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 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 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 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 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.

    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

    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

    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

    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 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

    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

    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

    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

    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! 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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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 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

    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

    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

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