What To Do If Your Clothes Bleed Color? Update 06/2022

Color bleed stains in the washing machine are the most aggravating thing you can find. It’s happened to all of us at some point or another. When your favorite white shirt gets snagged by a nagging crimson sock, disaster strikes. You’re wearing a pink polka-dot shirt. Is there a way to fix it? Is it possible to remove color bleed from clothing?

Color bleed occurs when a garment’s color seeps into another’s fabric. Spotting or blotching may result as a result. A commercial stain remover can be used to get rid of these blemishes. Natural remedies like vinegar and baking soda can also be used to get rid of them. For persistent stains, rubbing alcohol, bleach, and hydrogen peroxide all work well.

A color bleed accident doesn’t have to spell doom for your clothes. We’ll go over a few different approaches you can use in this article. Additionally, you’ll learn how to avoid color bleeds in the future.

How To Get Color Bleed Out Of Clothes

What Causes Color Bleed?

Inadvertently washing dark clothes with light ones is by far the most common source of color bleed. All of us have experienced this at some point or another.

When it comes to washing dark-colored clothing, you’ve probably been advised since you were a child to do so. This piece of wisdom has been passed down from father to son. But it’s not that difficult to say it out loud, is it?

Because of static or because of a lack of time, garments get entangled with each other in the laundry room. Particularly when they’re thrown in with the same load of laundry. Grab a load and toss it in the washing; the cycle begins.

You don’t comprehend the full horror of what’s within until the wash cycle is over. The color of your beloved yellow dress has changed. Both your beige shorts and your white socks have turned pink. Your new, red t-shirt is the blame.

Colorfastness is a concern with new clothing in particular. In the first few washes, part of the color will bleed off. It’s not uncommon for new pants, for example, to leak blue dye when wet. Older denim appears faded because of this. It’s due of the pigment leaking into the water from repeated washings.

Dye tends to stick to the fabric rather than the water. However, it doesn’t care if you put it back in your original outfit. Not a chance. It would make our lives so much easier if it did! It will stick to anything it can get its hands on. Color bleed is the term used to describe this phenomenon.

Color bleed isn’t just a problem for new clothing. The dreaded, unintentional tie-dye effect on your best white shirt could also be caused by heat.

The failure to read the care label on a garment is a major cause of washing mishaps. This label provides a washing temperature recommendation. Washing colorful garments, which are more susceptible to damage from hot water, is especially important. Color bleed is more likely if you wash your item in warm water despite the label’s instructions to use cold water. You run the risk of a color tsunami if you wash the item in hot water.

How to Get Color Bleed Out of Clothes

Anxiety sets in soon after the initial and entirely understandable surge of rage. What the hell happened to your white socks and your crimson shirt? After that, the question is, “How do you mend it?”

A color bleed is easier to fix if you notice it as soon as you remove the items from the washing machine. Rewashing the coloured clothing with laundry detergent may be the only step required. Put it back in the washer while it’s still damp and wash it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You must first remove the item that first caused the color to run.

It may be necessary to use stain-removal products if that fails. It’s important to note that none of these strategies are guaranteed to succeed. It all relies on the type of dye, the fiber makeup of the clothing, and the process you use to dye it.

With the help of these cures, we’ll examine how they might be used in a variety of scenarios. Check the label of your clothing before applying any product on it to ensure that it won’t worsen the problem. When bleach is used to remove color run stains and remove the garment’s base color, for example. Polyester is equally vulnerable to this chemical.

How to remove color bleeding from clothes

1. White Vinegar

When it comes to pantry staples, white vinegar goes largely unnoticed. It may be used for so much more than just flavoring food. Cleansing and stain removal are both possible uses for this product.

Stains and colors can be removed with vinegar, which is a natural acid. In other words, it has no way of knowing which colors you want to keep and which you’d like to get rid of. As a result, be cautious. If you’re trying to clean up color bleed from colorfast clothing, you should only use vinegar.

Method 1

You’ll have to:

  • White vinegar that has been distilled from a white grape.
  • a deep, wide-mouth bowl
  • Balls of flannel
Step 1

Test the garment for colorfastness before deciding to use vinegar on color bleed stains. This can be accomplished by rubbing a cotton ball soaked in vinegar on a hidden region of the body. For as long as no color from the garment comes off onto your cotton ball, vinegar is fine to utilize.

Step 2

Put enough water in a dish or sink to completely submerge your outfit. Mix with one cup of white vinegar.

Step 3

Allow your item to soak for 30 minutes after submerging it in the solution. The vinegar and water mixture should be applied to the entire item of clothing.

Step 4

Cold water should be used to flush away the vinegar. Make the most of your time there. Keep an eye out for any evidence of color transfer. Repeat steps 1-4 if necessary.

Stains will be gone when you are satisfied. Use your normal detergent and wash setting on your item. Allow to dry naturally.

Method 2

Vinegar can also be used as a spot therapy for minor wounds. If the color bleed hasn’t impacted the entire garment, try the methods below.

You’ll have to:

  • White vinegar that has been distilled from a white grape.
  • A lint-free cloth
  • Tiny serving dish
  • Water that is only just warm enough to drink
  • Soak the dishes with dish soap.
Step 1

In a basin, combine the vinegar and water. Depending on how big the stain is, you’ll need to use a larger or less amount of cleaning solution. As a general guideline, you should aim for a 2:1 ratio. As a result, you’ll need one cup of vinegar for every two cups of water you use. Mixing should be possible in a large bowl, so make sure it is big enough.

Step 2

Add a small amount of dish soap to the mixture and stir. Only a small amount. The amount of vinegar and water you’re using will determine how much you’ll need to use. A teaspoon is all that is needed for a small batch. Stir the mixture until bubbles form.

Step 3

Blot the stain with a clean rag dipped in the solution. There is no need to scour or swirl the surface in any way. The stain should only be dabbed or blotted. The color will bleed and spread if you rub it. Remove any remaining color with a clean rag and blot as you go.

Step 4

Switch to a new part of rag as soon as the last one fades in color. Make sure the rag absorbs all the color before moving on.

Step 5

Rinse the vinegar off once you’re satisfied it’s done its job of removing the stain. A running faucet can be used for this, but make sure the water is cool.

Step 6

Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to cleaning your item. Avoid drying clothes in the dryer at all costs. When drying a clothing, it is better to let it air dry.

2. Baking SodaBaking soda can be used for a whole host of cleaning jobs. It works best when mixed up into a paste and left to soak up any stain residue. This makes it the perfect choice for pre-treating dried color bleed stains.

You’ll have to:

  • Soda phosphate
  • Water that’s been warmed
  • Teaspoon
  • a deep, wide-mouth bowl
  • Cardboard

Step 1

To make a paste, combine a solution of warm water and baking soda. Depending on the extent of the stain you’re trying to remove, the amount you apply will vary. You may have to rely on your eye for some of the calculations in this one. To get the stain out, use only as much of the mixture as appears like it will cover the stain. There is always room for improvement. The paste must be thick but spreadable in order to be effective. So there are no lumps, bumps, or flakes in this product.

Step 2

Insert a piece of cardboard behind the stain in order to protect the fabric. Ensure there is no color bleeding through to the back of the garment by using a bleed-proof fabric. The cardboard will catch any stray color, preventing dye harm to the back.

Step 3

Apply the paste on the stain. Gently rub the baking soda mixture into the stain with the back of a teaspoon. Cover it thoroughly.

Step 4

Allow the mixture to dry overnight. For maximum color bleed absorption, use baking soda in this manner.

Step 5

Scrape the baking soda into the sink. Using your regular washing detergent, wash the item as you normally would. Set the temperature of your washing machine to cool.

Step 6

Color bleed can occur when a garment is washed. Allow your garment to air dry if you are satisfied that all of them have been gone. Don’t dry the item if there is any remaining stain. Repeat steps 1-5 as many times as necessary until you are happy with the results.

3. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubing alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol, is an effective stain remover. Since ancient times, people have used it to remove a variety of stains. This approach, like baking soda, is best used for spot treatments rather than full clothes.

Check the fiber content of your clothes before applying rubbing alcohol. Although it is generally safe to use isopropyl alcohol on fabric, you should verify your clothing to make sure it is compatible before applying the solution to the material.

You’ll have to:

  • alcohol with the chemical name isopropyl
  • Cardboard
  • Balls of flannel

Step 1

On a flat surface, such as a table, lay your garment out flat. A piece of cardboard should be placed inside the garment to catch any drippings of rubbing alcohol and remove any stain. The stain will not be able to spread to another area of the fabric if you do this.

Step 2

A cotton ball saturated with rubbing alcohol is ready. Dab the stain on the clothes with the cotton ball. Blot the area with the cotton ball as you go on. Please refrain from rubbing your eyes. The stain will start to come out of the fabric and stick to the cotton ball at this point in the process. Change to a new cotton ball as soon as you notice this. Continue blotting until the stain is completely erased.

Step 3

After washing and drying, look inside your garment for any traces of colour. Turn it over and use a cotton ball to clean the interior. Soaking through color will be easier to remove this way. After that, run cold water over the garment to thoroughly clean it.

Step 4

Use your regular washing detergent to clean the item. Always use the cold setting on your washing machine. Make sure there are no stains after the cycle is finished. Repeat steps 1-4 until you are satisfied with the results.

Allow the item to dry naturally after you are satisfied with the results. Avoid using a dryer for the first wash after treatment to avoid setting the alcohol as a stain.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide

Bleach made from hydrogen peroxide. In addition to treating wounds and removing hair color, hydrogen peroxide can also be used as a milder alternative to chlorine bleach. Stain removal is made easier by its ability to remove color.

It should be used with caution. The weak bleach in this product may damage some materials, so use caution. Before using hydrogen peroxide on your clothes, make sure to check the care label for the fiber content. The optimum use of this product is to remove spots from a garment rather than the entire color.

Hydrogen peroxide is a softer bleach alternative that is more suited for use on colored clothing. Unlike a full-strength bleach, it shouldn’t remove the garment’s original color. Before using this procedure on a larger scale, make a little inconspicuous test patch.

You’ll have to:

  • Hexahydroperoxide
  • Balls of flannel
  • Cardboard

Step 1

Perform a spot test on a small area. Soak a cotton ball in hydrogen peroxide and use it as a disinfectant. Use this in a hidden location. Hydrogen Peroxide is safe to use as long as no color from the garment is transferred to the cotton ball. If the cotton ball is colored, you should try a different technique.

Step 2

Insert the cardboard between the top and bottom layers of your clothing. Ideally, it should be placed directly on top of the spot to be treated.

Step 3

Blot the discoloration with hydrogen peroxide-soaked cotton wool. In order to remove the color bleed stain, use a cotton ball. Replace the cotton ball with a clean one as the dye lifts and soaks it. For as long as it takes for the color to fade, keep continuing.

Step 4

To get rid of the hydrogen peroxide, run cold water through the clothing. Then, use your regular detergent and wash as usual. On a cold setting, wash the clothing by itself. Once the cycle is finished, look for any stains. The clothing can be air-dried if you’re satisfied.

Repeat steps 1-4 as necessary if you’re not happy with the outcomes. You should never put your clothes in the dryer to dry. If the hydrogen peroxide reacts with the heat, a bleach stain may result.

5. Oxygen Bleach

As a safe alternative to chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach can be used in laundry. It is a popular stain remover in laundry rooms all around the world, despite the fact that it is not as strict as chlorine. The hydrogen peroxide in oxygen bleach makes it a safer alternative for colorful clothing.

Spot stains aren’t a problem with this product because it works on entire clothing. Test for damage to colored items in an inconspicuous region before completing a treatment. Make sure the fiber content of your garment is compatible before using it.

You’ll have to:

  • bleached by oxygen
  • It’s either a bucket or the sink for you.
  • Water that is too cold to drink

Step 1

Submerge your item entirely in a bucket or sink of water. Oxygen bleach should be added to the mixture.

Step 2

Soak the item for around 30 minutes in the solution. Rinse the item in cold running water when the specified time has passed. To get rid of any remaining stains, soak the garment for another 30 minutes and then rinse. Keep repeating this procedure until you are satisfied with the outcome.

Step 3

Using your regular detergent, wash the item. A cold wash should be selected on your machine. Recheck for stains after the cycle has finished. Allow the clothing to air dry if you are satisfied.

6. Commercial Stain Removers

In the previous sections, we’ve looked at natural cures and household products. Alternatively, you can buy a product that claims to remove color bleeding and stains. A variety of products are available for dealing with color run messes and stains.

You should always perform a spot test on an unnoticeable region of your garment to ensure that it can withstand a stain removal solution before using any stain remover.

A pre-wash stain remover is often developed for commercial use. As a result, you may discover that they perform better on a whole garment than than as a spot removal approach.

You’ll find instructions on how to properly utilize stain and color remover packs. For the greatest results, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Can You Remove Color Bleed After Drying

Can You Remove Color Bleed After Drying?

You can, but it will be more difficult than it was before it was dry. It is essential to eliminate any color bleed stains or unintentional color streaks as soon as they occur. To help set stains, air-dry the item or allow it to dry completely in the dryer. Removing them will be more difficult, and removal will be less successful.

The majority of the cures in this article work best on damp clothing. Depending on how dry the color bleed stain is, you may only be left with one option. You may have to use a store-bought stain remover in the end. A chemical color remover may increase your chances of successfully repairing the damage.

Chemical stain removers, on the other hand, may have trouble getting rid of a dried-on stain. Adding the bleed to a tie-dye design may be easier. Your best bet is to incorporate the stain into a dye procedure to give your garments a unique look.

Best Natural Method for Getting Color Bleed Out of White Clothes?

White vinegar is the greatest natural solution for removing color bleed spots. It works on both white and colored clothing. However, you must first ensure that any colorful clothing you intend to use is colorfast. The disadvantage of using vinegar or any other stain remover is that it cannot distinguish between stains and the color you wish to maintain.

In addition to washing machine color bleeds, vinegar may be used to remove a wide range of home stains. White vinegar, on the other hand, is safer than bleach. It doesn’t have the same noxious odor, and spilling it won’t hurt your skin.

If you have a septic system instead of a city sewage system, you can still use it. Vinegar won’t harm the natural enzymes required for proper digestion of waste materials in your septic tank.

There will be no negative effects if you use vinegar on color-bleed stains as many times as you wish. Either your clothes or the fragile environment that lives in your sewage disposal tank are at risk of contamination..

The good news continues getting better and better as well! Your washing machine can also be cleaned with a cup of vinegar. So, in addition to restoring color-stained garments, a vinegar treatment also leaves a machine that smells great.

We’ve provided step-by-step instructions on how to use vinegar to remove stains from white or colored clothing in our “How to” section. Do a spot test on any colored garments before purchasing them.

Best Commercial Stain Removers

Shout Color Catcher Sheets

Shout Color Catcher Sheets for Laundry, Maintains Clothes Original Colors, 72 Count

Shout’s Color Catcher sheets are a proactive way to reduce color bleed before it starts. Stop stressing about accidentally washing darker colors with lighter ones by washing using a sheet.

Color particles floating in the water are attracted to these sheets, preventing them from being absorbed by your clothing. These sheets, which can be used in any temperature of water, can help you save money and time by extending the life of your laundry.

Carbona Color Run Remover

Carbona® Color Run Remover | Powerful Color Bleed Eliminator | Fixes Color Run Accidents | 2.6 Oz, 2 Pack

A non-bleach product for Carbona’s Color Run Remover is available for those pesky color bleed mishaps. Streaks and stains caused by inadvertent color transfers can be removed by using this product on white or color-fast fabrics.

This product is appropriate for hand cleaning and is both versatile and simple to use. Additionally, it’s compatible with any make or model of washing machine. To get the best results, strictly adhere to the instructions provided on the packaging. To my disappointment, the product is not suitable for use on denim or silk or vinyl or leather.

Can Bleach Get Color Bleed Out of Colored Clothes?

No. Bleach should not be used on any colored clothing. All the color will be removed from the fabric if you use bleach, especially chlorine-based bleach. The stains aren’t merely from color bleed.

Hydrogen peroxide is preferable because of its safety. Compared to the chlorine-based bleach, this one is a lot gentler. Dark colors are more resistant to the damaging effects of hydrogen peroxide.

A tiny patch of your fabric should always be tested before using hydrogen peroxide because it is still a bleach. Your garment must be colorfast before applying any treatment. This could cause the original hue to fade if hydrogen peroxide is used.

It will always be more difficult to get color bleed stains out of colored garments. Because most stain removers cannot distinguish between a stain and the color you want to preserve. When a color bleed occurs on a colored garment, the best course of action is to conceal the stain rather than attempt to eliminate it.

In order to combine a color bleed stain into a fashion statement, dye the garment a different color or use the tie-dye technique. It’s a hot fashion trend right now to wear tie dye. An unintended blunder can be transformed into something interesting and one-of-a-kind.

How to Avoid Color Bleed?

Accidental color bleed can be easily avoided. Keeping color-bleeding apparel separate from other clothing is as simple as following a few basic steps.

Especially if the garments are new, wash them separately. When washing a new garment for the first time, the color is more likely to fade. For the first wash, hand washing a new clothing could be a good idea. Whether or not it’s colorfast, you’ll know right away. Unless it is, the water will turn a different shade.

However, it isn’t always possible to wash colored objects separately. You may be able to choose from a wide range of hues. One item at a time will make laundry days a lot less pleasant. It’s possible that placing an eye-catching color catcher in your washing machine could be beneficial. In the preceding section, you’ll find a link to an eye-catching product.

In order to prevent color bleeding, it’s best to wash by hand or in cold water. Using cold water in your washing machine will help preserve your clothes’ colors from fading.

When sorting your laundry, take your time and always shake each item. Dislodging clothes that have been stuck together by static cling can be done this way. Make sure the temperature of the machine is set correctly as well! Some garments can only be washed in cold water, while others require a higher temperature to be well cared for.

Separating the washing before it goes into the washing machine is a fantastic technique to keep colors from becoming jumbled up. Use a variety of baskets to represent different shades of the same hue. That way, when you go to grab your next load, you’ll know it’s all the same shade of color.


While color bleeding are inconvenient, they aren’t catastrophic. In addition to getting rid of the stain, there are ways to avoid it in the future.

When it comes to preventing color bleed, it’s best to keep dark hues isolated from light ones. Adding a color catcher to every wash is also an option.

Have you recently experienced a case of color bleed? What was the method you used to fix the problem? Comment below and let me know.

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