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Mysterious Spots on Clothes Stored in Closet

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By Carolschwimmer

My Laundry Question

Cotton clothes I haven't worn for years hanging in my closet have very small (size of pin head to pin tip) orange/brownish irregular-shaped spots on them, with many clustered together in some cases. A few have never been worn. For tops, most spots appear near the shoulder seams and upper forearms, some down the front, very little on the back, some around the front bottom. Pants have been hanging over hangers, not clasped on the waistband, but spots are on the waistband, within 5" of it and also down the legs. None of the rayon or wool clothes are effected. One top has black or dark brown sticky spots and 1 streak

Share a Little Background Info

I don't know how the stain happened, and I don't know whether it is a stain. None of these clothes have been in plastic. The closet doors are louvers so there is some circulation in the closet. I live in Southern California so I don't think the problem is dampness. I don't think any of these clothes have been on metal hangers, assuming that is relevant.

I can't think of anything else to tell you, I wish I could.

I HOPE YOU CAN SEE ALL THE WORDS IS "MY QUESTION" AND "BACKGROUND", BECAUSE WHEN I DID THE PREVIEW NOT EVERYTHING APPEARED, BUT THERE WAS NO WAY TO CHANGE THINGS. ALL OF THE "LESSONS LEARNED" WAS SHOWN IN PREVIEW. ANY HELP YOU CAN GIVE ME WOULD BE REALLY APPRECIATED.

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Lessons Learned

  • I started with Shout which lightened the marks a TINY bit, or kind of smeared them around a bit.
  • Then I washed some of the clothes in cold water with Tide Vivid Bleach Alternative and others in Arm & Hammer Plus Oxi-Clean Max detergents. I don't remember whether I washed anything in warm water, but I know I didn't use hot.
  • One pair of pants I then soaked in 100% distilled white vinegar for 24 hours.
  • Vinegar didn't help at all, detergents lightened a tiny bit but clothes are not wearable.

Fabric Content of Item (if appropriate)

All are cotton, none of the rayon or wool clothes have spots.

I don't have a camera, so can't send photos.

Mary Marlowe Leverette, About.com Laundry & Laundry Rooms, says:

The stains may have been caused by insect excrement. Even houseflies can cause spotting. Also, normal pollution in the air can cause spotting if the clothes have been stored and not washed for an extended period of time. The safest way to remove the stains is to use these tips and have patience! You can do the soaking of similar colors together in the washer rather than one garment at a time.

Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, Country Save Bleach, Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach) and cool water. Follow the package directions as to how much product per gallon of water. Completely submerge the garment and allow it to soak for at least eight hours. Check the stain. If it is gone, wash as usual. If it remains, mix a fresh solution and repeat. It may take several soakings to remove the stain but it should come out.

Good luck!

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