UV Brighteners: We’ve Got the News

Because I know there are inquiring minds that want to know more about the UV brighteners issue and


Constantly on the Prowl for News!

We are Constantly on the Prowl for News!


products that can be used, I’ve literally worked myself into a lather over this problem!  :0  Now, it can be revealed.

Did you know you aren’t the only folks needing detergents without brighteners? Law enforcement and the military also need to keep brighteners out of their uniforms.

Can and Can’t Detergents

Finding that the wheel had already been invented, I checked some sources, and got two lists. Please note my additions at the end.

From 4MilitaryFamilies.com : “On the care label, the instructions are to launder in a mild detergent which does NOT contain ‘optical brighteners.’ No laundry detergent lists whether or not it contains these brighteners. By contacting the individual laundry detergent manufacturers the following list was compiled of detergents which do contain optical brighteners and those which do not:

Country Save* * 4MilitaryFamilies.com Approved!
Bold Powder
Cheer Liquid (all versions)
Cheer Powder (all versions)
“All” Powder (all versions)
Surf Powder (all versions)
Woolite (all versions)

Because the “do not use – they have brighteners” and the “questionable items – do not use” lists from both sources are identical; I only printed them once, to reduce the word count.


Here’s another list, stated in a different way. It comes from: http://www.rangerjoes.com/acu_care.php I added the ACU (Army Combat Uniform) washing instructions, for any newbies out there. They apply to hunting clothes as well.

ACU Care Instructions

Before washing, close hook and loop fasteners to prevent snagging.  Turning the uniform inside-out while laundering prevents the hook and loop from attaching to other items and prolongs the usefulness of the hook and loop.

Washing: Machine wash in cold water using Permanent Press Cycle or hand wash using a mild detergent that DOES NOT contain optical brighteners or fabric softeners. DO NOT USE CHLORINE BLEACH. Rinse completely. DO NOT WRING OR TWIST.

Drying: Hang dry or machine dry on low to medium setting, between 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from dryer immediately. To drip dry, remove from water and place on rust-proof hanger.  DO NOT STARCH or COMMERCIALLY HOT PRESS.

Detergents that CAN BE USED, as they do not contain optical brighteners or fabric softeners:
All® Powder (all versions)
Bold Powder
Cheer® Liquid (all versions)
Cheer® Powder (all versions)
Surf® Powder (all versions)
Woolite® (all versions)

Avoid using these products, as the contents are questionable:
Calgon® (all versions)
Spray ‘n Wash® (all versions)

DO NOT USE these detergents which contain optical brighteners:
Ajax® (all versions)
All® Liquid (all versions)
Arm & Hammer® FabriCare Powder (all versions)
Arm & Hammer® Liquid (all versions)
Arm & Hammer® Super Washing Soda
Arm & Hammer® Fresh ‘n Soft Fabric Softener (all versions)

Colgate-Palmolive laundry products
Delicare® Fine Fabric Wash (all versions)
Dreft® Liquid
Dreft® Powder
Dynamo® (all versions)
Era® Liquid (all versions)
Fab® (all versions)
Gain® Liquids (all versions)
Gain® Powders (all versions)
Ivory Snow® Liquid Ivory Snow® Powder
Rain Drops® Water Softener and Detergent Booster
Suavitel® Fabric Softener (all versions)
Surf® Liquid (all versions)
Tide® Liquids (all versions)
Tide® Powders (all versions)
Tide® Tablets (all versions)
Wisk® (all versions)
Yes® (all versions)

Dial® laundry products including:
*20 Mule Team® Detergent (all versions)
Purex® Baby™ (all versions)
Purex® Fabric Softener (all versions)
Purex® Liquid (all versions)
Purex® Powder (all versions)
Zout® (all versions)

CAUTION: If using a store brand or ‘generic’ product, the label usually states ‘compare to [brand]’ on the front panel. Match that product brand to the list above for ingredient content.”

Compiled by A. Hammond, 3rd IBCT RFG Assistant 10th Mtn Div, July 2005.


* 20 Mule Team Borax: I’m still going to stand by this product, in its pure form – original formulation.  I’m talking about the version that does not include any additives. I called Dial (who now owns the product) and the original formulation IS ONLY BORAX.

Also, I do not trust any of the fabric softeners or dryer sheets. I do not use them on hunting clothes.

Perhaps, if someone called Dial and asked if their detergents had brighteners, they would have to say, “yes.” However, if you ask specifically about 20 Mule Team, the answer is “no.” Still, you have to be the judge of this info!

Well, there you have it. More than you’d ever want to know about UV brighteners.   Just in case you were wondering, I worked like a dog to get this information. 😉


** 10:31 am/November 4, 2008: I’ve just received written confirmation from Dial’s corporate office that 20 Mule Team does not have UV Brighteners.


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com


  1. Hi,
    I was reading this page and was wondering if you have tested these detergents with a blacklight. I have and found out that some of the ones you listed do have brightners even though it says they do not. They re-word it in the ingredients to make it sound like none are there, but really they are.
    Mrs. Ford

  2. Excellent comment. Actually, I started with the list compiled by the US Army for their troops (who cannot have UV brighteners in their uniforms). I also contacted the various detergent makers and asked point blank about their products.

    If you will tell me what brands you’ve encountered this with, I’d be happy to do more research!

    This is the benefit of these blogs; people helping people. Thank you for commenting and I look forward to your list.

  3. […] already written lots about what to use when washing your hunting wear. Mosey on over to UV Brighteners: We’ve Got the News, where I name names of the  products that will not add UV Brighteners to your […]

  4. […] UV Brighteners: We’ve Got the News. […]

  5. […] UV Brighteners: We’ve Got the News […]

  6. […] UV Brighteners: We’ve Got the News […]

  7. […] In another article, I list the names of the grocery store detergents that are safe for your hunting clothes — UV Brighteners, We’ve Got the News. […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: