Feeling blue: Laundry mishap

You might recall the J. Crew silkscreen print linen tee I wore for my first travel day (and several days during my recent trip.) Bought this tee last year and love it. (Pic 1)

Well, on my return, Mr. Suz put it into the laundry, delicate cycle, cold water, with a bunch of my other stuff...including my stepdaughter's cheap purple cotton maxi skirt. 

Guess what happened??? 

It may not be obvious here, but the background of my shirt is now a faint lavender rather than a creamy white. And I am so, so sad. :(

It also shrunk a wee bit but that is easy to deal with -- it sometimes happens with this shirt and I just get it wet and block it to the shape I prefer. 

Fortunately, I can wear lavender reasonably well. But I would far prefer to get the stain out! 

We tried bleach for unbleachables already, to little avail. (Blue might be a little less, but not much.) 

Anything else I can do? 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • carter replied 7 years ago

    So sorry! No pearls of laundry wisdom here, just sympathy. At least it wasn't an orange skirt.

  • Windchime replied 7 years ago

    Oh, such a bummer! More sympathy from me. Most laundry mishaps around here occur when other family members, with the best of intentions, help launder my clothes.
    Will you still wear the shirt?

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Windchime, I think I will wear it, but not as happily. I loved wearing it best with my white shorts. Now it won't look as good. It looks okay with denim, as here. Or with my navy skirt. 

  • replied 7 years ago

    I am so sorry.  This type of thing can be so disheartening.  

  • unfrumped replied 7 years ago

    Laundry elf sympathy. Perhaps just try thinking it is now like having a brand new top for navy- taupe capsule. The print is still lovely.

  • Alana in Canada replied 7 years ago

    So sorry.

  • Gaylene replied 7 years ago

    Well, to look on the bright side, the lavender IS prettier than if DD's skirt had been red or green. :)

    I've had some success with a couple of methods that are worth a try. LInen is actually a pretty resilient fabric so here are a couple of ideas in order of preference:

    1. Soak the shirt in a tub of cool water with 1/2 cup of vinegar. I had a white cotton jacket which suffered a red wine spill from a clumsy patron at a jazz club. My regular stain remover just turned the red stain into an ugly purple blotches but the vinegar was magic. I soaked the jacket overnight, and, by morning, the stains were totally gone. Then I just laundered as usual.
    2. Soak shirt in a solution of an oxygen bleach (OxiClean or something similar) overnight, then launder as usual.
    3. Soak the shirt overnight in a mild bleach solution (a tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water). The blue pattern on the front might fade a bit depending on the dye used for the pattern, so this would be my last resort.
  • JayS replied 7 years ago

    I feel your pain. My husband used to try to help out by doing laundry. It didn't turn out well. Now he knows to not touch my clothes. Ever. 
    I looked around and found something that might be worth trying. Hope this helps.

  • Melaine replied 7 years ago

    Oxyclean is a miracle! I am not sure how the fabric would tolerate it, but super hot water with a scoop left to soak can work wonders. I boil stubborn stains but that's last ditch effort.

  • Neel replied 7 years ago

    Ack! Hate when that happens!! I once accidentally put DH's white underpants with a cheapie red dish towel (no clue how it got there!). Guess what happened :D

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Thanks, all.I will give this a try. I take hope from the possibility that it might fade more with time. Linen likes sunlight, too. So that might help. 

  • replied 7 years ago

    Darn- I'm sorry. I hate when things like this happen too.  For all the suggestions above, which may help, remember that linen is a completely non-elastic  fibre and is susceptible to breaking (bleach can really damage it).  It is also one of the most absorbent fibres out there - making stain removal harder.  (Textile scientist in me coming out - sorry :)  

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Yeah...that's what I feared, Lisa, so I wasn't going to use regular bleach on it for sure. Oh well. 

  • Joyce B replied 7 years ago

    I would not try the vinegar on it because it sets the colors in/ removes the extra runny dye. If the top went through the drier the color may already be set in, I hope that is not the case.
    Vinegar is the best for red wine stains, it removes them right away as long as they are fresh.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    It did not go into the drier, Joyce. I always air dry it. 

    Well, maybe I'm doomed to lavender. Ah well. 

  • carolbee replied 7 years ago

    Certainly do not use vinegar, patchworkers use it to stop dye from coming out. I can't think of the name of them but in Australia we can buy laundry sheets (similar to dryer sheets) that you put in the wash to remove dye. Check out the laundry aisle at the supermarket or if you know anyone that does patchworking ask what they use.

  • columbine(erin) replied 7 years ago

    Bioclean laundry detergent has gotten lots of stains out for me. Oxiclean has too but recently I had a grease stain on a silk and linen skirt and it just made it look greasy everywhere. Soaking it in bio clean all night fixed it. So sorry, I'm fond of the print!

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    Oh noes... I have no advice, sadly. Just commiserating because my favorite Theyskens top ripped in the back of the sleeve. :( 

  • JAileen replied 7 years ago

    Oh no! There's a dye remover product out there. It might be next to dye products or by detergent in the store. Good luck!

  • Kari replied 7 years ago

    Suz, I would try soaking in Oxy Clean. It's done wonders with two big dye mishaps-once, laundering a red and white print dress with chocolate brown pillow shams by accident where my dress was stained tan, and another time when I unwisely wore a black and white top the day after dyeing my hair, and when it rained some dye residue trickled down to the neckline of my top.
    After an overnight soak and a regular laundry cycle, there's no trace of the mishap.
    I'm so sorry that it happened. At least it's a shade that doesn't clash with the print of the tee. Hope it's salvageable.

  • Joyce B replied 7 years ago

    I am glad it did not go through the drier, Suz. I think there is hope.
    Carbona makes some sheets that absorb the extra dye in the wash, I always use those.
    Maybe a few soakings will help but the changes will be gradual.
    Soaking and sunning at the same time will restore the bright white. You just need to find the sun for that. I think that will be your best option.

  • E replied 7 years ago

    Oh no! The purple does look lovely on you, but that's a small consolation I'm sure.

    Rit dye makes a colour remover: have you tried that? I don't know if it would take out the purple w/o affecting the print though: you'd probably want to e-mail and ask.

  • Debbie replied 7 years ago

    I am sorry! I gave no laundry advice to add.

  • Aubergine replied 7 years ago

    Ugh, that's a shame. At least it's still pretty and wearable in the lavender, although I can see how it's less versatile now.

  • Glory replied 7 years ago

    I would try oxyclean for a good long soak. I think you can reblock to the size you prefer with a bit of stretching.

    Should I share the story of when my son at 14 decided to do all of the family laundry for the first time. All of it meant 4 loads in a very large front loader.
    Well bless his heart for wanting to help out.
    I came home to an overpowering smell of chlorine. He used bleach in every load thinking it was liquid detergent! I am not kidding.
    Every single item of clothing was ruined without exception. 
    We laugh about it now :)
    But seriously I know your pain.

  • Ariadne replied 7 years ago

    Try synthrapol. You may need to order it online.

  • Lorem Ipsum replied 7 years ago

    I found a product that claims to help repair clothes that have been ruined by the colour of other clothes: http://en.dr-beckmann.ca/produ.....un-repair/. I don't know if it works, but if you can find it, it might be worth a try. There's a store locator on their main page; hopefully, it's available at a store near you.

  • replied 7 years ago

    Feel your pain! Why does it seem like this only happens to favorite items, not orphans?

  • Sal replied 7 years ago

    Blast! How frustrating. I would soak in Napisan ( which I think is like oxyclean) and then out in the sun. But I am not sure if that will work.

  • Sveta replied 7 years ago

    It is a bummer...but I think it is still pretty and would work with white, just with a different vibe. If background is uniform lavender and not blotchy you basicaly got a new tee now :-) 
    I don't allow anybody else to do laundry in my house and for a good reason!

  • L'Abeille replied 7 years ago

    Go for the Rit dye remover. The other stain removing techniques are not going to be very effective at removing dye, and the bleaching versions are likely to fade the flowers too.

    Good luck!

  • Nicole D replied 7 years ago

    Awww.  This is the first time I have ever seen a pic of you without a stunning smile!  I do not have any magic ideas, other than the advice to try not to feel too bad...if you can't fix it, it may be best to just get rid of it so you can't see it and remember the way it used to be.  

  • abc replied 7 years ago

    So sorry to hear this. Please keep us posted on what you try and how it works out. Crossing fingers for you.

  • Elizabeth P replied 7 years ago

    Oh no Suz! One of my fav tops of yours :(. I don't know much about the products mentioned, but would love to know how this all works out. And somewhere along the way, definitely try sunlight. The real thing, not the detergent :).

    PS. Hope you had a good trip home!

  • Zibbets replied 7 years ago

    Oh no! I'm so sorry. :( I've done that several times and it's always heartbreaking. I'll be watching this thread for miracle cures. I hope you find something that works.

  • Joy replied 7 years ago

    Oh, I'm so sorry about your beautiful top but have no ideas to add. It still looks great with blue denim. Maybe it will gradually return to white.

  • Thistle replied 7 years ago

    No additional advice to offer, just giving you a big hug and sympathies.

    A laundry elf here once decided to help with laundry, and he ended up washing and drying two of my favorite wool sweater. I discovered them as I was folding laundry, and they were too small for even DD to wear!

  • Beth Ann replied 7 years ago

    So sorry, Suz!  I still like it, but I know well the problems of white that loses its......well......whiteness.

  • SarahTheWhite replied 7 years ago

    I'm so sorry! I wish I knew what to tell you, but I don't have any practical wisdom, just sympathy. I do think the new color is pretty too, but it's hard when you know what it was supposed to be... :-(

  • Gigi replied 7 years ago

    Oh, so sorry, Suz! How heartbreaking. I hope some of the solutions above help. It's just not the same when it's lavender, is it?

  • AJ replied 7 years ago

    Well at least it is still wearable. I'm sorry and I bet hubs felt bad.

    I'm curious to know if any of the suggestions worked?

  • sarah replied 7 years ago

    Gosh that is too bad. I hope the Oxyclean solution works, but if it doesn't I don't see any reason to not wear it with white - I think it would look great.

  • Sharon replied 7 years ago

    Suz, there are definitely products designed for this exact situation. The one I am familiar with here is called Run Away http://www.dylon.com.au/fc-coloursafe.htm but I am sure there would be similar ones in Canada. Give that a try first before any home remedies. Hope you have success!

  • Mona replied 7 years ago

    At least it is not blotchy. This is such a pretty top. If one of the above solutions do not work, I think you can still wear it as a lavendar top. I am sure nobody will know unless you tell them.

  • viva replied 7 years ago

    It's still so pretty, but I understand your frustration. How did it turn out?

  • Transcona Shannon replied 7 years ago


    You've gotten some great advice here and I think the fact that the new color wasn't "set" by the dryer is a positive. Best of luck!

    I agree with Sveta that the new lilac color is actually quite pretty and I think the tee can still work - just with a different vibe.

  • Lisa replied 7 years ago

    Oh noes!  Well at least you can still sport this shade too.  

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