Thread Number: 75272  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
How to remove severe yellow stains from white pillowcases?
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Post# 991035   4/17/2018 at 00:04 (187 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

So, I have a miracle to perform if possible... My Girlfriend has 2 or 3 sets of white (printed, but mainly white) sheets that are in good condition, but the pillowcases have become seriously yellow over time (she does sweat in her sleep). She has used hot water and bleach with no success. I'm thinking an overnight soak in something (not sure what to use). I've had luck removing body oil/odor from my sheets with a concoction of hot water, baking soda, and Awesome (dollar store degreaser), but I'm not sure if it will remove stains, my sheets are colored and weren't stained, just had a buildup of oil (my skin is extremely oily) and smelled funky. We both shower daily and change sheets regularly (I change mine every week, she changes hers every 2, but sleeps fully clothed) so it isn't a lack of personal hygiene, just buildup not being completely removed in the wash. We have a Magic Chef portable washer, so can soak and wash as much as necessary. Hot water is very hot and plentiful. If these sheets can't be cleaned they will likely be thrown out, we just found them while cleaning out a closet. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Post# 991042 , Reply# 1   4/17/2018 at 01:11 (187 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Sad but normal occurance for pillow slips

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Yellowing is also seen on center of bed sheets and shirt collars.

This is caused by a reaction (oxidation) of skin oils/sweat which were not promptly and totally removed during laundering. Main culprit is cholesterol which is secreted by the sebaceous glands to keep the skin soft. If perspiration is not totally removed from textiles, eventually it will go rancid and leave yellow marks.

Hence the old advice about changing *and* laundering bed linen often. Depending upon level of soiling it may be necessary to either launder pillow slips separately using a stronger detergent and adding an emulsifier, or just do the whole linen wash with same formula.

As to reversing the yellowing; it may not be totally possible. Since what has occurred is more of a chemical reaction (skin oils going rancid), rather than a "stain", you may not be able to restore things to perfect whiteness.

Post# 991044 , Reply# 2   4/17/2018 at 01:30 (187 days old) by Stan (Napa CA)        
Agree with Laundress

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You may not be able to correct
You might try taking the pillow slips to you local dry cleaner and ask that they be run through,
(dry clean only) the solvent may pull out the oil that wet cleaning can't. If successful.. When you get them back, wash as you normally would before sleeping on them.

Post# 991048 , Reply# 3   4/17/2018 at 04:46 (186 days old) by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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I use this with oxy and super hot wash (190F).  Works well.  A little bluing in the final rinse helps too.

Out White Brite Laundry Whitener, 28 Ounces

Post# 991061 , Reply# 4   4/17/2018 at 07:10 (186 days old) by Helicaldrive (St. Louis)        

Use very hot water, clear ammonia and Persil or Tide. Soak. Completely saturate the body oil stain with detergent and set it aside for half an hour before putting in the soaking bucket. Wash before the water gets cold.

Post# 991062 , Reply# 5   4/17/2018 at 07:12 (186 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
Just use a decent powder...

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Perhaps try soaking them overnight in a bucket of WARM water with biological washing powder. (Hot water will deactivate the enzymes and possibly set stains). Then, wash again with powder, in the machine. Ideally, you want to start off with cool water and bring the temperature up slowly. But you probably won't be able to do that if your machine doesn't have a heater.

Use a decent powder which contains oxygen bleach, such as 'Tide+ Bleach'. 'Sodium Percarbonate' is the oxygen bleach; 'Nonanoyloxybenzenesulfonate' (NOBS) is the bleaching activator used in the US.

This detergent also contains three enzymes, two of which are important to your problem.

The 'Protease' enzyme works to break down protein-containing body soils and secretions, such as skin cells which are sloughed off by friction of fabrics against the body.

Apparently, the 'Lipase' enzyme has a delayed reaction. When washed with a detergent containing lipase, the enzyme partly converts the grease/oil to soap, even as it dries. (I imagine line drying is best for the enzyme). The next time the garment is washed, the partially converted stain lifts out much more readily.

'Disodium Diaminostilbene Disulfonate' is the brightening agent. It makes fabrics look substantially whiter, by absorbing invisible ultraviolet light and re-transmitting it on a different wavelength; i.e visible.

'Sodium Carbonate' is washing soda, which is a proven degreasing agent.

'Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate' and 'Sodium Laureth Sulfate' are the actual detergent surfactants.

Sodium Carbonate
Sodium Sulfate
Sodium Aluminosilicate
Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate
Sodium Percarbonate
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Sodium Polyacrylate
Palmitic Acid
Polyethylene Glycol 4000
Disodium Diaminostilbene Disulfonate
Fd&C Blue #1

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Post# 991063 , Reply# 6   4/17/2018 at 07:24 (186 days old) by Helicaldrive (St. Louis)        
Forgot to say

Use ammonia every time you wash sheets, and use hot water too. A scant 1/4 cup in an HE front loader.and up to 2 or 3 cups in a full fill top loader. Fantastic stuff. It does not bleach or fade items. Surprisingly, it does not leave behind any odor, harm fabrics or irritate skin.

Make sure it is clear ammonia with no detergent added. Sudsy ammonia will make a mess in a FL.

The gimmick here is that with housecleaning, ammonia dissolves grease and oil like nothing else. Same with body oil in fabrics.

And it’s dirt cheap!

P.S. to keep pillows from getting yellow and smelly, put two or three white fabric zippered pillow protectors on each pillow and the pillow slip over that. Wash all items weekly in hot water.

Post# 991064 , Reply# 7   4/17/2018 at 07:34 (186 days old) by Helicaldrive (St. Louis)        

Didn’t know TWB has lipase. Very hard to find in detergents. Persil power pearls has it., but only the power pearls.

Post# 991065 , Reply# 8   4/17/2018 at 07:39 (186 days old) by Helicaldrive (St. Louis)        
Powder detergents

Numerous people on this site have said powder detergent works better esp with whites. And they are so right. I have always wondered, why is that so?

Post# 991067 , Reply# 9   4/17/2018 at 08:02 (186 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        

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Powders work better because they have better detergent technologies built in. Powders have sequestering agents, buffering agents, bleaching agents, brightening agents, biological agents (enzymes) along with the 'surface active agents' (surfactants). Ingredients which might react in storage, can be effectively encapsulated within a stable coating. All in all, a superior product.

Frequently, liquids are trade-offs on the stability of the liquid's formulation against how effective it is. Bleaches can't be used because they destabilise and deactivate enzymes. Liquids are good for pre-treating greasy stains, and for quick washes. But for whites, they are a 'no-no'. Don't be fooled either, by "Bleach alternative" slogans on liquids. There's not one iota of bleach near the product - they rely on optical brighteners to try to disguise the fact.

Post# 991071 , Reply# 10   4/17/2018 at 08:28 (186 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
Tide Powders...

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Of the four Tide powders available, all of them have oxygen bleach, brightening agents and enzymes.

Tide 'Free & Gentle' has neither fragrance nor product colouring. And a couple of processing aid ingredients seem to be absent too.

Tide 'with Downy' seems to be pretty much similar to 'Original Scent' and '+ Bleach' formulations.

I suspect Tide '+ Bleach' has a slightly higher level of bleaching and brightening agents, compared to 'Original Scent' and 'With Downy' variants.

Post# 991077 , Reply# 11   4/17/2018 at 08:47 (186 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Some good advice here!

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One way to avoid buildup of oil/fat based compounds, especially from humans, is to use 1/2 cup of TSP with a load of bedding, together with a good enzyme based detergent. One needn't worry about the water being too warm in most American washers, the stupid dumbing down of machines here guarantees that 'hot' is nothing more than luke-warm for the normal rest of the world.



Post# 991081 , Reply# 12   4/17/2018 at 10:15 (186 days old) by lakewebsterkid (Dayton, Ohio)        

I second this suggestion. You would be surprised by how much residue it will remove. I used it on my bedsheets recently, and they feel like new. I just discussed this on ths.gardenweb. I had an old dark sweatshirt that had cooking oil on it. I washed it in cold with other dark items as usual, and just used a 1/4 cup of ammonia. The oil stain was completely removed. White Brite is another good suggestion, but does not have the oil removing effect of ammonia. Just be sure to not use it with bleach. Supposedly it has a very powerful effect when you mix it with a bit of Oxiclean, and can super whiten.

Post# 991082 , Reply# 13   4/17/2018 at 10:17 (186 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

An aerosol pretreater like Shout in the metal aerosol can could be tried. Spray the fabric, let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes then wash in a good detergent solution with STPP. Bleaching is not the answer. The bond between the oil and the textile has to be broken. If you cannot find Shout, you could try to find a degreaser at the auto supply store. Knight's Spray Nine might work.

Post# 991084 , Reply# 14   4/17/2018 at 10:27 (186 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
When dealing with lots oil/fat

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STPP works, of course. TSP is the better choice, in my opinion, as it is more base and more readily forms soap, keeping the oil/fat from redepositing.

We'll never resolve the STPP/TSP fan club opinions, though, will we?

Post# 991124 , Reply# 15   4/17/2018 at 13:56 (186 days old) by RP2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Has anyone ever used Rit Whitener & Brightener or know what's in it -- if they still make it?   I think my mom used it for sheer curtains.

Post# 991143 , Reply# 16   4/17/2018 at 16:43 (186 days old) by rickr (.)        

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When I launder bedding, I always wash in hot water, and add quite a bit of ammonia. While I don't think this will remove the yellow stains in theses sheets, it would be useful advice for her next sheet set.

Post# 991147 , Reply# 17   4/17/2018 at 17:00 (186 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Throw the f@&king things out and buy some new ones,already. How much could it cost?
Wash in hot water with a good detergent. No sense in trying to re-invent the wheel.
Just 'sayin.

Post# 991151 , Reply# 18   4/17/2018 at 17:22 (186 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

I guess some people just throw things out when they get dirty rather than clean them, and give the money tree a shake for new ones. I think I'm going to try an overnight soak in Powdered Tide, Oxi Clean, and some Dawn. Will see what results we get.

Post# 991154 , Reply# 19   4/17/2018 at 17:39 (186 days old) by brisnat81 (Brisbane Australia)        

I second the Ammonia suggestion. Every other month I soak all my Synthetic gym wear in Ammonia, Omo and Hotwater overnight. The water usually comes out brown.

I then just wash as usual with detergent.

Post# 991158 , Reply# 20   4/17/2018 at 18:12 (186 days old) by Michaelman2 (Atlanta, GA)        
Fabric all cotton?

Are these sheets 100% cotton?

Post# 991161 , Reply# 21   4/17/2018 at 18:42 (186 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

Can't really use ammonia, she has cats and ammonia + cats = marking. Definitely don't want that.
I believe they are a cotton/poly blend, some may be 100%, not sure. I'm going over tomorrow, and I want to get them washed and ready to use, they have been in the closet for quite some time and we are cleaning closets out. If they can't be saved they will likely be thrown out, they just look nasty even though they have been washed and are technically clean.

Post# 991163 , Reply# 22   4/17/2018 at 19:01 (186 days old) by Michaelman2 (Atlanta, GA)        
May be the problem:

Dustin92. I believe therin lies the problem. If there is any polyester fiber in those sheets it will yellow bleaching can make things worse. If you decide to replace the sheets... make sure they are all natural fibers.

Post# 991168 , Reply# 23   4/17/2018 at 20:16 (186 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        

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If they just wanted to throw them out, they wouldn't have asked the world's leading washer site for our opinion.

Honestly, could we just try being a bit nicer? We can save the nasties for Dirty Laundry.

Post# 991175 , Reply# 24   4/17/2018 at 21:27 (186 days old) by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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You know Dustin, hydorgen peroxide is very inexpensive, why not buy a couple of quarts of medicinal (3%) peroxide and put the sheets in a sink or dishpan and thoroughly saturate the sheets with the peroxide and let them sit for 20 to 30 mins and see if that doesn’t take out the yellow. Then wash them in the hottest water possible with Tide powder with Bleach. This may do the trick. Even if you bought 3 quarts of peroxide I don’t believe it would cost more than $6.00 or so. And you can always use the Tide with Bleach. That’s what I would try. Sweat, or persperation stains are not unlike urine stains and I think peroxide works on urine stains.

And for what it’s worth, Keven I agree with your statement above, well said!

Post# 991177 , Reply# 25   4/17/2018 at 21:50 (186 days old) by Helicaldrive (St. Louis)        

I always wonder if Gyrafoam knows how funny he is. Like when he said washing machines today have become sewers for laundry. Very funny guy.

Hopefully someone will get another good laugh at my expense here. See, for me it’s all about the challenge. So I’d get them clean first, and then I’d throw them out!

Post# 991178 , Reply# 26   4/17/2018 at 21:55 (186 days old) by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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I have cats and use ammonia...have never had a marking problem with them.  When a neighborhood cat decides to mark my door outside I clean it with windex to remove the cat's every time.

Post# 991184 , Reply# 27   4/17/2018 at 22:12 (186 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

I picked up a tub of Oxi Clean and some Borax, will soak them in that and Tide, possibly throw some Dawn in there for good measure. They don't have to be 100% perfect, but at least useable. The pillowcases are literally lemon yellow right now. Will see what happens :)

Post# 991188 , Reply# 28   4/17/2018 at 22:40 (186 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Before starting sort out the fabric content first.

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Polyester has different properties from say cotton. For one the thing is famously hydrophilic (resists water) and loves oil. If you've ever gotten salad oil on say a polyester tablecloth you know how bad things can get.

If pillow slips are already clean I'd start by first giving them a quick pre-wash with perhaps some STPP if you can find it. Purpose here is to strip out detergent residue that can also make things seem dingy looking.

Since or once the pillow slips are (already) clean, what you want is to reverse/bleach out the yellowing. For this there are a few methods.

One calls for dissolving Oxiclean, sodium percarbonate, sodium perborate into a tub (not metal) of water, then adding more warm to hot water to fill. Then immersing the item or items and allow them to soak for several hours/overnight. Every now and then agitate/push down the items.

After about 12 hours or more (oxygen bleach will remain active for some time in solution), lift items or items out and examine. If no change put back into soaking tub and continue. After about 24 hours if there isn't a change, you'll need to make up another batch of soaking solution as all the oxygen bleach power has been spent.

The other method calls for dissolving oxygen bleach in a non metal pot (stainless steel will work, but not aluminum) filled with some water, then add enough water that will cover items/item. Put pot over burner and allow to slowly reach temp of about 180F. Do not fill pot more than 3/4's full and keep an eye on things. As the water reaching hot to boiling items will float up and the oxygen bleach will froth, both can cause a "boil over" mess if not careful.

Boil for one half hour, then turn off and cover. Heat accelerates the bleaching power of all hydrogen peroxide bleaches. So instead of soaking for 12, 24 or whatever long hours, you can cut that time down to a few. OTOH boiling is harsh on textiles especially in an alkaline environment.

Either way when satisfied with results, and or feel things are about as good as they are going to get, remove things from boiling/soaking pot and rinse thoroughly. You can do this in washing machine or by hand, but all the chemicals used in soaking must be washed out.


Post# 991202 , Reply# 29   4/18/2018 at 05:05 (185 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
And, after all of this sage advice...

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... hopefully your whites will be white... right through!

Post# 991208 , Reply# 30   4/18/2018 at 06:31 (185 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        
"could we just try being a bit nicer"

LMAO, the "house hypocrite" has spoken. Hahahahahaha.

Sometimes it just isn't worth the time to try and re-invent the wheel. New pillow slips are cheap.

Post# 991218 , Reply# 31   4/18/2018 at 08:16 (185 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Here's a question - I don't know the answer and am c

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Can some oil/fat based stains in laundry be removed using another oil, one which is easier to remove?

I'm thinking of how we often use warm olive oil to remove greasy/oily stains from our hands.

No idea, but I am curious.

(I'm not going down the lighter hydrocarbon road here. No benzene, kerosene, etc. Sure do miss Carbon Tetrachloride, though. That stuff would have removed this problem, 100% sure.)

Post# 991219 , Reply# 32   4/18/2018 at 08:27 (185 days old) by rickr (.)        

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LOL!! Steve, I was thinking the same thing.

Post# 991221 , Reply# 33   4/18/2018 at 08:38 (185 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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Set grease stains are often burned in if they haven't been soaked in warm water but directly washed in hot. No use of trying to get those stains out.

Post# 991224 , Reply# 34   4/18/2018 at 09:16 (185 days old) by Michaelman2 (Atlanta, GA)        

Yep, that is why I asked about the fabric and the fiber content in reply 20.

It was then it came out then we were dealing with something other than 100 percent cotton.

If they are a poly-blend they simply may have seen better days and the yellowing will always be present.

The lemon yellow you describe is very common in that blend once a bleaching agent has done all it will be able to do.

Sebum binds with the esters used to produce the polyester. The Ammonia suggestion is a good one with Ammonia being a strong base.

It may lift the yellowing a bit and if you then use a vinegar rinse, there should be no problem with the animals being attracted.

Post# 991244 , Reply# 35   4/18/2018 at 12:26 (185 days old) by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

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Yellowing can also occur if there is too much iron, copper or manganic content in the water. The metals bond to residual sebum that has not been removed sufficiently in previous washes.
If that is the case a lime and rust remover (bathroom spray) might help.
The next step would be to remove the remaining grease stain completely. If you prefer boil washing with Persil, ammonia, soaking, TSP, STPP, dry cleaning or all together is up to you.

Post# 991251 , Reply# 36   4/18/2018 at 14:12 (185 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
There are basically few ways of getting oil out of fabrics

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Using moderate to high pH (think sodium hydroxide (lye), sodium metasilicate, washing soda, phosphates, etc...

That and or using emulsifiers such as soaps along with solvents such as types of alcohols.

In the old says commercial laundries and others could purchase soaps built with benzene. That or people simply bought the stuff straight to use with laundry as a spot treatment and or in the wash. Other extreme was to add gasoline or kerosene to the wash tub.

Mr. Fels solved this issue by finding a way to build naptha (Stoddard solvent) into a soap in such a way it wouldn't evaporate and thus remain shelf stable. This spawned a host of copycat "naptha" soaps.

Am here to tell you Fels naptha soap of old (the one with naptha/Stoddard solvent) will remove all sorts of oil/fat stains from fabrics. This along with lipstick, makeup, etc....

If you examine the ingredient list of modern emulsifiers for commercial laundries most contain soaps, and some sort of alcohol (butyl being common) or alcohols.

Commercial laundries faced with items badly soiled by oils/fats (such as candle wax) will first launder in water (dry cleaning can set certain stains due to the heat), dry, then dry clean the article. Solvents used in the latter process are normally more than enough to remove whatever fats/oils remaining in fabrics.

Post# 991258 , Reply# 37   4/18/2018 at 14:54 (185 days old) by hoovermatic (UK)        

When I was a bar attendant, many years ago, working long hours and perspiring in the heat of a busy, smoky bar or nightclub, my white shirts used to get very yellow under the arms after a while, which I guess was a combination of sweating and deodorants/antiperspirant building up. Some kind person mentioned that I soak my shirts in a solution of Napisan before washing - at 23 years old I had never heard of Napisan so she bought me a box and sure enough, it took the yellowing out completely. I went on to make this part of my laundry routine from then on. Not sure if Napisan would work in this instance?

Post# 991304 , Reply# 38   4/18/2018 at 19:12 (185 days old) by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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When I had my first washer in 1972, a used Maytag wringer, I always used Fels Naptha Powder. That stuff was the bomb! With the combination of the vigorous Maytag agitation, hot water and Fels Powder I never have before or since see such perfectly immaculate laundry. And the clothes were soft, even though I used to hang them outside to dry most of the time.

I sure wish they still sold this product.

Thanks for the memory Launderess🙂

Post# 991355 , Reply# 39   4/19/2018 at 02:07 (185 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
If they are cotton

Boil them like our grandparents did.

Post# 991363 , Reply# 40   4/19/2018 at 05:57 (184 days old) by warmsecondrinse (Fort Lee, NJ)        

If all else fails, I'd try Didi Seven.

I know people tend to roll their eyes....

HOWEVER, the fact remain that since I was given a tube back in the 80's it's removed stains nothing else touched.


Post# 991372 , Reply# 41   4/19/2018 at 07:01 (184 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
"Didi Seven..."

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Ah - I vaguely remember the adverts on British telly! The wonder stain remover!

However, according to Wikipaedia...
"In 2011, Interwood Marketing was acquired by Northern Response. As of August 2017, the product is no longer available."

Post# 991438 , Reply# 42   4/19/2018 at 17:23 (184 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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There are two ways to bleach fabrics; one can either add oxygen (oxidizing bleaches such as chlorine or oxygen/hydrogen based), or remove oxygen by use of a reducing bleach (sodium bisulfite, etc....)

Commercial and or professional laundries, dry cleaners, etc.. have long known about both types of bleaches and use accordingly. While DiDi7 formula was a closely guarded secret, going by the adverts and description of what product did/worked, am going to guess it was some sort of reducing bleach.

Reducing bleaches are also sold as color removers, and they do so *VERY well. RIT and other dye makers sell such bleaches to remove all color from fabrics before they are to be dyed (just as in the professional side of things).

Oxygen bleaches in most cases and especially if used properly will not remove colorfast dyes. OTOH reducing bleaches again can and will.

One suspects reason why Didi7 was removed likely involved same fate as similar products from Europe and elsewhere; the ingredients gave regulators fits about safety, and then there were consumer complaints. Things like someone trying to remove a red wine stain from a blue shirt and got a nice white spot.

Post# 991439 , Reply# 43   4/19/2018 at 17:30 (184 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Uhm...not to be a smartass...

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Why not just buy new white pillow cases? And then just keep those white. When my white pillow cases get dingy, and no Tide/hot water/Clorox helps, out they go. For me, it's just not worth the extra effort and expense. 


Post# 991462 , Reply# 44   4/19/2018 at 21:24 (184 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        
And... Done!

Last night I soaked the pillowcases in a concoction of a full scoop of OxiClean, a full OxiClean scoop each of Borax and Baking soda, about 1/2 cup of Awesome degreaser, and about a load worth of Tide. Also a squirt of Dawn for good measure. All mixed in a bucket of HOT water. The water started turning yellow almost immediately, I let them soak for a couple hours while we went out to dinner. Came back and rinsed them out thoroughly, then washed in HOT water with a Tide pod, a scoop each of Baking Soda and Borax, and about a cup of bleach. The results- Spotless. No yellow to be seen. Also did the same to the sheets (although in the washer) and a little lighter on the products. Soaked those overnight, washed this morning. All look like new. Sheets/pillowcases were 60% cotton, 40% polyester.

Post# 991464 , Reply# 45   4/19/2018 at 21:30 (184 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Well alrighty then! Congratulations!

Post# 991465 , Reply# 46   4/19/2018 at 21:30 (184 days old) by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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Congratulations on your success and tenacity Dustin!

Necessity is once again the Mother of invention. I’ve never heard of just quite that exact “mix” for stain removal, but you proved to yourself it works. Good for you.

Post# 991466 , Reply# 47   4/19/2018 at 21:40 (184 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Good for you, Dustin!

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You taught us something!

Post# 991469 , Reply# 48   4/19/2018 at 21:54 (184 days old) by DavidBlazor (Astoria Oregon)        
Hotel laundries

Working in a hotel laundry we use a Ecolab product called POWER PAK. You might ask your local hotel manager about buying 1 package from them. We put 1 full package in the 50 pound washer and 2 packs in the 100 pound washer. Our reclaim cycle is a 45 minutes soak with a regular cycle that follows. We do our reclaim loads at the end of the day because the cycle time is so long.

Using a small machine you may only want to put a couple of tablespoons worth in the machine. Also you would need to rinse such items three times to get all the chemical out. This power pak becomes extremely sudsy. When drying use a medium or low heat as well.

At the hotel where I work we do around 200 pounds of reclaim laundry a week. Not bad for a property that does 2-3000 pounds of laundry every day.


Post# 991477 , Reply# 49   4/19/2018 at 22:46 (184 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Ecloab frowns upon domestic consumers

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Or anyone else not "professional" or industry related getting mitts upon their products. Ecolab will provide *NO* customer support to domestic consumers. Industrial/commercial customers go through their local sales people IIRC.

That being said Ecolab's like many other commercial laundry *reclaim* products are highly dangerous things to mess about with if one does not know what one is doing.

At dilution the stuff has a pH of 10.5 - 11.5, which makes it a hair less powerful than ammonia.

As noted reclaim washes are normally done before the main cycles. For one thing it will take several water changes and the actions of other chemicals to bring down the pH of fabrics and neutralize the strong base substances used in reclaim formula.

For the small amounts needed in a domestic washing machine (again you'd have to work out the dilution ratios on one's own as Ecolab won't divulge), even one packet would last a very long time.

Given the high amount of chlorine bleach and strong base pH level Ecolab rightly states this reclaim product is not safe for colors. IIRC the pillow slips in question have a print pattern.

Post# 991480 , Reply# 50   4/20/2018 at 00:24 (184 days old) by Michaelman2 (Atlanta, GA)        
Weakened fiber and fabrics

Dustin...this is great news regarding the removal of the staining!!

The products David mentions being used in hotels and other commercial applications are similar in alkalinity to the mixture you used.

They significantly weaken and degrade the fibers. A "reclaim" wash/cycle is used to try and get as many uses out of the sheets (and towels) as possible. I am a former hotelier and it was my experience when sheets and towels were reclaimed, they were very prone to tearing and becoming threadbare.

Strong alkaline chemicals also "open the pores or cuticles" of the fibers making them more prone to future staining.

Please use care when laundering in the future so you do not go from sheets to.... gauze. (I have seen this happen).

Post# 991481 , Reply# 51   4/20/2018 at 00:28 (184 days old) by StrongEnough78 (California)        

strongenough78's profile picture
Good job Dustin! And you didn't have to throw them out! I use White King with my whites to soften the hard water here. Does wonders for dingy whites. If Wisk was still in production I would suggest using that but, unfortunately, Wisk is no longer. But it managed to get old yellow arm pit and collar stains out that had been in my white t shirts for years. I would still consider getting some White King if you have hard water in your area. You will start to notice how much brighter your whites and bright colors will get.

Post# 991488 , Reply# 52   4/20/2018 at 03:03 (184 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Very well then, one likes a man with make do and mend

launderess's profile picture
Mentality. Throwing away otherwise perfectly serviceable linens that just needed a bit of good cleaning. Bah!

Now your job is to keep the linens that way. *LOL*

Post# 991489 , Reply# 53   4/20/2018 at 03:10 (184 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Believe one has stated before

launderess's profile picture
In commercial laundries "reclaim" is for linens that otherwise were destined for rag bin. If the stains come out and things can be restored to service, so much the better. Should in the end you have items that didn't come out as planned, well there is always that rag bin.

Yes, all reclaim formulas (rust, yellowing, dingy, etc...) are extremely hard not only on the textiles in question but the washing machine as well. The process is all but certain to shorten the lifespan of both if repeated frequently.

Post# 991506 , Reply# 54   4/20/2018 at 08:25 (183 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
There's nothing more interesting

panthera's profile picture

Than to see how differently we all approach 'consumables'. Once upon a time, this was The American Way:


  View Full Size
Post# 991546 , Reply# 55   4/20/2018 at 13:43 (183 days old) by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

lordkenmore's profile picture

It's almost hard to believe that there was a time people were urged to make things last...


Fast forward many years, and we get Bush urging us to help fight terrorism by going to the mall and sending our Visa card into meltdown...

Post# 991605 , Reply# 56   4/21/2018 at 02:34 (183 days old) by Stan (Napa CA)        
Glad it worked!

stan's profile picture
Sounds as if the bucket did the trick! Using the bucket made the Borax, OxiClean, Tide, ect into what you might call "concentrated" emulsifiers and water softeners. More of these in the hot water than if they had been in normal amount water in the washer. Then rinsing all that out, and away...and starting over..
Good trick to know. I may have some dingy white sheets packed away in the attic.. If I can find them, I'm going copy technique to test
(I might change the concoction though)

Post# 991607 , Reply# 57   4/21/2018 at 02:56 (183 days old) by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        
Isn't there an old time solution for yellowed linens?

sudsmaster's profile picture
Namely, BLUING???

Me, I'd soak the yellow stained linens in a bucket of hot water plus STPP plus powdered detergent.

Then wash as usual with a good quality powdered detergent (like Tide).

And if all fails, add some bluing (if you can find it!).

Post# 991611 , Reply# 58   4/21/2018 at 04:13 (183 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Bluing can only counteract the slight yellow tinge

launderess's profile picture
That comes from age and or poor laundering; it cannot nor will not totally reverse really bad "lemon yellow" stains.

Home economists, professional laundries (good ones) of old had a saying; properly laundered linens and clothing does not need bluing.

Suppose one could make up a bluing bath that would be dark enough to "hide" bad yellowing; but then you'd also likely have an article tinted dark blue as well.

Post# 991615 , Reply# 59   4/21/2018 at 06:18 (182 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
Bluing of yellow stains...

rolls_rapide's profile picture
Is there a chance the bluing will turn the yellow stain green instead?

Post# 991675 , Reply# 60   4/21/2018 at 16:29 (182 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Does she or doesn't she? Only her hairdresser knows for

launderess's profile picture
While anything is possible don't think using bluing on yellow stained or even dyed textiles will produce same result as applying a blue based hair dye over yellow/golden hair.

Picked up a set of Frette sheets a thrift store years ago. They were going cheap likely because of some nasty yellow stains. Washed, boiled, bleached, soaked and otherwise gave the things full treatment. This included a final bluing rinse using a very large dose.

In the end only got the yellowing slightly better but the bluing tinted things a dull definite shade of blue. And yes, the yellow marks were still visible but now had a blue overcast.

Post# 991733 , Reply# 61   4/22/2018 at 02:46 (182 days old) by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
Or, just dye the damn things yellow and be done with it.

Post# 991739 , Reply# 62   4/22/2018 at 07:06 (181 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
"... but now had a blue overcast."

rolls_rapide's profile picture

Post# 991935 , Reply# 63   4/24/2018 at 02:05 (180 days old) by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
So... dye it a nice pea green.

I understand it's all the rage.

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