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For those who know about fabric
Old 03-19-2012, 11:20 AM
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Eireann Eireann is offline
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Default For those who know about fabric

I have a linen/cotton shirt that has stains in the underarm area. I read that linen shouldn't be bleached, because bleach tends to yellow it. I soaked it in water with some detergent for an entire day, let it drip-dry overnight, and now it's hanging in the sun, but the stains are still there. Would non-chlorine bleach (the only kind I use) have the right effect?

Old 03-19-2012, 12:11 PM
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Okay this is what my google-fu told me.


Basically - don't use bleach, it will make it worse.

Either use a good detergent that can remove protein based stains, or
Dampen it, stick some laundry detergent and let it sit out on the sun all day. You need to keep it misted though.

You can use hyrogen peroxide to get rid of the stain, but it can remove colors. Try a 50/50 solution with water first.

Also apparently vinegar and water work?

Anyway, hope that helps.
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:43 PM
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I find borax and bluing work pretty well. I have that problem with my husband's white shirts, although none of them are linen. Do a little google before you commit your shirt to that to make sure it won't hurt it...although I can't imagine why it would, that's pretty mild and contains no bleach.

Old 03-19-2012, 02:16 PM
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Worse comes to worse, you could try dyeing it. I hear coffee makes a lovely color.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:27 PM
thansal thansal is offline
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The safe way to test this is to try out what ever you want to use on some unseen portion of the shirt to see what it does to it. Obviously ,this only really works if it's a shirt you tuck in, or has a folded collar that you can test on the inside of.

Old 03-19-2012, 08:58 PM
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I have used OxyClean to remove the yellow stains from my kids' baby clothes (mostly white onesies but some color ones)--the stains were a couple years old cuz they had been washed & packed away, but never treated the stains because they weren't as apparent. They seemed to show up after a few years in storage. I also use it to whiten whites that have the same stains you are seeing. It doesn't always work, but the baby clothes looked like new when I was done with them.

The only way it worked though is to use SUPER hot water, near boiling.

What I did/do:

Wet the stained area with the hot water, then sprinkle a generous amount of the oxyclean on the spot(s). Let sit until dry. Then toss in the washer either alone or with other laundry and add the soap. Should come out completely clean.
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:02 AM
1756GR2 1756GR2 is offline
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I work with and wear a lot of white linen in historic costuming. I get great results even with perspiration (and red beet!) stains by laying the freshly washed and rinsed (no fabric softener) wet garment on the grass in the sun to dry thoroughly. There's a big difference between just hanging it in the sun and laying it on the grass in full sun, the process used by commercial linen bleachers way back when. Good idea to look overhead for power lines and other bird perches. Failing suitable grassy areas, you can hang it on top of a leafy bush, though that doesn't do quite as well. It may take several hours, and you'll want to turn it over a few times to expose all of it to the sun.

Soaking in Biz works for many stains (use that for my white caps to get the woodsmoke out), and doesn't compromise the fabric like chlorine bleach which tends to yellow white linen and leaves miniscule hard sharp bits between fibers that will weaken the fabric pretty quickly.
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