One Cleaners

Couture Dry Cleaner for New Orleans

Tips + FAQ

Bleach: Part Two: When and how to use bleaches correctly and safely!

Truth: The proper use of bleach can produce some stunning results, but it is not the ultimate panacea or answer to every spot, stain, or discoloration, that you’ve been led to believe!

As I’ve mentioned before, bleach works well on water-based stains, but typically does NOT remove yellow or blotchy oil-based stains from clothing or table linens (these usually require dry cleaning or washing with hot water and a strong “built” detergent).

Bleach can brighten a fabric and remove a variety of stains, but it’s best for removing the last “trace” of a colored stain or discoloration, once you have already used stain removers and have washed the garment. Bleach does NOT do its best job UNTIL basic stains and soil have been removed!

  • Assuming the garment has a wash label, and permits the use of non-chlorine bleach, most “dingy” fabrics that have yellowed or grayed can usually be brightened by soaking in a diluted bleach “bath.” This bath can be done in a sink or even a plastic 5-gallon bucket, with just enough water to immerse the item.
  • First, mix the bleach in with the warmest water allowed by the care label (about one ounce of bleach to one gallon of water) and allow it to completely dissolve.
  • Then place the garment in the water and swish it around until it’s completely wetted and covered in water. Remove all pins and jewelry from garment before immersing.
  • Let soak for up to an hour, watching the improvement and checking after twenty minutes. The stain or discoloration should lighten and the water should turn a bit “dirty” from the process.
  • After the desired time, drain the water and re-wash the garment or fabric. After drying (by air or dryer), re-inspect for stains and soil.
  • If improved, but not yet the best, repeat the whole process one more time.

** Part 3 will describe the finer points of restoration, after bleaching!

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