen! You can spot clean, wash, bleach—even in diluted Clorox, as well as non-chlorine bleach. A few things … stained garments should be washed before bleaching; sometimes it takes 30-60 minutes of soaking, after washing; and, if the stain that won't come out is yellowish, and does NOT have a distinct ring around the stain, then it may be OILY—which would explain why it did not come out (as oil usually does not come out in the wash). I would try drycleaning, as oily stains typically come right out in drycleaning.

    Best - The Clothing Doctor

    Hi! My husband has several custom made, light weight wool jackets. The jackets have a slight sheen to them which makes the stains very noticeable. They have each accumulated some light tan make up stains on the shoulders from hugging some of our friends. Some of these make up stains have been on there for months. Is there anything you can recommend for us to do at home to get the make up stains out? He really does not want to take them to a dry cleaner. Thanks for your help!
    - Mary

    Answer: Hi Mary, the slight sheen sounds like the wool may be gabardine. Gabs tend to shine on the elbows, collar and lapels—and it's usually a result of poor pressing. They can also show as a result of a stain. As for caring for these garments at home, I would not recommend that because you do not have the tools and the skills. Bottom line, find the BEST drycleaner in town and take the jackets to the owner to assess. Call the most expensive clothing store in town and ask what cleaner they use.

    Best - The Clothing Doctor

    I got car oil stains all over my clothes when I changed the oil. There is a warning on the washer and dryer saying that it is unsafe and highly flammable to wash anything with any type of oil, even cooking oils, in it. I googled how to remove oil stains and I haven't seen anyone mention the potential dangers. Is it safe to wash clothing with a lot of car oil on them or should I throw them away?
    - Heather N.

    Answer: Hi Heather, oils can ignite, but not usually in a home washer. If you have as much as a half a can of oil, then take it to the drycleaners for two reasons; oils of ALL kind come out in drycleaning, and may not at home unless you have a steam washer, and cleaners do this all the time. Ask that they NOT press your clothing and it will be cheaper!!

    Best - The Clothing Doctor

    Okay so I was at a party with neon paint (stupid, huh). I brought a white shirt 100% cotton and it got stained with green neon paint that I think is latex based. How do I get it out without my mom noticing? It is a small area NOT tiny but small. It's been there for half a week and I tried taking it out with Zote soap and rubbing alcohol. How do I get it out without my mom noticing? Havent washed it yet just in case...
    - A.A.

    Answer: Double A, the one good thing is that the shirt is white! So, you've tried two "water-based" remedies—the zote and alcohol. If that didn't work, you probably need a drycleaner, because it may be an oil paint. I don't know if the neon paint was water-based or oil-based, so its hard for me to pinpoint a remedy. If the shirt's important, then at least visit a good drycleaner for a live opinion.

    The Clothing Doctor

    I had white linens on the clothesline. When I removed the clothes from the line, they had huge yellow stains on them. I was horrified. It was very strange some were fine/clean, others looked ruined. I have tried soaking them in the washer in liquid Tide and Clorox 2. I'm kind of afraid to use the clothesline after this. Do you know of any way to remove these stains? I have been soaking them and resoaking for 3 days now.
    - Caroline

    Answer: Caroline, this is a very complex issue, but I will give it my best. Are you saying that you have yellow stains on ALL of these pieces, or just the napkins and table cloths? First, napkins and table linens often contain oily residue from foods and grease. Oils and grease usually go on clear, and yellow after washing and drying (in a dryer or on a line in the sun). This is the easiest explanation for the yellowing on the linens … as for the rest of the clothing, I cannot say. If something in the air caused the yellowing, then it would probably have yellowed ALL the pieces equally. Please review this email and get back to me by email or phone to try and resolve. By the way, if the yellow stains are Water-Based, then soaking and bleaching would hop remove the yellowing, but if the staining was from oily foods, then bleach does NOTHING.

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    My daughter has an autoimmune disease that requires her to wear aquaphor on an area of her body all the time. The result is that she has dark stains on all her clothes now. She is getting ready to start school and we don't have money to replace all of her clothes so I was hoping we could figure out a way to just remove the stains since all of her clothes fit fine. Thanks in advance!
    - Megan

    Answer: Megan, I know all about this problem. Any product that contains petroleum, or petroleum-related products such as Aquaphor, will occasionally need drycleaning, as the process removes most oily stains. Aquaphor contains 41% petroleum, which is the reason for your dark stains; that and the fact that cotton absorbs oils and doesn't let go easily. The manufacturer acknowledges the oily issue, and recommends a product called carbon #7 to help remove the dark residue. I suggest two things; try the Carbona, as soon as possible after wearing, as directed, and then wash the garments as hot as the care label allows, as hot water and detergent help emulsify and break down oily stains (and always air dry to make sure the stain is removed before drying in the machine. If that does not work, drycleaning will almost always remove oily stains.

    HINT: If you decide to dry-clean stubborn stains, on better or favorite clothing, find an inexpensive drycleaner (if her system can handle the solvent), talk to the owner, and ask that they dry-clean, but NOT press, so you can get the oily spots out, without paying the UP-charge for pressing, which is often the lion's share of expense.

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi Clothing Doctor! I sweat all the time and have my whole life. I’ve never had a problem with sweat stains showing up on my clean laundry until I’ve recently moved to FL. I haven't changed deodorants or anything but since I’ve moved all my nice shirts are becoming ruined - under the arms only - from grey-ish sweat stains. What is this from and how can I remedy it? Also is there any way to salvage some of my ol' favorite shirts? -Thanks
    - Charlie L

    Answer: Charlie, yellowed or discolored underarms are usually a result of perspiration that has NOT been removed completely and has "oxidized" or aged—hence taking on the yellow or grayish color. If you perspired in a garment, and did not wash it after wearing, or if it was washed but not completely stain free, then discolorations like you describe can appear, especially after 48-72 hours. If the shirts are cotton, you could load a sink with hot water, add detergent and color-safe bleach, and allow then to soak for an hour or so. To be safe, you could air dry them after bleaching and rewashing, just to make sure the stains came out before putting in the dryer. This process MAY help your already discolored shirts, and minimize damage in the future.

    Bottom line, Florida is very humid, and it may be aggravating your condition. I would make sure to rinse the underarms with a soapy solution directly after wearing, to "lift" away some of the chloride salts that come from your body and deposit into the underarms. You could use an old toothbrush to brush soapy solution into the underarms, and to flush the salts out of the fabric. Allowing perspiration to sit in your shirts, until they are washed, is probably aggravating the situation. Please let me know if I can help any other way?

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    Hey, I just stumbled across your site (crazy to find another boulder local!) while trying to find answers on how to stop spandex from getting all pill ball-y. I've got a black shirt that's 90% polyester and 10% elastic which I absolutely adore, hand wash only and no drying. What's happening is right in the front, there's a "thin" looking spot. Like it wants to pill ball but hasn't yet. I haven't washed it yet but any tips help. Thanks!
    - Lisa

    Answer: Hi Lisa, yes, I live on Pearl! I'd be glad to look at your shirt live, if we could meet somewhere near the both of us. In the meantime, spandex, especially in black, can "lose" dye, and the surface material can start to crock or break down in areas. Washing may exacerbate the condition, but it will need to be washed at some point! If you can't meet live, then please send me a digital picture to I can't really advise, with out seeing the affected area.
    Let me know — The Clothing Doctor

    I just bought a shirt that is white on the back and dark navy and white stripes on the front. The tag reads Self: 100% Rayon Contrast: 65% polyester, 35% rayon. It says to hand wash cold and lay flat to dry. I hand washed in cold water and hung to dry. When the item dried it left blue lines down the front. I then tried to soak it in Clorox 2 but that didn't do anything. Not sure if there is anything I can do to save the shirt. Thanks! - Candice

    Answer: Candice, that's a whole lot of problems! There may be a way to restore the shirt, though it could cost a lot of money, as it would need to be done by a professional, and the front may have to be removed from the back—and still may not be saved. My professional opinion is to return the shirt to the store, and here's why: Yes, it may be restorable, but the maker (manufacturer) and retailer need to know that you followed the care instructions and STILL had a problem. It may be salvageable, but if you can get another shirt, I'd go that direction.

    In the future, and these words of wisdom apply to everyone … Multi-colored garments, especially with black, red, purple—and other dark and bright colors—should almost ALWAYS be machine dried, as many dyes will migrate or bleed when left hanging.

    Hope this helps — The Clothing Doctor

    I have several cotton sublimation dyed T's and shirts that seem to ball up and stick to themselves when washed. I use detergent plus fabric softener, always cold wash and low dry, Sometimes I hang dry. How do I return them back to their original form? What do I need to do or change? The nylon or poly blends also do it to some extent but not as severe as the cotton. Thank you
    - Sue

    Answer: Sue, I am checking on this, but the biggest reasons for the balling or sticking; underloaded washer (add a towel to the load); item laying next to items too long, and dried that way; hang drying … Some pieces do better with tumbling, but it depends on the number of pieces in the machine, and what they are. I will keep working on a solution, but I hope this helps to start. Most of the time this happens, the T's have been hand painted or silk-screened.
    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    I bought a tee shirt on the beach in Tortuga. It is dark blue- or was. I tried to wash it many times but blue dye keeps pouring out. I wore it once but the dye bled onto other clothes while I wore it. Is there any way I can stop it from bleeding? I really like the tee shirt but can't wear it.
    - Nancy

    Answer: Nancy, dyes can can be synthetic or "natural," from berries and vegetables—and both can be unstable. And some dyes will NEVER be stable because the dyes were never SET properly. Many beach T's have not been prepped and stabilized properly; meaning, dyed at very hot temps and cured, rewashed … etc. And, the darker the dye (navy, red, purples), the more it can bleed. I'm not sure if you've been washing the T in cold water or hot, but you need to find the right approach.

    While what you're describing is very familiar, it can be hard to resolve. You have a few options to try: rewash the T alone, or with "like" dark colors; wash it as HOT as possible, 5-10 times. If you have the room for shrinkage, I'd dry the T as hot as possible to help set the dye after washing. I know this seems like a lot of work for something that may never be fixed, it's the only "after-market" advice I have for you.

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    My wife has accused me of shrinking her polyester trousers because I washed them on a mixed load 40 degree wash and 1200 spin. She thinks I should wash them on a delicate 40 degree 800 spin. Is she right?
    - Tim

    Answer: Hey Tim, I have been called a home-wrecker before, so take this with a grain of salt!! Most poly fabrics (if it's really 100% poly), do not shrink, not even in warm water and high-spin. You did not mention if you've been drying the trousers … Even so, poly usually remains stable, size wise. So, I'm sticking by my guns to say that cold (or colder) water, and high spin will not shrink poly clothing. If anything, the high spin might batter the fabric and stitching over time, but mostly it just leaves the garment trip dry!

    Be well — The Clothing Doctor

    I put a new red/pink cotton top in with my whites and everything white including a grey cotton sweater turned pink. How do I restore to original color
    - Sheila

    Answer: Sheila, washable fabrics are usually responsive to dye-strippers, which is what will probably be needed to help remedy your situation. However, it is a very tricky process. Bottom line, if ALL the white-turned -pink garments are completely white, and cotton, then you may be able to "strip out" the pink dye from the white pieces.

    •First, I'd rewash ALL the white garments (without a red one in the washer with them!), with plenty of detergent and the hottest water possible. AIR DRY - NO tumble with heat.
    •If pinkish dye remains, soak ALL the white garments in color-dafe bleach for 30-60 minutes — in a sink or bucket. Rinse in clean water and AIR Dry.
    •me process in a bucket or sink with a DYE Stripper. You can get RIT brand strippers. Follow directions to the T
    •If you don't feel comfortable doing this, and can afford for a cleaner to do the stripping, then that's an option. But be sure to get a prognosis first, or do just ONE garment first.

    Sorry for the LONG response, but these things are not easy, and they require patience and skill.

    Best of Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I have a shirt that has a black trim color and the body is a black, brown and white design. Its 95% rayon, 5% spandex. I've had it for a while and it's always washed in cold water with other colors, I use a color safe bleach as well, and a laundry stain booster. Lately the white parts are looking dingy and dull. Is there any way to brighten the white back up? It's one of my favorite tops but it just doesn't look as good anymore...
    - Jessica

    Answer: Jessica, this is a common occurrence, even with legitimately washable fabrics. Color blocking of white and brown and other darker shades into the same garment almost always makes the white part dingy over time. The use of color safe bleach is a great step but, if that doesn't clear the gray or dingy pigment from the white, then you have few choices. You might try soaking it longer, and perhaps making a stronger batch of color-safe bleach. That's about it.

    Hope this helps —The Clothing Doctor

    I work in a pizza restaurant. We wear white 100% cotton t-shirts. Of course, I wind up with pizza sauce on my shirts all the time (the sauce does contain olive oil). I pretreat stains with an oxyclean gel when I get home, and then launder within a few days. Most of the time the stains come out. Sometimes they do not. Any ideas on what else I can do besides wasting the soap, water and electricity to wash one t-shirt by itself each night I work?
    - Hillary

    Answer: Hillary, you have done almost everything right! Treating the stain with Oxi-Gel is good, doing it that night is good … not washing for days does not help. I suggest a few changes that might help:

    • After treating the affected areas with the gel, gently brush the area with an old toothbrush to help open up the stain and get the gel INTO the fabric.
    • Allow it to absorb in to the stains for 10 minutes and then rinse with cold water
    • Try to wash it within a day. Throw in a towel or some other light-colored clothing to complete a small load. Waiting 3 days is a killer
    • If you think that there could still be a residue of tomato sauce, after washing, then DO NOT tumble dry—air dry only
    • If it's better, but not gone, then soak in color-safe bleach or Oxi-Clean Versatile for 30-60 minutes. That should remove all or most of the colored residue.

    By the way, very good catch on recognizing that there was oil in the sauce!!!

    Best—The Clothing Doctor

    I accidently got water stains on a dress I was repairing for a friend. It is black velvet on top and gray and black print on bottom,its the bottom that is water stained I tried Energine spot remover with no luck. My friend told me to try hydrogen peroxide that didnt work either if theres no solution Iam off to the dry cleaners. It is dry clean only. Hope I havent done even more harm with these home remedys
    - Kathy

    Answer: Kathy, you are asking one of the all-time difficult questions! Velvet can be made from cotton, silk or acetate, and cotton is the ONLY fabric that is not affected by water (sweat or moisture). The Energine and peroxide only added to your problems. If the velvet is silk or acetate, you will need to find VERY experienced drycleaner to try and restore the crushed areas of the velvet, pile nap: it's a difficult task, even for the best of them. Tell me where you live, and I might be able to recommend someone.

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    I have a green 100% poly shirt which I wore for the first time and sadly it now has sweat patches in the under arms. I was wearing deodorant so I'm guessing it's a mix of that and sweat causing the stain. I don't want to set the stains or ruin the shirt. The label says: Hand wash cold, with like colours, inside out, only non-chlorine bleach when needed, hang dry, iron low if needed. Please let me know if I can save the shirt.

    Answer: Jessie, you are very perceptive in noting the mixture of perspiration and DEO. You should be able to wash the shirt without issue. In the future, you can feel safe pre-treating and/or washing perspiration stains on washable items, without concern.

    The Clothing Doctor

    I have a dress from coast which is pinky/nude colour on the top with black beads. The dress is 100% polyester on the outer and has 2 linings - one 100& polyester and the other 100% Acetate. I got the dress dry cleaned as the labels says to dry clean only, and the beads have appeared to have become hot during the dry cleaning and the black has rubbed of onto the top of the dress and stained! Is there anything I can do to get rid of this as I no longer have the receipt to return it.
    - Karen

    Answer: Karen, I'm sorry to hear that! However, if you followed the care label (which apparently does not address the beaded parts … typical!), I would still take it back to the retailer, even without the receipt, for an exchange, if that's the only thing they'll offer. There are laws about this. On the other hand, you could see if the cleaner has any more skills to remove, lighten, or disguise the affected areas.

    The Clothing Doctor

    I have stains from deodorant on my white t shirts. The stains are actually a light purple. I have tried everything and nothing has seemed to work Any suggetions? Thanks
    - Christopher Raney

    Answer: Christopher, it sounds like there might be some dye or colored DEO in the mix. Fortunately, the T-shirt is cotton, and it's white. But you will need to identify what's causing the problem, because I can only advise you so far, without first knowing the cause. With that said ...

    •Make a mixture of soap & water (in a squirt bottle)
    •Apply it liberally to the underarms of the T as soon as you remove the shirt, and then use an old toothbrush to get it into the fiber, until you can wash it.
    •Wash as HOT as possible
    •If that doesn't help, then get soak the T, after washing for 30-60 minutes in a sink with color-safe bleach or OXI Versatile.
    •If that still doesn't remove the purplish stain, the buy some RIT dye stripper or some other product to "strip out the remaining purple.

    Let me know if you need more help!
    The Clothing Doctor

    Many of my work jackets have got grease marks around the collar where they rub against my neck or my hair. They are usually very nice quality materials and therefore dry-clean only. I don't want to keep taking them to the dry cleaners as it is getting quite expensive and there are no other marks or stains on them. Is there another way I can spot treat these grease marks in the interim?
    - Georgina Cheney

    Answer: Georgina, tough general question, but an important one. Oily collars tend to become exponentially worse IF the garment is NOT cleaned regularly. If it mounts up on the neck, and becomes "layered" with body oils and perfume, removal could become insurmountable. The problem with abandoning drycleaning and switching to "spot cleaning" for the collar—at the first sign of build up—is that the soil inside the collar could fade, spread or become "set" by using water/detergent on dryclean-only clothing (and oil). Drycleaning is still a safer process for oily build up than washing. You could try treating the oily neck yourself, but do it sparingly, in small area, and then let it completely dry to see the affect; positive or negative. I do understand your dilemma, but be careful about spreading the oily matter or fading the fabric, as it might leave the garment unwearable. On the other hand, maybe some of your pieces could be treated and washed, without ruining the garment?

    The Clothing Doctor

    I keep Vaseline in my car for chapped lips. Two days ago, it was hot...the Vaseline melted & I accidentally dripped it on a pair of green, washable,99% cotton/1% spandex pants. I put Spray & Wash on it...didn't come out; rubbed it w/Ajax degreasing dish didn't come out. Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! :)
    - Andrea Thorn

    Answer: Andrea, I have mentioned the answer to this problems numerous times on this Forum, but I will gladly say it again, as SO MANY people need to get it straight!! Oily type stains from Vasoline, french fry grease, butter, wax, and a host of other oily-type foods usually require drycleaning, as the solvent typically removes oily stains. On occasion, washing and drying can SET the oily stain, but it will still usually come out in dry-cleaning. To reduce the cost, ask the cleaner to clean ONLY—and do NOT press, if that works for you :)

    The Clothing Doctor

    I have a 100% rayon fuschia colored blouse-machine washable in cold water separately, and line dry. After washing the blouse in cold water, and line drying, I saw dark colored spots on the garment. There is a gold two inch embellishment that I think is the culprit. Is there anything I can do to remove the dark discolorations? Also, is there anything I can do to stop future color discolorations to the blouse?
    -Mama D

    Answer: Hello Mama D … embellishments, which can bleed (or in your case, perhaps tarnish), are NOT regulated by the care label on your fuchsia blouse. It's a flaw in the national care labeling laws. In reality, the blouse should go back to the retailer, so they and the manufacturer know they have a problem. However, most tarnish or oxidation can be removed by a drycleaner. Don't know if the gold pieces can be removed, and then resewn after washing, but that would be one way to go, AFTER the stains are removed. If they cannot be removed, I would return it to the store. You followed the care label and that's all you can do.

    The Clothing Doctor

    I have a hoodie that is fluffy on the inside. The tag indicates to be washed at 30 degrees, plus a line under the symbol, but my mom washed it at 60. The fluff inside became hard and with little balls attached. Is there a way to reverse this? I just love this hoodie and the shop can't change it, as it was the last one...
    - Maria

    Answer: Maria, I am not sure that you gave the water temp correctly, or it's in Celsius, as 30 degrees is below freezing. Anyway, I don't know if this was the FIRST washing, but I don't think it's a result of the temperature for washing. Though pilling like you describe, is very common, and the pills can be shaved off, but it takes patience and skill, so as NOT to thin the fleece too much! Some linings and some inner materials can turn stiff and PILL. It's hard to advise you without know the history of the piece; washed before; if dried in machine … Sight unseen, I would say to rewash it and tumble it to see if it softens, and then you can deal with the pills. I hope this helps, but you can always write back!

    The Clothing Doctor

    There is a dark navy blue dress with stitched multi-colored work done on it. I haven't worn it for long now. But I see dispersed light patches over it on the velvet part of it. It's whitish comparatively lighter than the dark blue... what can I do to remove the patchiness? I don't even know where it came from... could you please help me?
    - Shraddha

    Answer: Hello! I am guessing that the velvet part has lost it's pile, but I need to see a picture. Please send it to

    Best - The Clothing Doctor

    I am doing a science fair project for school. My question is, "Will washing new clothes (cotton) before wearing them, better protect cotton fabric from permanent staining?" What is your expert opinion on this?
    - Alex Loggins

    Answer: Alex, generally, NO. Stain resistance comes in a few varieties; the fabric may be "stain-resistant" by nature (poly, and some synthetics) or the fabric can be pre-treated with a silicone-type protective spray, available at grocery and home ware stores. Buy some and experiment on different fabrics, then you will have some solid data.

    Good Luck — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi. I was asked to Iron a shirt and what i didn't know is that the Iron was to hot and now my Iron is covered with a melted fabric stain. But my main concern is, when I went to Iron a green shirt with the Iron, the melted pink fabric from it transferred onto the green shirt. How do I fix it? it just happened a few minutes ago.
    - Lynsey

    Answer: Lynsey, oh boy! There are iron cleaners, which you should have used when you had the pink stuff on the iron, so it would not re-melt, and redeposit on the green shirt! So much for could of shoulda :) You will need a chemical that cleaners use, such as Amyl Acetate that can dissolve plastic stains. Not sure if it will work, but if the shirt means a lot to you, go see the best drycleaner in town! Offering a home remedy may cost you money, experimentation, time and hassle.

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I have a dress that says dry clean only. It is 77% polyester, 20% rayon and 3% spandex. It is also multi-colored (dark blue and white). I'm on a budget and would really rather just handwash but I'm scared the colors may bleed or I may ruin the dress. What do you think?

    Answer: Melisa, I think its always risky to wash a dry-clean-only garment, even if its 77% synthetic (plus the 3% spandex). You can test a hidden corner with detergent and a dash of household ammonia to see if the dyes bleed off onto the white test cloth, but it may not completely mirror the time and exposure from washing; hand or machine. Furthermore, the texture, construction and size may be affected. Is it lined, and is the lining sewn into the hem and down the sides? There's no way for me to tell from here if the garment will withstand washing without testing. If you are comfortable with the washing process, and have washed other Dryclean-only garments, then give it a shirt.

    Keep in mind, while they are not my first choice, there are many "one-price cleaners that will do a decent job for $4.99. Maybe you should consider that?

    Best - The Clothing Doctor

    My daughter's tennis uniform is made of 92% polyester and 8% spandex. The label says Do Not use Bleach, Do Not use Fabric Softener, Do Not Tumble Dry. Use cold water and lay flat to dry. I washed it several times before I read the label , and now the white part of the dress has turned light orange. I don't know if this is from using fabric softener. How can I get the white back without making things worse?
    - Diane Timm

    Answer: Diane, that is a loaded question! I doubt the color is from the softener, unless it's red or orange. It's hard to say what turned the color, if it was washed with bleach, that could be the cupric. Can you send me a pic?

    The Clothing Doctor

    I use Degree deodorant (for the past 10 years) and lately, I have noticed that all of my white t-shirts have a purple tinged under the arms. This have never happened before, but now I have about 5 shirts that have this purple tinged and it does not come out with bleach either. What could be causing it???
    - Shannon

    Answer: Shannon, I am not familiar with this DEO, but I have some suggestions. I also wrote the company about your concerns, and will report back when they report to me! First, something could have changed in your body chemistry and diet that may have an affect. Second, you might try drying your underarms with a blow dryer, before dressing. Third, you might try pre-treating and rinsing the underarms as soon as take off the t-shirts. Lastly, wash the T's as hot as possible, and consider soaking them in color-safe bleach for a few hours, after washing if stains persist.

    The Clothing Doctor

    I have a couple of blue/white striped shirts that always seem to color transfer under the armpits due to sweating. Is there any way to remove these transfer stains? Is there any way to prevent them? you can't see it unless I raise my arms, but I know they are there. I would love your help instead of throwing my favorite shirts away!
    - Debbie Ward

    Answer: Debbie, you might try pre-treating and rinsing the underarms as soon as you take off the shirts. Wash as hot as possible and air dry. Consider soaking the shirts in color-safe bleach for a few hours, after washing if stains persist. As for preventing the stains, you could try a different DEO, and allow it to dry before dressing.

    Hope this helps - The Clothing Doctor

    I took a pale pink blouse & used darker pink fabric dye to change the color :( It came out all splotchy! How can I get the dye splotches out or re-dye to cover the splotches. What can I do? Thank-you!
    - Sandra

    Answer: Sandra, dying is an acquired skill, and it the success of such depends on the fabric content, the heat of the water, the amount of dye used, and the amount of time it sits in the solution. I once cleaned 30 "dyed" costumes for Twyla Tharp, and they were blotchy, too. I wish you luck, but you may have to buy another blouse in the desired color!

    The Clothing Doctor

    I just purchased a dress that is 95% Polyester 5% Elastane & it is wrinkled. I have not worn it. I tried spraying with cold water & hung to dry. The wrinkles are still there. Label instructions: machine wash cold water gentle cycle, hang to dry. Cool iron if necessary. How do I get out the wrinkles?
    - Sharon

    Answer: Sharon, it should return to it's wrinkle-less condition after washing and hanging. If it doesn't, then I'd return it to the retailer, or pay your cleaner to steam and iron.

    The Clothing Doctor

    I have a LBD that is 100% Polyester. I wear it very rarely, and always get it dry cleaned. I left it in the dry cleaning bag, and it has 4 white marks on the front. I don't think they are stains, because they feel thick, like it is a substance, rather than a stain. By looking at the tag, I realized that it is machine washable. I put it in the washer, on cold, but the white marks are still there. What do you suggest I use on it?
    - Cyndi

    Answer: Cyndi, I can't see the white marks, but they could be the result of a stain, or a fabric flaw. You can either take it to a good drycleaner for identification, or back to the store. If the white marks cannot be removed, and the store will not take it back, then I would try a series of black markers (at an art supply store). I'd test JUST a drop on a concealed area until you find the closest color. Once you find the right color/pigment, try just a DOT on one of the white marks. If it works well enough, then voila!

    The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I have a dress size 14, 94% polyester & 6% elastine, white/cream in color, it is hand wash only. I haven't wore the dress & on ironing it the iron has left a black mark on the rear of the dress, I immediately put it on a hand wash in the washing machine but the mark hasn't budged, I washed it again using vanish powder but still no budge, I would be very grateful if you have any tips for removing this mark. Thanks
    - Sue Jones

    Answer: Sue, it sounds like the iron may have "scorched" the fabric, especially if the mark in question is the shape of an iron. This is a rough one, but I would consult a good drycleaner to help you identify the mark. On occasion, light scorch can be lightened with peroxide, but it's tenuous and time consuming. I will hope, for you, that it is not scorched!

    The Clothing Doctor

    I like to wear cream rather than white. I was pleased to find exactly my style of smart cream polo shirt at Matalan. On washing (not with a "whites" detergent) the cream color had faded considerably and more on subsequent wash. The shirts are stylish but not expensive so do not justify dry cleaning. Is there any way I can restore the cream color. I have four of these shirts I loved them so much. Thank you
    - Ann Aspinall

    Answer: Lisa, I am not sure, but are you saying that the cream added to white? There's not much a drycleaner can do, but getting beige back to white (using a color-safe bleach) is a lot easier than getting a white back to beige! You get me? Feel free to write back or call, but you may want to get some new polos. Sorry!

    The Clothing Doctor

    What should I use, if I want a black streak on my coral dress, but do not want to stain it?
    - Grace

    Answer: Grace, are you saying that you want to paint a streak on it? If so, there are fabric paints … But you have to know if the dress is washable or dry cleanable, so you can pick the proper fabric paint, as some dissolve in water (wash), and some dissolve in drycleaning solutions. Let me know your thought on this.

    The Clothing Doctor

    I just washed a white duvet cover in bleach because it had a few brown stains on it. Now, half of the cover is yellow/dingy looking. Is there any way to restore it back to white? I haven't dried it yet.
    - Caitlin

    Answer: Caitlin, I'm just guessing, but it sounds like the duvet is cotton, and the care label says NO bleach. If that's the case, you may be able to "neutralize" the color change with an acid to offset the color change caused by the alkaline bleach. Not sure you can reverse the color change on your own, so you may have to seek out a great drycleaner to do the work. It's good that you haven't dried it yet, as that can make it that much harder. You may be able to reverse the change with a rust remover (oxalic acid), but I would test a small area first. If it works, then bathe the hole cover in a diluted rust remover.

    The Clothing Doctor

    The garment is lilac a chiffon material I spilled wine on it and hairspray got sprayed on it brought it to the cleaners it is still stained. They want to water restore it? Will this come out or anything else should be used on it
    - Doris

    Answer: Doris, that's quite a history! I first need to know if the chiffon is silk or poly, as washing silk can be very challenging. Wet cleaning poly chiffon might help remove the wine and the hairspray, so I would go with that, if it's synthetic. Remember, it's almost always best to refrain from home stain removal on unusual fabrics, whenever possible. Get back to me with more info, if need be.

    The Clothing Doctor

    Hi we have spilt oil on a wax coated jacket. The care guide says that it can not be dry cleaned or washed, only sponged down with cold water.The jacket is a light sand color so the stain stands out alot. Please any possible advice would be a great help. Many thanks.
    - Jayne Caunce

    Answer: Janyne, I am very familiar with wax-coated jackets. No, they cannot be dry-cleaned or washed. Does that sound user-friendly to you? Dry-cleaning will remove ALL the wax, and re-waxing is a losing proposition. The care label is correct in stating that it can only be sponged off. I'm guessing that jacket is cotton, which is a very absorbent fabric, especially with regard to oil. Honestly, I think you should call the manufacturer and describe your dilemma. If you want to give me the brand, etc., I will call on your behalf.

    The Clothing Doctor

    I bought this fairly expensive jacket and it isn't optional to wear in the rain. The color seems to have run and this has really upset me. I'm just pondering as to whether I wash it, would this help or ruin the jacket completely? It has washing instructions so it's obviously washable. There are white, wavy marks on parts of the jacket that look to separate a darker shade of black (original) to the new darker grey colors... The fabric states; 100% Polyester.
    - Alex

    Answer: Alex, if the jacket has a wash label, then it should NOT have bled in the rain. First of all, you can try washing it to resolve the dye change/problem, as it's within the care label instructions. Secondly, the retailer NEEDS to stand behind it if you follow care instructions, and it fails. Write or call if you need more help, but do not let them take advantage of you!

    The Clothing Doctor

    I have two questions. Question 1: what is the best detergent for washing my clothes (my clothes do not get very dirty and are relatively clean when I wash them) Question 2: At home I was my clothes on a cold water low spin cycle. In my dorm I can choose between whites, colors, bright colors, perm press, woolens, or deicates and knits. which cycle would be the most gentle? I have been using delicate and Knits but that's a warm wash cycle. Thanks
    - Jared

    Answer: Jared, the fact that you know that much about your habits and your clothing give you an advantage. So good for you! Washing cold or warm, in short cycles, will keep your clothing in better shape longer. I would stick with the Delicates & Knits, unless you have something really dirty or soiled; the longer the cycle, the better the soil removal. As for the type of detergent, I would select the best one that fits your needs best. I always recommend SCENT-FREE, ODOR FREE, but beyond that, I would choose whatever you like, as you don't need the best grease-cutting detergent.

    The Clothing Doctor

    Hello there Just wondering why my whites have a purple tinge, particularly around the armpit and seem area. I am using tide pods and laundry softener in a front load washer. Bleach does not really fix the problem. Thank you for your time Cathy
    - Cathy

    Answer: Cathy, I'm guessing that the purple tinge is associated with either the stitching, the use of chlorine bleach, or perspiration and the type of DEO. I would experiment with other white T's, by changing type of DEO for a few weeks and washings; I don't believe that the detergent or softeners are contributing to the purplish tint, but if its anything, it would be the softener. I'd try stopping that for a while. Hope that helps!

    The Clothing Doctor

    How do you brighten white lettering that has turned cream on a dark green basketball uniform made of 100% polyester? My husband is a basketball coach and has two sets of team uniforms that are unusable because the lettering is no longer white. Thanks for your help.
    - Jo Ann

    Answer: Joann, is the lettering silk-screened on, embroidered, or some other method. Simply stated, if you can isolate the lettering (by removing or using a Q-tip), then you may be able to brighten the letters independently of the uniform. But they may be unlikely, and expensive and time consuming. The best bet would probably be to soak the uniform, in question, in a color-safe bleach for 1-2 hours. If the uniform is washable, and I assume it is, the soak just might lighten the lettering, but without know more about them, I can only offer these remedies. Good luck!

    The Clothing Doctor

    How do I fix a white linen suit that I dyed dark blue that turned out really splotchy and uneven?
    - Nate

    Answer: Nate, this is a very loaded question considering that dying fabric is a real science—especially when it's already been made into a garment. I'm not surprised it's blotchy, because even professional dying often leaves a blotchy appearance. Many dyers "bleach or strip out" the old dye, before trying to dye it. Did you try that, first? You could try re-dying the suit in navy, or send to a professional service, but I'd cut my losses and buy a new suit!

    The Clothing Doctor

    I discovered that my new very expensive cream silk blouse had dark yellow deo stains under the arms. I called my cleaner and was told that it would be hard to remove, and would possibly pull the color out. I've always hand washed my silk blouses, I tried to remove the stains using several recommended methods including meat tenderizer, detergent, vinegar and finally oxyclean which pulled the stain AND the color out. Should I just attempt to re-dye it?
    - Missy

    Answer: Hi Missy, I have seen hundreds of cream silk blouses with yellow underarms (U/A). Some that eventually turn to holes from the chloride salts in our perspiration. But yours is quite a story indeed, and a drycleaner's nightmare. Halloween is about right, unless you want it to be an "under-only" blouse—or you could try making it ALL white, just like the underarm. Dying it a darker color is not likely, as you tried everything under the kitchen sink, so some of the new dye is bound not to stick! Let's move on to the rest of your blouses, and how to keep the U/A's clean. First, as you've seen, silk can turn color at the U/A after just one wearing: And each hour after you sweat, until you get it washed or dry-cleaned, you are taking a chance of the color changing. You can try wiping your U/A with a towel when you know its wet; you can try different DEO's; you can have snap-in washable u/a shields sewn in to your better blouses. Bottom line, if you know you're going to perspire, and you must wear silk, either rinse the underarms and then wash it, or take it to the cleaners ASAP, with the special instruction to SPOT the underarms!

    The Clothing Doctor

    I accidentally ironed a new Ralph Lauren 100% cotton shirt while it still had the size label stuck to the chest, now there is a spot on the chest that is darker than the rest from where the label is. Is there anyway to get this out? I've never worn the shirt before!
    - Nicole

    Answer: Nicole, you did not mention if the label imprint is stiff (like glue or plastic), or if the darker area is actually a dye mark. Have you tried rewashing it? The spot might respond to an ink remover, more likely to a dye stripper/remover. Either way, if you want to try it yourself it will take some experimentation and money. If you want a professional to try it, then find the BEST drycleaner in town, as they should have the skills to assess it, and possibly remove it.

    The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I accidentally got lipstick on my winter coat which is 100% polyester, and it says on the tag to wash by hand. So I treated the lipstick with Shout and the stains lifted immediately. I then rinsed the entire coat to try and get some of the excess shout out of the coat. Should I still wash it in the machine? Help!
    - Chase

    Answer: Hi Chase, if the lipstick came out, and the jacket can be washed, then by all means wash it! If you have any concern about the stains not being completely removed, then air dry and inspect it, again. You can always re-wash it after.

    The Clothing Doctor

    I was given a Ralph Lauren black cotton sweater with leather shoulder patches. The label instructions say to dry clean by a leather expert only. Is this really necessary as it is an expensive process? I usually have all my dark colored clothes dry cleaned as our well water is chlorinated and fades dark colors in the wash but the cleaners said they would not attempt to dry clean the sweater because of the leather. Thanks for any help you can provide.
    - Linda

    Answer: Linda, most leather- and or suede-trimmed garments require dry cleaning, and possible "leather" cleaning, which may be dry-cleaned or wet cleaned, depending on the situation. Some cleaners that care for expensive and designer clothing, including leather trimmed, can often clean these without the help of a specialist. There is no telling sometimes IF a leather patch will fade and need re-coloring. Either way, it's not inexpensive. I wish I could tell you that washing at home would work, but there are too many variables. Reach out to the BEST cleaner in town for a more knowledgeable assessment. Hope that helps!

    The Clothing Doctor

    I have a pair of black skinny Miss Selfridge jeans that are made of cotton. I've noticed that when I was putting them in the washer/hand washing them they dried with white/grey marks on them down the zip area and down the sides of the legs. What is it? Is it just because I have washed them many times, or is there a way of getting rid of it? Thanks :)
    - Elise Schofield

    Answer: Elise, what you are describing sounds like typical fading and streaking, common with designer and stone-washed jeans. there are ways to "darken" fabrics that used to be black, but none are easy, or inexpensive, per se. Some people have had luck "darkening" fabrics by putting the jeans in the wash with black towels and other dark items , with the goal of having the other black items bleeding onto the faded black items. There are a few products that purport to blacken clothing. I do not have any firsthand experience with this type of dying, but they might work. Here's one: - Let me know if it works!

    The Clothing Doctor

    Can I wash my jean with other dark color clothes? Thanks
    - Frankie Chan

    Answer: Frankie, I assume you are referring to blue jeans (or possibly black jeans?). If so, you should be able to wash jeans with darker colors, but I would be sure to wash ALL dark items alone the first time, at least to start. After that, they should be okay to wash with blue jeans.

    The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I want to dye my royal blue morphsuit (Lycra) to green is this possible? If so, how? Thanks
    - Zoe

    Answer: Zoe, it seems an easy fix, but dying after-market fabrics that have already been dyed another color is a real art—and rarely acceptable. I can explain the process, but take my word: If you have any expectations of wearing the suit again, then be ready for a poorly-dyed product, or put the money into a new garment. Professionally dyed costumes also tend to look discolored. Sorry!

    The Clothing Doctor

    Hi! At home, I usually washed my clothes in cold water on the delicate cycle. But at college, the delicate cycle automatically uses warm water. I noticed that the woolen cycle uses cold water. Is the woolen cycle an acceptable alternative to delicate, but just with cold water?
    - Amelia

    Answer: Hi Amelia,

    Yes, the woolen cycle uses cold water and will work as an alternative to the gentle cycle. However, if you have ground-in stains or specific soil, then consider pre-treating the area before washing.

    Steve — The Clothing Doctor

    I am currently involved in a debate over cold-water usage for sustainability reasons. Is laundry detergent less efficient when used with cold water? What is the coldest water temperature that will still wash laundry effectively?
    - DW

    Answer: Thank you for your question. It is true that cold water cycles are much more environmentally-friendly than traditional hot water or warm water cycles. This is because most of the energy exerted by your washer (70 – 90% depending on washer type) is dedicated to heating the water. Cold water cycles effectively clean normally soiled clothing when used properly. Laundry detergent disperses more slowly in cold water, so it’s best to avoid powder detergent, and if possible select detergent specially formulated for cold water washing. In some cases, cold water cycles can be even more effective at cleaning clothes than hot water cycles since certain stains are actually lifted more easily when treated with cold water. For example, cold water assists in removing protein stains like blood or egg, but hot water is likely to set this stain in the clothing. If you have any stains, especially oil-based stains, it is always best to pre-treat it before washing it in cold water just to be safe. Remember that many organic oil stains (food oils) are more difficult to remove than machine oils, and may require dry cleaning or very hot wash water.

    Finally, you bring up the important point of water temperature. Water temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit are not as effective at cleaning clothing. Generally-accepted cold water guidelines vary, but as long as you take the appropriate steps for your cold water wash, your clothing should be effectively cleaned at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Be aware that wash temperatures vary with the seasons (water temperatures can hit the 30s in winter), so you may need to consider using a warm cycle if you live in a very cold climate. In warmer parts of the country, this isn’t typically an issue.

    Can I dry whites and darks together?

    - Joanne

    Answer: Hi Joanne, thanks for writing! This is a loaded question, but it really depends on the fabric, the type of dyes — your comfort zone — and whether you are talking about "black and navy" as dark items. I assume you want dry dark and white together to save time? In most cases, a dark pair of blue jeans can be dried with lighter colors, but if the jeans are Indigo dyed — like many of the 7 for All Mankind — you may still have some dye bleeding or "rubbing" occurring during the drying cycle. I dry "darks and lights" together all the time, but rarely WHITE and dark. However, if you still want to do this, then rub a white cloth against the dark items before putting in the dryer. If dark dye comes off on the white towel, then it may be risky. By the way. we now sell a a product called Dye-Lock that "seals" dyes in the washer, so reds don't bleed onto white, etc. You can get this on if you are interested.

    Good luck!

    Steve Boorstein - The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I have a question about the washing machine. We have 6 functions: Hot, Perm. Press, Colors, Delicates & Knits, Quick Cycle, and Brights. I have clothing that requires cold water - not fast spin cycle. I've used Normal or Wool functions for this, but our machine does not have that option. I think Delicates & Knits is a fast cycle, but that is warm wash. Brights is a cold wash, but a slow spin cycle. On which function can I wash my clothing best: Brights or Delicates & Knits? Thanks,

    Answer: Hi Laura,

    Thank you so much for your question!

    To start, you are correct that most clothing would benefit from being washed in a cold water cycle. Not only does cold water clean just as effectively as warmer water - it preserves colors and fabrics as well. And, it's green! Since up to 70% of the energy exerted by the washer is used to heat the water, choosing cold water cycles saves energy and our planet!

    To answer your question: the cycle options on different washing machines vary slightly - but the cycle settings on our newest High-Efficiency Front-Load Maytag machines are as follows:

    Whites - Hot - Medium Speed
    Colors - Warm - Medium Speed
    Bright Colors - Cold - Fast Speed
    Delicates & Knits - Warm - Slow Speed
    Perm. Press - Warm - Medium Speed
    Quick Wash - Warm - Medium Speed

    Depending on the type of clothing and the amount of colors, you should choose between the Bright Colors and Delicates & Knits cycle. And remember: extremely soiled clothing may need a hotter cycle to clean completely.

    Hi! Can you tell me how many degrees is warm wash (Delicates and Knits) Is that 30 or 40 degrees? Thanks!

    - Lisa

    Answer: Hi Lisa,

    Thank you for your question!

    A warm water wash is typically 85-105 degrees Fahrenheit. (30-40 Celsius)
    A hot water wash is typically 120 degrees Fahrenheit. (Approximately 50 Celsius)
    A cold water wash is typically 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. (20-25 Celsius)

    In winter months, in regions where it tends to get colder, these temperatures may drop slightly, so please keep that in mind when choosing your wash cycles.

    I wash all my clothes in cold water. I dry them on the lowest setting. But still all my husband's t-shirts and button downs shrink! I don't have space to hang and air dry everything, so what do I do to further prevent all of his clothes from being too small? I use an LG front-loading washer and dryer which are less than 2 years old. Could there be a problem with my equipment?

    - Mandi Lynne Barrett

    Answer: Hi Mandi, unless the shirts are 100% cotton, and have not been stabilized, then they should not be shrinking from cold water and low heat. However, I need to know where they are shrinking; collar/neck, girth (around the body), sleeves ... or all? Are the shirts a poly blend or 100% cotton. Are other shirts shrinking, too?

    Best, Steve — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I'm trying to wash a few tops that have just a tiny bit of olive oil on them. I have spot treated them, and will air dry them afterwards. However, I can't remember if I should wash them in cold or hot water. Thanks!

    - Abigail

    Answer: Abigail, I will be somewhat surprised if the oil comes out in the wash, but I would pretreat and then wash as hot as the label allows. Good for you for remembering to air dry ALL stained items. If it doesn't come out, or looks blotchy after air drying, then I'd take them to the drycleaners!

    Good luck, The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I normally wash my clothes on the gentle spin-cold water cycle to prevent shrinkage and damage. At my dorm this year, there is no option to do that on. I can only do a gentle spin-warm water wash or a high spin-cold water wash. Which of those two cycles would be the best/least likely to shrink or otherwise ruin my clothes? I won't feel comfortable washing my clothes here until I know which cycle will clean them without ruining them. Thanks for your help, Shannon

    Answer: Shannon, warm warm water may contribute to shrinkage, but hi-speed extraction usually "beats up" clothing over time. I would go with the gentle spin and warm. If there's something more delicate then spin and then air dry the rest of the way if you can. You can also buy some mesh wash nets at to reduce the wear on clothing.

    Best — The Clothing Doctor

    I have a new tennis uniform that is 92% polyester and 8% spandex. The directions on the tag say do NOT tumble dry, I'm guessing this is to prevent shrinking. However my uniform is a little to big and I would like It to shrink! Is it safe to tumble dry if I do want it to shrink?
    - Natalie McNitt

    Answer: Natalie, It's tough to know the answer to this without seeing and inspecting the outfit, but I can tell you that heat from drying could, over time, affect the elastic and lycra and stretch memory. However, if the outfit cannot be altered, and you won't wear it unless it shrinks, I would try tumbling it on a low temperature to see if it helps. If it does help, then do it again, and maybe increase the heat a bit. It's always best to take it slowly, one step at a time.

    Best - The Clothing Doctor

    I know that heat sets stains, but I have a whipped cream stain on my cotton polyester shirt. The care instructions say to wash warm so is there any way to avoid setting the stain while washing it?
    - Jonathan Boyd

    Answer: Jonathan, should not be a problem with warm or hot water on polyester. However, after applying a stain remover and washing, be sure to AIR DRY the shirt, so the heat of drying does not "set" the stain.

    Best - Steve, The Clothing Doctor

    Do I just need to separate my laundry by lights/darks, or fabric type, too?

    Answer: The short answer is yes. It is always best to sort and classify — even with the challenge of doing laundry at college — and here’s why:

    • Black, red, green and other deep colors can bleed onto other lighter garments even in cold water, at least the first time the garment is washed. So, keep the dark colors together. You may want to wash red and black separately for the first washing.
    • Keep “whites” and light pastels together to keep them bright.
    • Heavy or “hard-tailored” items such as jeans should not be in the same load as delicate clothing.
    • Lastly, very soiled clothing, be it beer splashed or vomit covered, should be rinsed in the sink and then washed separately!

    Can I wash my white-tanish cargo pants with blue jeans or dry them together?
    - Roland Sanchez

    Answer: Hi Roland, thanks for writing. As funny as it may seem, I can't give you a simple answer because of the variables:

    If the blue jeans have been washed before
    How deep the blue is in the jeans — or how faded they are
    How much synthetic there is in the fabric (or blend)
    The temperature of the wash water ...

    With that being said, I would wash the jeans alone, or with a white towel, to see how much the color bleeds onto the white towel or rag. If there's dye on the white item, then you have your answer. Removing blue dye from Cargo pants, without ruining them is very complicated and risky. If the blue jeans don't bleed onto the towel then you're probably okay, especially if you use cold water. Feel free to write back with any questions.

    I hope this helps!

    Steve Boorstein, The Clothing Doctor

    I wasn't very careful with my laundry and didn't separate the colors. I looked at 2 of my white shirts and noticed that where there had been armpit stains, they've turned greyish. Will bleach help to get the stains out or is there any alternative?

    - Mellissa

    Answer: Hi Mellissa,
    Thanks for writing. Discolored underarms are the number one problem we face, and it's the most asked question. I am not sure that the greying is a result of failing to classify colors when washing. Perspiration starts out clear, but once the sweaty garment is "left alone" at he bottom of the closet or in a basket for a few days or a week, the clear stain oxidizes and can take on color ... yellow or sometimes grey. I don't have a quick fix for you, but I do have some preventive advice for your other clothing — and maybe a solution for this particular shirt.

    Preventive Care

    • Do NOT wear a soiled garment more than once, as the perspiration will become twice as hard to remove!
    • After wearing a shirt, once, take a toothbrush and some soapy water and "work" the underarms to break up the sweat. Then you can throw it in the wash pile for a few days — or as soon as you can wash it — with fewer worries. There should be NO downside to this as long as the shirt is washable.
    • Re-wet and re-treat the underarms again just before washing.
    • Air dry ALL stained garments — unless you know the stain has been removed during pre-treatment — or the heat of drying may set the stain permanently. Re-inspect after washing and before drying to be sure.
    Removing grey from the discolored shirt
    • Fill a bucket or a sink with 4" of warm-to-hot soapy water. Then ADD a color-safe bleach or brightener (such as Clorox 2 or Oxiclean Versatile). Not regular bleach!
    • Let soak for up to an hour, checking the garment as it soaks.
    • Then drain, rinse and re-drain. Allow the shirt to air dry, in case the stain is not completely removed. If the stain is gone, re-wash and have a great day!

    This is a tried and true process that works, but preventive care makes everything easier.

    Best of luck,

    Steve Boorstein — The Clothing Doctor

    I have some white t-shirts with colors on them or graphic designs. I wanted to know: is it best to wash them with other colored clothing or white shirts?

    - Marvin

    Answer: Marvin, you should be able to wash them with other clothing, but I would test the colors first. Dip a clean cloth into soap and diluted ammonia, touch the wetted cloth to the brightest or deepest colors, and then allow the ammonia soaked cloth to sit on the printed design for 3-5 minutes. If there is no dye bleed or evidence of color on the test cloth, then gently rub the printed area. If there's still NO dye on the test cloth, then the T's should be safe to wash.

    Best, Steve — The Clothing Doctor

    I wash and dry a full (possibly too big?) load every week using high efficiency detergent, and lately my clothes have been coming out very damp and smelly. Will simply drying the clothing more fix the smell, or should I switch or use more detergent?
    - Dan

    Answer: Thanks for your question Dan.

    It’s hard to tell if your laundry load is too large without seeing it, but from your description it sounds like that may be the case. Remember to pile clothes into the washer loosely, rather than stuffing them in. The clothes need a little room to move in order to be cleaned and then spun out effectively. Same thing goes for the dryer, clothes need room to billow to be dried completely.

    Don’t use more detergent, that won’t help. In fact, too much detergent doesn’t clean better. It leaves residue on your clothing and can cause over-sudsing which could make the machine malfunction during the cycle. Also, you should remove your clothes from the washer promptly when the cycle is complete to minimize odor. After removing your clothing, it's also helpful to leave the washer door open to let it air out after each load.

    And finally, be sure to clean the dryer lint filter before you dry your clothes. This helps maximize air flow which improves the efficiency of the dryer to get the job done in one cycle.

    Hope this helps!

    I don't separate many of my clothes before washing, other than lights, darks and delicates. Recently, we have noticed some clothes being left with a smell after washing. We use Soapnuts, essential oil, & fabric softener. We think more fabric softener will help, but we're trying to be eco & economically friendly by using soapnuts in the first place! It might be from not separating things like socks, towels and underwear from the rest of the wash. Or perhaps we should consider a pre-wash?
    - Dwain

    Answer: Dwain,

    Thanks for writing. Soapnuts are a natural fabric softener and a natural odor remover. They help to reduce odor in diapers and other personal items. I also know that cold water does not remove soil as well as hot water (or as well as Tide for Cold Water). Given that you are trying to be as Green as possible with your ingredients and water temperature, I would try the following:

    • Start classifying dirty socks and undies — and other heavily soiled clothing — into their own load

    • Stop using fabric softener for 30-60 days (you could try adding a teaspoon of vinegar instead). Do not increase the amount of softener!

    • I don't know if you have a top-load or a front-load, but your washer may have some residual odor that needs to be removed. You can use 1/2 cup of Clorox bleach in an "empty" load to disinfect the inside. Or, you could use a Whirlpool or Tide product designed to do the same thing ... just this once!

    • If none of this works, feel free to contact us directly at

    Good luck,

    Steve — The Clothing Doctor

    Hi, I have some mildew in my towels. I usually wash all my clothes together in cold water, because I do not own too many clothes that will fade. I want to get rid of the mildew in the towels, and I was wondering if I should wash them in cold or hot water? I do not have any pre-treatment or clorox at college. Do I need to use these? Thanks.

    - Evan

    Answer: Evan, is this mildew a one-time thing, or do you think it will continue to occur? First thing, mildew usually forms because the towels were left in a "wet" condition or in a wet area for too long. Mildew, depending on the severity, can be very hard to remove, and it's NEVER going to be removed with cold water. If the towels "just smell," then it will be easier than if the towels already contain green or purple dots.

    You will have to rewash the towels as HOT as possible, for as long as possible, with a good amount of detergent. I would also include a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach in the load. Be prepared to lose some color if the towels are colored. Then dry the towels completely.

    If the odor or dots are still present after drying, then you will have to soak the towels in a stronger solution of bleach: But NEVER allow even a drop of bleach to come in contact with the towel itself: Chlorine bleach (Clorox) should always be diluted in water before touching the towels (or any other clothing). Write back if you need further advice!

    Good luck, Steve — The Clothing Doctor

    I have a really nice shirt that is 98% polyester and 2% spandex. I wore it to someone’s house that smokes and it really held on to the smell. I decided to throw it in the dryer with a fabric softener sheet to get rid of the smell. When I went to put it on there was all kinds of discoloration on it, like darker green than the rest of the shirt. Is it possible it melted? Can it be fixed? Thanks!

    - Jessica

    Answer: Jessica, this is a tough one, but unless the care label says Do Not Tumble, then the heat shouldn't be the issue. Personally, I would wash the shirt, rather than use a scented fabric softener. As for the green discoloration, I would wash it as hot as it allows, if it hasn't been washed already. If you still can't figure it out, go to and email us a digital picture of the discoloration.

    Hi! I wear a dry clean only suit every day. I sweat a lot, and when I get them cleaned the underarm odor doesn’t go away. By the end of the next wear I can smell the unpleasant smell. It makes me self-conscious. My navy blue suit jacket is polyester, rayon and spandex on the outer shell and 100% polyester lining. The tag says dry-clean only. Please help me- I do wear deodorant, and wear my suits multiple times between cleanings because I wear suits daily.
    - Samantha

    Answer: Samantha, this is an age-old problem. First, synthetic fabrics tend to hold body odor, so you are already fighting an uphill battle:

    •First, you need to instruct the "spotter" at your drycleaner to STEAM out the underarms, before cleaning. Most do not.
    •They will have to use a stain remover on the underarms to remove the residual odor. Once done, the spotter at the cleaners needs to use a steam gun and stain remover EVERY time it's cleaned, as perspiration doesn't really come out in dry-cleaning.
    •It takes extra care and effort to keep up on this, but most BO problems can be improved.
    •Have your cleaner call me directly if they don't understand!

    The Clothing Doctor

    My towels smell like they have soured and despite repeat washings, They still smell that way when they get wet. I tried putting 1/4 cup white vinegar in the wash, and it seems to help some. Do you have any other solutions that are better?
    - Stuart

    Answer: As, a remedy for already smelly towels, you might try rewashing as HOT as possible, with detergent and OXI-CLEAN Versatile. And do NOT over stuff the washer. If after washing and drying, you still have odors, you can either buy new towels (and start doing it right from the beginning), or you could dump some Clorox in the washer to kill the bacteria, but it will change the color of the towels, if they aren't white.

    The Clothing Doctor

    After every wash our clothes smell of damp. Please tell me the answer. We have tried crystals in the machine. Is it to do with the temperature?
    - Steven Ditkiewicz

    Answer: Steven, I'm not sure what you are asking. Are clothes damp, after spinning or after drying? A slow extract or spin of 800 RPMs can leave clothing damp, requiring longer drying times. A spin speed of 1000-1200 is much more efficient. If I haven't answered your questions, then write back with more specific details. Thanks!

    The Clothing Doctor

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