One small bright red dish rag can ruin all your whites and light-colored garments because of color bleeding, leaving bright stains behind. Luckily, you can remove these stains by pretreating with liquid detergent and then using bleach on white clothing and hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar on colored clothing.
Read on to see how to do each method in detail and see which one will work best for you.
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Pretreat color bleed stains with liquid detergent
One reason why you need to pretreat color bleed stains before proceeding to launder garments is that color bleed stains that have dried up are the toughest and nearly impossible to remove.
Follow these steps to pretreat color bleed stains to prevent them from turning to stubborn stains.
- Sort the colored fabrics from whites and remove the clothes with a color bleed stain.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of heavy-duty liquid detergent into a bucket with a gallon of warm water.
- Soak the stained garment in the solution for 10 to 15 minutes.
- After the allotted time, rinse with clean water to remove the dye residue.
- When the affected area lightens, wash it as usual with your preferred laundry detergent.
- The stain should completely diminish after washing it normally, but if it’s still visible, repeat the process.
- When the stained area is no longer noticeable, hang your clothes to dry.
Bleaching your whites to remove color bleed stains
If you accidentally throw in a pair of red socks in the washing machine with a load of all whites, you may be surprised that all your whites turned pink or got pink spots. Fortunately, bleach can bring back your favorite white shirt’s color and eliminate stains easily thanks to its cleaning power and color stripping abilities.
Carefully follow these steps to remove bleed stains from your white clothes.
- First, check the clothing’s care label to see if your garment is bleach friendly.
- Find the stained area and remove the piece of clothing that caused the color bleed stain.
- Prepare a solution of 1 cup bleach and 1 gallon of clean water in a large tub.
- Soak your white clothes in the solution for 30 minutes, allowing the bleach to do its job and bring back the original color.
- After 30 minutes, rinse your white clothes with cold, clean water.
- When the stain is barely noticeable, toss your clothing in the washing machine and wash it normally.
- Hang your newly washed garments and let them air dry.
Hydrogen peroxide for colored clothing
Colored clothes can also get color bleed stains, and you can deal with these stubborn stains using hydrogen peroxide. It’s an efficient and cost-effective stain remover for dye-transfer or color bleed stains.
However, even if it’s a mild form of bleach, it’s best to test it out on a hidden spot on your clothes to ensure it can’t fade its color. You can do this by dipping a cotton swab inside the chemical and rubbing it on the fabric. If the cotton swab absorbs the color don’t proceed, but if it doesn’t, this method should be fine to try.
Follow these steps to get rid of bleed stains on colored clothes.
- Make a color-safe bleach solution by mixing 1 cup hydrogen peroxide and 3 cups of clean water in a clean container.
- Fill a large tub with water and add 1 cup of the color-safe bleach solution.
- Soak the stained clothing for 8 hours to allow the solution to eliminate the stain on your colored clothes.
- After 8 hours, rinse the garment with clean water. At this point, the stain should no longer be noticeable.
- Once the stain is no longer visible, wash your clothes normally to get rid of any residue from the color-safe solution.
- Let your clothes air dry.
Vinegar is a color-safe bleach alternative
White vinegar is an example of an efficient natural cleaning agent. It contains a mild acetic acid property that’s safe for all kinds of fabrics, and strong enough to break down stains caused by color bleeding.
The following are the steps to removing color bleed stains using vinegar.
- Check first the effect of vinegar on a small portion of the fabric. If it has no negative reaction, then proceed to the next step.
- Pour 1 cup of vinegar into a bucket of water, mix it well.
- Soak your stained garment in the solution for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, rinse it with clean and cool water.
- Check if the stain is still visible. If the stain is still noticeable, soak it for another 30 minutes.
- When the stain is no longer visible, wash your clothes normally, using your preferred laundry detergent.
- Let your clothes air dry.
Common questions about color bleed stains
What makes wash colors bleed?
Color bleeding occurs when the color of clothes strip away due to too much exposure from cleaning agents like bleach, laundry detergent, and water. You can get these stains when you’re washing your clothes and have accidentally washed colored clothing and whites together, allowing the colored garment’s dye to spread to the whites.
This is especially common with new clothing items that haven’t been washed many times yet, so the dye is fresh and has more bleeding potential.
How can I prevent color bleeding of clothes?
First on the list is that you should always read and follow your clothes’ care labels, as some garments might transfer dye to others. That’s why manufacturers put these labels on the clothes to provide you the right way to wash that garment.
The best tip to avoid your clothes color bleeding, is to always sort your laundry. Separate whites, dark-colored clothing and bright colored clothes. Finally, don’t let your laundry soak in water for an extended period, where bleeding can occur.
Do colors bleed in cold water?
No, cold water won’t cause dye transfer or color bleeding. You can prevent most color bleeding problems by using cold water while doing your laundry. That’s because, unlike hot water that loosens the fibers of the garment and strips away colors, cold water keeps the fiber tight. It holds the dye inside to prevent color bleeding.
Prevention is better than cure, so it’s best to know and follow the proper washing instructions of clothes, this will save you from the hassle of reverting the color bleed stains. But if you ever have the misfortune of having a color bleed stain your clothes, you can deal with it by following one of the straightforward methods mentioned above.