How Do I Remove Color Bleeding Stains From Clothes?

Published May 7, 2021
Laundry Turned Pink by Red Sock

Pulling an accidental pink sock or undershirt out of your laundry is annoying. But how do you remove color bleed stains from clothing? There are several methods you can try. From white vinegar to hydrogen peroxide, several natural products can make your white sock white again.

How Do I Remove Color Bleed Stains From Clothing?

Did a white sock slip into your load of blue jeans? Did you accidentally wash a white shirt with a new red cardigan? Accidents happen to even the most experienced laundry professionals. Therefore, knowing how to remove color bleed from your white or colored laundry can save you a lot of hassle down the road. First, you need:

Color Bleeding Stains Infographic

Get Color Bleed Stains Out With Laundry Detergent

If you accidentally dye your clothing, the most important thing is not to put the clothing in the dryer. Heat can set the dye, and then you need to reach for professional help. However, if you catch it in the wash, removing it can be pretty simple. Laundry detergent works great if you have a small area of bleed.

  1. Fill a container or sink with a gallon of water.
  2. Add two tablespoons of detergent directly to the dyed area if possible.
  3. Work it around with an old toothbrush.
  4. Allow it to soak for 30 minutes.
  5. Rewash the garment and check.

Remove Dye Transfer From Color Clothes With Vinegar

If you aren't too keen on doing the laundry detergent soak, or your clothing is all a faint pink, then soaking in white vinegar is a better option.

  1. Fill a tub with a gallon of water.
  2. Add 1 cup of white vinegar.
  3. Soak for 30 minutes.
  4. Check to see if the color bleed has faded.
  5. Rewash garments.

Remove Color Bleed Stains With Oxygen-Based Bleach

If the laundry detergent method didn't work, it's time to move on to plan B. This includes color-safe oxygenated bleach. Since this is color-safe, it can work on both white and colored clothing. If you use the other type of bleach, you'll need to know how to remove bleach stains from your colored items to keep them from being ruined.

  1. Put the affected laundry back in the wash.
  2. Wash with the appropriate amount of oxygen-based bleach.
  3. Check the laundry after the normal cycle.
  4. Make sure the dye transfer is completely gone before drying.
  5. You can even line dry the clothing just to be sure.

Get Dye Transfer Stains From White Clothes With Hydrogen Peroxide

White clothes are notorious for color bleeds. Even if you are super careful, it's easy for a sock or blouse to slip into your colored laundry. In the case of white clothes, reach for hydrogen peroxide.

  1. Create a 1:1 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water in a tub.
  2. Soak the garment for 30 or so minutes or until the color fades.
  3. Rinse and rewash.
  4. Allow the garment to air dry.
Woman's hands washing white clothes

How to Remove Color Stains From Clothes After Drying

If the above methods didn't work, or you've already dried the clothing, then it's time to reach for a bit of commercial help. Commercial cleaners like Rit and Carbona are designed to remove color bleed from laundry.

  1. Read all the instructions on the package to ensure this product works for your color or type of clothing.
  2. Mix the product according to the instructions.
  3. Soak the clothing for the recommended time.
  4. Launder as normal.

How to Avoid Color Bleed on Clothing

Accidents happen. Even on your best days, you are busy. A sock slipping in your colored laundry is normal. However, a little thoughtful prevention can make sure you aren't wearing pink undershirts.

  • Wash new clothing separately. New clothing is more likely to bleed, so washing new clothing on its own can help to avoid color run.
  • Pay attention to clothing care labels. Not only does it tell you if your clothing bleeds, but it provides necessary washing instructions.
  • Sort your clothing properly. Keeping likes with likes helps everything to come out perfectly.
  • Don't let the clothing sit in the washer. Not only does this help with mildew, but moving new clothing quickly to the dryer or line makes sure wet colors are sitting next to each other for extended periods of time.

Dealing With Dye Transfer on Clothing

While a dye transferred undershirt might become your favorite new lounge shirt, it doesn't have to stay pink. Rather than having to deal with a mishap, try to remove the chance of one. You can't say you don't know-how now! Next, get tips on how to wash tie-dye clothing, because imagine trying to remove the color bleed from that!

How Do I Remove Color Bleeding Stains From Clothes?