The Great Damaged Clothes Mystery

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Shane
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The Great Damaged Clothes Mystery

Post by Shane »

Over the last year I had half a dozen dark shirts and two pairs of dark colored pants ruined from bleach like spots (see below). Several arguments were had between my wife and myself as to the cause. I was sure it was something happening during washing. She was sure I was using some product that was causing the damage.

We changed laundry detergents twice, but the spots kept appearing. With several hundred dollars of clothing damaged... we turned to science. We cut a swath of dark clothing and applied every chemical-based product I use frequently. Toothpaste, hair gel, car cleaning products, mouthwash, and other culprits were applied as a test. At the last minute my wife also added Prime water conditioner. When the test sample came out of the wash it was clear as day. Prime was the guilty party.

I have used Prime for many years (maybe even decades) and this was never an issue. I can only guess they changed something in their formula. The bleaching only happens after a dark piece of clothing gets Prime on it and is washed. Shirts were ruined by tiny splashes and pants were ruined by me having some Prime on my hands and wiping them off on my pants (I did not realize how much I do this during water changes).

Anyway, I now have dedicated water changing clothes and nothing more has been ruined.

An internet search also confirmed several other aquarists have reported Prime bleaching their clothes.
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Re: The Great Damaged Clothes Mystery

Post by bekateen »

Hi Shane,

Thanks for sharing this. I have so many shirts damaged like this. Oddly though, I did a test with prime (Aqua vitro alpha, actually, which is Prime at 1.5x strength) on a shirt and nothing happened. I'll have to go back and try again. It would be a great relief to know the cause.

Cheers, Eric
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Re: The Great Damaged Clothes Mystery

Post by Jools »

What, so now you need to do water changes in your undergarments? :)) :)) :))

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Re: The Great Damaged Clothes Mystery

Post by Shane »

Eric,
It happens after the chemicals have been on the garment for a while and then the item is washed. I think the dye is "eroded" and then comes out during washing.
@Jools Enter the fishroom with only a towel around your waist and your water changing hat on and announce you are doing water changes. You'll get hours of peace.
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Re: The Great Damaged Clothes Mystery

Post by Jools »

Nice. I made my own hat:
wc Screenshot 2021-12-21 162621.jpg
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Re: The Great Damaged Clothes Mystery

Post by Silurus »

It seems that the sodium hydroxymethanesulfonate (which is also used to discharge dyes) in the water conditioner might be the culprit.
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Re: The Great Damaged Clothes Mystery

Post by Viktor Jarikov »

mfcd00044664-medium.png
Sodium Formaldehyde Bisulfite
Sodium Hydroxymethanesulfonate
Sodium Hydroxymethanesulphonate
Sodium Hydroxymethanesulfinate
Sodium Formaldehyde Sulfoxylate
Formaldehyde Sodium Sulphoxylate

All the names are for the same chemical (with sulfur atom in the incomplete state of oxidation of +4 versus the complete +6) and indeed is known to act as a dechlorinator (reducer) for chlorine or chloramine in water and a reductive discharge agent on dyes too:

http://www.pburch.net/dyeing/FAQ/discha ... cals.shtml

I do not understand the CH3NaO3S formula given below because it should be CH3NaO4S. Probably a typo.

Sodium hydroxymethanesulfinate (Colour Index Reducing Agent 2), also known as sodium formaldehyde sulfoxylate, sodium hydroxymethanesulphonate, sodium hydroxymethanesulfonate, and formaldehyde sodium sulphoxylate, is the chemical used in Formosul and Rongalit (most likely including BASF's Rongalit C and Rongalit ST, also sold as Jacquard Rongolit ST). Update: Also the active ingredient in deColourant Mist and deColourant Paste; see ProChem. Its chemical formula is CH3NaO3S (VJ edit: ?). It can be used under acid as well as basic conditions. (Here is a link to PRO Chemical & Dye's instructions for using Formosul to strip color and discharge print on cotton, silk, wool and nylon.)

...

Other uses:

http://www.sodiumformaldehydebisulfiteh ... onate.com/

Sodium hydroxymethanesulfonate, also known as Sodium formaldehyde bisulfite (bisulphite), used as a preservative in cosmetic compositions. The sodium hydroxymethane sulfonate is used to improve the color stability of rosin resins and it has properties of both formaldehyde and sodium bisulfite. It is typically present in an amount of from 0.05% to 5.0%, preferably about 0.25%, based on the weight of the rosin resin. The product is also spelt as Sodium hydroxymethanesulphonate or Sodium formaldehyde bisulphite.

Sodium hydroxymethane sulfonate, also known chemically as sodium formaldehyde bisulfite, NaCH3 OSO3, is a white, water-soluble rather inexpensive powder which forms colorless and odorless solutions. Under alkaline conditions this compound is believed to slowly hydrolyze into formaldehyde and sodium bisulfite which by their presence render the desired antibacterial and antioxidant preservative properties, respectively. A preservative aqueous cosmetic composition having an antioxidant and an antibacterial property imparted by a single component is, therefore, obtained by treating the cosmetic composition with a sufficient amount of sodium hydroxymethane sulfonate to exert a preservative effect to the cosmetic formulation when the pH of the formulation is about 7.0 or higher.

It is also used to control metallic impurities in Bright Nickel Bath.
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Re: The Great Damaged Clothes Mystery

Post by arritxuwheel »

Thanks for the post. I will be more careful with Prime now. Those detergents are really strong and dangerous for colored clothes. But they can also make nice patterns on shirts if applied intentionally. Some people do that, and the t-shirts look nice and custom-made.
I even thought about doing this to my expensive suit from www.gentlemansguru.com to make it look special. I still cannot decide whether I want to do that. That suit was at least $300, and I would definitely not want to ruin it. But I also want it to look more special and wear it to local rave parties.
Last edited by arritxuwheel on Tue Oct 11, 2022 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Great Damaged Clothes Mystery

Post by helepolis »

Thanks for solving the mystery! I've had the same issue with my clothes and arguments with the girlfriend...lol. I use Seachem safe and usually just drop a pinch from the container into the tank or even swirl around.
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