Did you have a little mishap with the bleach bottle, and now you’re wondering how to get bleach out of clothes? Well, the good news is that you are not alone, many have been through the same situation, and the even better news is that it is not impossible to remove bleach stains from clothes. Yay!
Bleach stains are actually something that happens more than they should, but not many people know that it is possible to get bleach stains out of clothes. In this blog post, I’ll share some nifty tips that you can use to fix bleach stains on any fabric. With my easy-to-apply tips, you can have your clothes spot-free and look brand new in no time! I’ll also share some tricks on how to avoid bleach stains altogether. So let’s get right to it.
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Can Bleach Be Removed From Clothing?
Chlorine bleach is the most used household bleach and contains sodium hypochlorite that oxidizes dye particles by dissolving the bonds between them. Simply put, it removes the color, or fabric dye, from the fabric and then leaves white or yellow stains. Bleach is commonly used with white clothes—it brightens the whites by removing any stains or dirt marks on the clothes. Bleach is also commonly used for its antibacterial properties.
But what happens if you accidentally get bleach on your colored or dark clothes and are now left with sections of the fabric where the color is completely removed? How do you fix bleach stains? Is it possible to remove the bleach stain from your favorite clothes, or would it be best to just get rid of the garment?
Once the bleach stain has set, and the pigment is completely removed from the clothes, it’s possible to ‘remove’ the stains by concealing the bleach stains or re-coloring the bleached area. Though the bleach stains are not actually removed from the fabric, they will be repaired and restored to their former color. However, the successful removal of bleach stains will depend on the fabric type and the color of the fabric that you are trying to clean.
Remember that bleach is a harsh chemical, so you should wear rubber gloves to protect your skin and work in a well-ventilated area. After working with bleach, you can wash your hands to remove the strong bleach smell.
Also, as a word of caution, never mix bleach with any other household chemicals like ammonia. When you mix household chemicals, it may result in toxic fumes.
To remove the bleach stains from your clothes, you can follow the steps below.
Stop the Damage Right Away
The first step, and also one of the most important steps, is to remove the bleach residue as quickly as possible. The longer you allow the bleach to sit on the fabric, the more damage it will cause to your clothes. So if you do manage to get bleach stains on a piece of clothing, remove the clothes immediately. If bleach is left on the material for too long, it could leave a hole in the fabric. This is why it’s important to first neutralize the bleach by using a bleach-neutralizing agent, like baking soda, to prevent further damage.
To neutralize the bleach, follow these steps:
- Rinse the area with cold water to remove any excess bleach.
- As a neutralizing agent, mix baking soda and plain cold water to create a baking soda paste. As an alternative to baking soda, you can also use sodium thiosulfate and hydrogen peroxide to neutralize the bleach.
- Spread the baking soda paste evenly over the stained area.
- Leave the paste to dry and then brush it off gently – you may want to use an old toothbrush.
Try to Restore the Original Color
Once the bleach has been neutralized, you can move on to the next step: restoring the color of the fabric. There are different ways to do this. I’ve compiled a list of methods that you can follow to remove bleach stains.
If you catch the accident immediately, you can use dish soap to dissolve the bleach before it does any damage. The dish soap method can also successfully remove small bleach stains from the stained area. This method is not only limited to clothes and also works well on carpets and upholstery.
To remove the bleach stain with dish soap, simply follow the steps below:
- Wipe the excess bleach off with a clean white cloth.
- Mix a few drops of dish soap with a bowl of water.
- Apply the solution to the stain with another clean white cloth or cotton wool ball.
- Clean and refill the bowl with cold water.
- Rinse the area with clean cold water.
- Put the garment between towels to absorb the moisture.
- Air dry the fabric.
When treating bleach stains on dark clothes, try rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol can be used to transfer the fabric dye from unstained areas to cover the stained area. The alcohol method works better on small bleach stains. To get bleach out of clothes using this method, simply follow these steps:
- First, neutralize the bleach stain using a neutralizing agent like baking soda.
- Rinse off the baking soda paste.
- Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol.
- Rub the cotton ball around the bleach spot, absorbing excess dye from the garment.
- Begin “dragging” the color from around the spot into the center of the spot. Come from all angles. The swab should bring some of the color into the bleached spot. Keep on “dragging” the fabric dye until the stain disappears.
Using drinking alcohol to remove bleach spots works exactly the same as rubbing alcohol, but using gin or vodka makes it much more fun for YOU! The steps are:
- Neutralize the bleach stains with sodium thiosulfate or baking powder.
- Dampen a cotton ball in clear alcohol. (take a sip)
- Rub the cotton ball around the bleach spot, absorbing excess dye from the garment. (take a sip)
- Begin “dragging” the color from around the spot into the center of the spot. Come from all angles. The swab should bring some of the color into the bleached spot. (take a sip)
- Did it work? WHO CARES!! (take a sip and go Amazon shopping!)
Rub-A-Dub Laundry Marker
For black garments with small stains, you may be able to color in the spot with a fabric marker pen. Fabric markers will conceal the bleached area, making it seem like it was never there! To do this, follow these steps:
- After immediate spot treatment and neutralizing of the bleach as described above. Spread out the garment with cardboard under the stain to catch any bleed from the marker.
- Carefully fill in the spot with the marker.
- Let it dry.
- Repeat if necessary.
- Wash as normal.
If the fabric marker method does not work or you have a large bleach stain, you have the option to re-dye the garment entirely. When you use fabric dye, you’ll want to wear old clothes and gloves and protect all surfaces with plastic while you work. Next, you’ll need to do the following:
- Purchase a dye color of your choosing.
- Purchase and use (per instructions) an RIT Color Remover. This will remove most of the color from most materials. Please read the instructions carefully.
- Following the instructions on the dye, re-dye the garment to your chosen color.
Distilled White Vinegar
As an eco-friendly way to remove a yellow bleach stain from white fabric, try white vinegar. Take note that white vinegar and chlorine bleach can react to form chlorine gas. So, it’s important to ensure that you rinse all the bleach off the bleached area with cool water before applying the vinegar to the fabric.
For this method, you’ll need to:
- Put about one tablespoon of vinegar into two cups of warm water.
- Use a clean white cloth to soak up the solution.
- Carefully blot the area until the vinegar lifts the stain.
- With a separate cloth soaked in cold water, gently blot the spot until the smell of vinegar is gone.
- Repeat if necessary.
How to Get Bleach Out Of Clothes and Prevent Stains
Bleach stains are not the easiest stains to remove from clothes. To prevent bleach spills from happening in the first place, I’ve compiled a list of some helpful tips to minimize the risk of bleach stains in the first place.
- Check that all garments in the wash are bleach safe if you intend to use bleach in the laundry.
- Follow the directions, and never use bleach undiluted. Always dilute BEFORE it comes in contact with clothes.
- For colored clothes, always use color-safe bleach. Never use regular bleach with colors.
- When using bleach, always wear gloves and old clothes so splashes won’t matter.
- When using bleach around the house for cleaning, make sure to cordon off the area and warn others not to rub against any cleaned surfaces until they have dried completely.
Tips for Preventing Bleach Stains at Home
With bleach stains, prevention is easier than cure, so let’s look at a few different ways you can avoid bleach staining your clothing.
- Get rid of bleach altogether! There are so many safer, less dangerous cleaning products out there. You can simply not buy bleach.
- If you do have bleach in your home, make sure it is quite secure and well away from little hands or pets. Bleach is NOT safe for either.
- Read care labels. If the garment is not bleach-safe, then don’t use bleach on it.
- Wear old clothes and gloves whenever using bleach for anything. Better safe than sorry.
- When bleaching clothes in the laundry. Use ONLY bleach, as many other cleaners can react with bleach to form toxic gasses. Always ventilate the room and wash out the machine after the bleach use.
Bleach stains are unsightly, and removing bleach stains might seem like an impossible task. However, with patience and the right tools, you can fix bleach stains and make your clothes look brand new. Learning these tips on how to get bleach out of clothes may save you in the future.
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