One Cleaners

Couture Dry Cleaner for New Orleans

Tips + FAQ

Bleach: Part One: Truths about brightening and removing colored stains

Most people believe that “bleach” holds the answer to stain removal, discolorations and dulling, but it’s complicated!


Bleach should only be used once detergent and spot removers have done their job! Bleaching is a process and a science that drycleaners employ to remove stains and to brighten fabrics. Bleaching should not be confused with what comes out of a bottle of Clorox. Most of what follows here is somewhat technical, but will help you better understand what your drycleaner can do for you and what you should not do!

  • Drycleaners utilize oxidizing bleaches and reducing bleaches to brighten fabrics and to remove stains and dyes.
  • Oxidizing bleaches work by adding oxygen to stained areas. Examples of oxidizing bleaches are chlorine, sodium hypochlorite (Clorox), hydrogen peroxide, sodium perborate — and to some degree, sunlight and artificial light.
  • Oxidizing bleaches can brighten fabrics and help to remove the “last trace” of color from organic stains such as coffee, chocolate, mustard and other colored foods.
  • Reducing bleaches work by reducing oxygen, and help to remove dye stains and man-made stains. Examples of reducing bleaches are sodium bisulfite, sodium hydrosulfite and Titanium dye strippers.

** Part 2 will describe how and when to use bleaches safely.

This tip is © The Clothing Doctor and used with permission. May not be reproduced in any form without written permission.