Use chlorine bleach to remove color bleed from whites.

How to Whiten Clothes When Colors Bled in the Laundry

by S.R. Becker

No matter how careful you are when doing your laundry, it's always possible for a red shirt to slip in with your whites. If you're not a fan of pink -- or any other colors that have stained your white clothing -- you don't have to throw your clothes away. By washing your whites again before they dry, you might be able to remove the dye bleed. Bleach is the key to fixing color transfer.

Remove the colored item from your wet laundry, leaving only whites in the machine. Fill the machine again with cold water, as hot water helps set the dye.

Add liquid laundry detergent to the wash water or detergent dispenser according to the package directions.

Pour in 1 cup of liquid chlorine bleach. If you choose not to use chlorine bleach, add 1 scoop of powdered oxygen bleach or 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide.

Allow the machine to finish the cycle and check the clothing. If it's still stained and you have a top-loading machine, add bleach and detergent again and restart the wash cycle.

Allow the machine to agitate for one minute to mix in the bleach, then open the lid and allow the clothes to soak for 30 minutes. Close the lid again to complete the cycle. If you have a front-loading machine, wash the clothes again, following Steps 1-3.

Put the clothes in the dryer or hang them to dry only after all the dye comes out.

Items you will need

  • Laundry detergent
  • Chlorine or oxygen bleach


  • Some companies make color removers especially for absorbing excess dye. Look in the dye section of your local craft store to find them. Your supermarket may also carry color-absorbing cloths in the laundry section.

About the Author

S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images