As we mentioned before, bleach stains are permanent since they strip away the color from the fabric. While restoring a bleach-stained garment to its original form might be difficult, it’s not impossible. If you’ve accidentally splashed bleach on a colored garment, you’ll need to act fast to neutralize it. Here’s what you need to do.
- Run cold water over the garment to rinse it and remove any excess bleach
- Mix cold water and baking soda in a small bowl to create a thick paste
- Spread the paste over the bleach-stained sections of the garment and leave it to dry
- Use a soft-bristled brush to scrape off the dried up paste (an old toothbrush works just as well)
The baking soda paste acts as a neutralizing agent to arrest the bleach’s corrosive action. If you leave the bleach on the garment for too long, there’s a chance it might cause a hole. Once you’ve neutralized the stain, use any of the following techniques to restore color to your fabric.
1. Rubbing Alcohol
This is by far the best technique to use if you have small bleach stains on dark-colored clothes. Rubbing alcohol is available in most drug stores. Here’s what you need to do:
- Dab a little rubbing alcohol on a ball of cotton wool
- Use it gently rub the area around the stain to collect some of the excess fabric dye
- Work the cotton ball from the outside of the bleach stain toward the center
The idea behind this technique is to spread the original dye of the fabric from the non-stained sections of the garment and use it to color the bleach stains.
2. Fabric Dye
If you’re trying to get rid of bleach stains from lighter-colored clothes or overly large stains, rubbing alcohol may not get you the best results. The best thing to do would be to use fabric dye. Ensure you match the colors precisely. Here’s how to get rid of bleach stains using this method.
- Visit your local crafts store and pick up a dye that closely matches the color of your garment. Carry the bleached-stained fabric with you to make sure you get the right shade.
- You’ll also need to purchase a color remover. Use it on the fabric to strip away most of its original dye. Be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging for the best results. The color remover gets rid of the excess dye to help your new dye adhere to the garment.
- Re-dye the stained garment with your newly-purchased dye. Follow the instructions provided on the product packaging to ensure you do it correctly. Remember to wear gloves and an apron or old clothes that you don’t mind staining.
Although most dyes can be used in standard washing machines, we recommend using a plastic washbowl instead to prevent remnants of the dye from staining other clothes.
The other option would be to fight fire with fire by bleaching the whole garment. Now, before you go dunking the entire thing in a bucket of bleach, there is a method to the madness.
Bleach is highly corrosive. It continues working even after you rinse the garment, eventually causing it to rot. You’ll therefore need to use hydrogen peroxide afterward to neutralize it. Here’s how to get rid of bleach stains using this technique.
- Fill a bucket or sink with roughly 2 gallons of cold water and soak your stained garment in it for about five minutes
- Put on a pair of rubber gloves and an apron or old clothes to prevent any (more) mishaps
- Remove the garment from the water before adding a quarter cup of bleach; mix it evenly
- Place the garment back in the bleach water and swoosh it around until you achieve the desired color (Add more bleach if you need to)
- Drain the water and rinse the garment thoroughly
- Refill the bucket or sink once again with 2 gallons of cold water before adding half a cup’s worth of 3% hydrogen peroxide; mix evenly
- Add the garment and let it soak in the solution for an hour or so
- Rinse and dry it
You don’t have to bleach the garment to the point it is completely white. A lighter shade of its original color where the bleach stains don’t stand out is good enough.