How Do I Reverse Color Bleeding That Occurred During Laundering?

Color bleeding that occurs during laundering can dye all the clothing in your load of laundry, or it can transfer dye stains on certain articles of clothing. To remove color bleeding on white, colored or print fabrics, you need oxygen-based bleach or white distilled vinegar.

  1. Determine the source of color bleeding

    Find the item that is bleeding color and separate it from the rest of the clothing. Examine the rest of the clothing and determine the extent of dye transfer. It is important not to dry the clothing if color bleeding occurs, because the heat sets the dye and increases the chance of permanently discoloring the item.

  2. Soak clothing if necessary

    If you accidentally dry the clothing, or if the dye transfer is heavy, soak the clothing before rewashing. Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach and cool water according to the package directions. Completely submerge the stained items in the solution. Soak them for a minimum of 8 hours. If stains remain, repeat the soak for another 8 hours using a fresh solution of oxygen-based bleach and cool water. If the stains are gone, rewash the clothing.

  3. Rewash clothing

    Place all clothing with dye transfer back into the washing machine. Add oxygen-based bleach or 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to the load of laundry in addition to your laundry detergent, and wash as usual.