Cleaning Troubles: How To Get Bleach Out Of Clothes

Bleach is well-known for its powerful cleaning properties, which include the ability to kill hazardous bacteria and germs from your washing machine for example. You can also use it on your white clothing, or even bleach your jeans to level up your style. Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, you can never be too careful, and at some point, you will wind up with a bleach stain on your not-so-white clothes. When chlorine bleach comes into contact with them, it almost rapidly destroys the colour and leaves visible white or yellow stains.

Shocked angry woman looking at bleached clothes in washing machine

Once this happens, you do not need to panic. Remember that bleach stains can be removed using a variety of common household cleaning products. The following guide will help you restore the colour of the damaged clothes caused by a bleach spill.

How to get bleach out of clothes with natural remedies

Lemon juice

Lemon juice can be used to erase stains from textiles in an all-natural way, and it is the most delicate method of all. It serves as a cleaning agent that will whiten your clothes and remove stain-causing chemicals while disinfecting. 

Allow the item to soak for 1-2 hours in a large bucket or basin with 14 cups of lemon juice and 4 litres of boiling water, then ring out as much as possible. Then, give it some time to dry in the sun before re-wearing it.

White vinegar 

Another chemical-free option is vinegar. Because vinegar includes acetic acid, it helps in the dissolution of bleach and the removal of damaged fabric.

White vinegar

To eliminate as much bleach as possible, you should pretreat the stained area with water. First, soak a clean white towel in cold water to blot the bleached area. Continue blotting until the bleach smell has gone away. 

Then, dab the discolouration with diluted vinegar and a cloth. The vinegar solution will dissolve the bleach residue and make the stain less visible. Continue blotting the stain with the vinegar solution until the area is moistened.

Finally, once you are happy with the results, blot the treated area again with cold water using a clean cloth to eliminate the lifted bleach residue and also to make sure that the vinegar scent is gone. 

Patch the stain

Cover the stain instead of removing it, and no one will ever know there’s a stain in the first place. This hack is suitable for casual clothing, but you may try turning it into something more trendy. 

If one patch over the stain appears to be too random, for instance, you can combine many patches to create a new trendy look for your item.

How to get bleach out of clothes with chemical treatments


Borax, also known as sodium tetraborate, is a natural mineral that has been mined and used for thousands of years. It’s safe to mix with chlorine bleach and detergents, and it is a very effective stain remover.

Pre-soak your clothes in a solution of one tablespoon of borax and 4 litres of warm water for 30 minutes, or add 1/2 cup of borax to your laundry detergent in a pre-soak cycle in the washing machine. Borax’s alkaline pH will help in the removal of bleach stains.

Bottle of borax on white table


Clear alcohol works best on little bleach marks or dark materials. Rinse the item completely with cold water until the bleach smell has gone away to avoid combining the bleach with alcohol.

Because alcohol permeates into and spreads the fabric dye, any excess bleach left in the cloth may also spread with the colour. Soak the item in alcohol, such as gin or vodka, with a cotton ball. 

Allow the fabric to air dry before washing to eliminate any rubbing alcohol, and give the colours in the cloth a chance to settle. To avoid any extra discolouration caused by the residue of the clear alcohol, wash the cloth as soon as possible after it has dried.

Sodium thiosulfate

  1. It can be used to counteract the effects of bleach stains on cotton fabrics. Look for products that claim to be chlorine neutralisers. Sodium thiosulfate will be present in those, which will be used to treat the bleach stain on the fabric. 
  2. This is very effective as an immediate treatment. If the stain has been sitting for a time, the diluted solution may not completely remove it, but it will certainly make it less visible.
  3. Combine 1 tbsp (14.3 g) of sodium thiosulfate and warm water in a dish or a plastic basin. Use a disposable spoon to mix this diluted solution until everything is dissolved. Then, dip a clean cloth into the solution.
  4. You don’t need to use a cloth of white colour here. Any old cloth will be fine. Just keep in mind that a non-white cloth will pick up stains from the bleach you’re removing from the fabric. If you don’t have a clean cloth, use cotton balls.
  5. Now, blot the stain until the liquid is absorbed into the fabric. Always blot the fabric rather than rubbing it. If you rub the fabric with the diluted solution, it will be damaged. 
  6. If you still spot some stain traces afterwards, rinse the fabric in cold water and then treat it once more with the diluted solution until the stain has completely faded away. 
  7. Then, the item should be washed and dried as usual. Just wash it separately so that it is clean and ready to wear.

Sodium Thiosulfate

Dish soap

Bleach stains on fabric, upholstery, and carpet can be removed using diluted dish soap. To be successful, different materials will require different water temperatures.

  1. Mix liquid soap with a cup of water. Blot the bleach stain with a clean white cloth dipped in the solution, or you can just use an old toothbrush over the stained area. Begin on the outside edge of the stain and work your way inward
  2. Focus on the edges initially because you’ll have a higher chance of reversing the less saturated areas away from the core bleach spots.
  3. Allow 5 minutes for the solution to soak so that the detergent will work its magic on the bleach stain. Before letting it soak, though, make sure the whole area is covered with the solution. 
  4. Once done, blot the treated area with water using a clean cloth. This will aid in the stain removal of any bleach residue that the diluted soap may have raised. Blot the area until it is completely dry or until no more bleach is lifting. 
  5. Additionally, you can press paper towels into the treated area to absorb any surplus moisture and speed up the drying process.

How to get bleach out of clothes with colour correction

Permanent marker

Fill in the stain with a permanent marker. Find one that is a perfect match for your clothes. Otherwise, you will have a bigger problem and end up with more stains.

To make sure the ink doesn’t run, cover the stain with the marker and iron it or put it in the dryer for a few minutes. 

Always test the fabric marker on a rag or an old item first to make sure it’s the right hue. This works well with black and dark clothes, but not so well with white clothes, light hues, or bright colours.

Set of permanent marker in a cup

Sun bleaching 

To lighten clothes naturally, use the sun-bleaching process. Working with the stain rather than against it is sometimes a good idea. 

Start by washing the item and exposing it to direct sunshine. If necessary, wait several hours and repeat the process. 

Because ultraviolet rays bleach your item, make sure it’s laid flat and wrinkle-free. You want it to lighten in a consistent manner. This approach will not completely remove the stain, but it will assist in lessening it.

Bleach the whole item

As an absolute last option, you can use bleach on the entire outfit only after you have tried all of the above methods. Changing the entire colour of your item is a little more radical measure, but it can be very successful. 

  1. Fill a large bucket or basin halfway with water, then add a capful of bleach and make sure to wear rubber gloves beforehand. Swirl the clothing in the bleach mixture until it reaches the desired colour, adding extra bleach as needed along the way.
  2. After rinsing your item, soak it in a bucket or basin filled with water and hydrogen peroxide for half an hour. For every 4 to 5 litres of water, add 50 grams of hydrogen peroxide

Prevention tip 

Clean your washer on a regular basis to prevent future stains. If you used bleach in your washer‘s built-in dispenser, make sure to empty it out before starting your next load. 

To guarantee that your appliance is free of any built-up products after running a load with bleach, run it through a fast rinse cycle.

Bleach accident in clothes

Although bleach stains may appear irreversible at first, it is possible to restore the original colour to your clothes by following one of the methods above. Once you are faced with such a problem now, you will handle it like a pro! 

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