What Causes Blue Stains on Laundry?

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Blue laundry stains are unattractive and may or may not be removable.

From yellow stains on cotton to blue stains and marks on polyester, laundry stains can destroy your favorite outfit, garment or other cloth item within minutes. Stains happen within your washing machine and are embedded, sometimes permanently, during the drying process. Blue stains, like other colored stains, are unattractive and frustrating to remove. In certain instances you may not even be able to remove blue stains. The stains are caused by a number of factors.

Water Issue

One cause of blue stains on your laundry is faulty pipes carrying dirty water into your home's washing machine. Over time, your home's pipes begin to deteriorate, resulting in the water turning acidic. The acid is from carbon dioxide dissolving in the water and appears as a blue stain on garments and fabrics. The staining may or may not be permanent.

Laundry Detergent or Stain Remover

Using a laundry detergent or laundry stain remover/aid containing blue coloring that doesn't dissolve or disperse properly can cause blue staining. The staining is not permanent.

Fabric Softener

Using fabric softener containing blue coloring or using fabric softener improperly can result in blue stains appearing on your laundry. The staining is not permanent.

Color Transfer

Washing a garment or piece of fabric with another garment/fabric containing blue coloring or dye can also result in blue stains forming due to color transfer during the washing process. These types of stains may or may not be permanent. Rewashing or treating the garment or piece of fabric with a commercial stain-removing chemical may remove the blue staining.


If the blue staining is from a water issue, mix ½ cup of bleach and ½ cup of warm water and use a soft, white cloth to blot the blue staining with the solution. If the staining is from laundry detergent, a stain remover or laundry aid, mix 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 qt. of water in a container. Soak the item in the mixture, and then wash by hand. If the staining is due to fabric softener, rub the blue stains with a piece of bar soap, and then wash the garment or piece of fabric by hand in a sink.

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Nick Davis

Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.