You may find blue stains on your laundry even when the clothes or linens are fresh out of the washing machine. This can be frustrating because although the items may be clean, they don't look their best. Fortunately, these stains can be removed and prevented.
Here's what causes blue stains on laundry — and how to get rid of them.
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Color Bleed or Transfer
It's inevitable that at some point in your life, you'll experience color bleed after doing a load of laundry. Color bleed occurs when a stray dark sock or other clothing item gets mixed in with a load of whites and the cycle is run on hot. Color bleed is one explanation for why you might have blue stains on your clothing or linens, but it's easy enough to eliminate. All you need to do to get rid of a blue laundry stain caused by color bleed is to pretreat the garment or linen with bleach and then wash. If the stain doesn't dissolve, then the blue marks might be caused by something else.
Only cotton, polyester, nylon, acrylic, and rayon fabrics can be bleached. Check your clothing or linen's care instructions to make sure it's bleach-safe. If your piece of clothing or linen isn't white, be sure to use color-safe bleach to ensure the colors don't fade.
Too Much Detergent or Fabric Softener
Blue stains on fabric also come from the blue dye that many laundry products contain. Noticing these blue stains on your laundry is an indicator that the detergent drawer or fabric softener drawer in your washing machine is being overfilled.
If the compartment is filled past capacity, then the laundry detergent or fabric softener gets dispensed into the washer right away instead of at the proper time. Premature dispensing can stain the fabric since the detergent or fabric softener is not being mixed and diluted with water. Keep this in mind and look for the fill line in the detergent and fabric softener drawer and try not to go over.
Washing machines are timed to add detergent or fabric softener after filling with water. The washer will agitate or rotate several times so that the contents are fully wet prior to dispensing detergent or fabric softener. This waters down the products and gently mixes them in to the load at the proper time during the wash cycle.
Avoid pouring laundry detergent or fabric softener directly into the washer with the clothes and don't overfill the bleach dispenser, as bleach could also be dispensed immediately and cause damage to your laundry items.
How to Remove Blue Stains Caused by Detergent
If you do find these pesky blue stains on your clothes or fabrics, they can be cleaned easily. To clean blue stains from laundry detergent:
- Pour 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 quart of water into a plastic container and mix thoroughly.
- Allow the stained items to soak for an hour.
- Rinse the items in clean water.
For blue stains from fabric softener, rub bar soap directly on the stains. Then wash the items in clean water to release the stains.
Prevention Is Key
The best way to avoid annoying blue stains in the future is to sort your laundry carefully and avoid using laundry detergent and fabric softeners that contain blue dye. Instead look for products that are labeled "free and clear," meaning free of dyes and scents.
Another preventive tip is to run a sanitize cycle in the washing machine, which means running a normal load without any laundry. This will clean your washing machine and may help it to clean your laundry more effectively.