Q: A customer brought in a home-laundered shirt with a yellowed collar, cuffs, and front placket. What caused this and can it be corrected?
A: The care label probably warned against the use of chlorine bleach. Areas that have a fusible interfacing sometimes contain a resin-type finish. This finish absorbs the chlorinated bleach, causing a yellow discoloration. It is usually impossible to restore the original whiteness. However, treating the fabric with a reducing agent such as sodium hydrosulfite or titanium stripper can sometimes reduce the yellowing to an acceptable state.