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Removing Color Bleed Stains

One of the most common laundry problems that a person can face is color bleed. This most commonly happens when a red sock or other piece of clothing is left in with the rest of the wash. When that red-colored cloth gets wet, it has a tendency to transfer (or bleed) its color onto the rest of the clothes in the wash.

With dark-colored clothes this is probably not that noticeable. However, the problem actually comes when the clothing that has gotten stained is either white or lightly colored. Instead of throwing away the clothes, or only saving those clothes for the days when you have really dirty chores, take a little extra time to properly clean those clothes. Here's how.

  1. Separate. When you first notice that you have a color bleed stain, go through all the clothes and find that one (hopefully) piece of clothing that is causing the problem. At the same time, also separate all the other clothes. Quite often not all of your clothes are going to be stained, so set aside the clothes that are stained from the ones that aren't.
  2. Agitate. Place the stained clothes back into the washing machine and fill with enough cold water to cover the clothes. Start the machine so that you agitate the clothes for a few minutes.
  3. Bleach. After the water has been agitating the clothes for a few minutes, stop the machine and add a little bleach. If you are cleaning whites, add no more than eight ounces of chlorine bleach to the water. If you don't like using chlorine bleach, use vinegar instead. Just make sure that you use double the white vinegar, as you would bleach. If the clothes are colored, though, do not use chlorine bleach, but rather non-chlorine bleach.
  4. Soak. After you have added the bleach, turn the machine back on and allow the machine to agitate for another five minutes. Turn the machine off and allow the clothes to soak for at least ten minutes, but no more than fifteen.
  5. Wash full cycle. After allowing the clothes to soak, wash them as you normally would. Be sure that you are using the correct amount of detergent or soap and that you let the machine run through a complete cycle.
  6. Check. When the washing machine has completed its cycle and before you put the clothes into the dryer, check to make sure that the stains have been removed. If they have not, or have only been removed on some of the clothing then you should repeat steps one through five as many times as necessary until the stain has been removed.

Just remember that bleed stains don't have to be the end of your clothes. By simply taking a little extra time and effort you will be able to save your favorite shirt. (Now, whether your significant other thinks that this is a good thing or not is another matter.)

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Comments for this tip:

Ruki    12 Aug 2014, 21:25
I bought a brand new outfit and decided to hand wash it. It's composed of Ivory, black, and beige wide stripes. However, the colors bled onto itself and the garment is ruined. I've tried using Carbona color run remover but no luck. Please help!
Elesa Davis    30 Jul 2014, 11:27
How do I remove stains from dark clothing on my nails? I bought some new items yesterday and just from trying on the clothing my nails are stained. I do not want to remove with polish remover as just had a manicure. Soap and water will not remove. Even after an item has been dry cleaned it still stains my nails.
JJ    09 Apr 2014, 08:02
Running the clothes through another wash would be fine and dandy if you've got your own washer; but for me it would never work. I, in an apartment complex, use the laundry facilities, which means I must take what I've got. I can't stop or start the washer, or decide the water level. Suggestions? Thank you very much! (-:
lisa    08 Apr 2014, 13:31
help !! a red sock bled onto my daughter's high school white jerseys's. I have tried bleach, oxyclean and vinegar and cannot get the Jersey to look anything but a pale pink!!!
Karen    03 Sep 2012, 05:35
There's a product on the market called "Color Catchers" than you can put into the washing machine with clothes you suspect might bleed. They will absorb any loose color in the water which prevents it from attaching to other garments.
We quilters know to use them when we first wash our newly made quilts.

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