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How to Remove Bleach Stains From Clothes: Step-By-Step Guide

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You don’t have to throw away a favorite piece of clothing after a laundry mishap when you know how to remove bleach stains.

collage of 6 images of household items with text How to remove bleach stains from clothes.

I like keeping a bottle of bleach at home because it’s one of the easiest cleaning solutions to use. Whether it’s for removing a stain from spilled drinks or disinfecting the kitchen counters, there are many ways that bleaching products can help in keeping the house spick and span.

The one major downside to using bleach is the inevitable laundry accidents. Just as it is a strong stain remover, it can also make upsetting stains with even the tiniest drop.

Are you facing this problem at the moment? Stop worrying and keep reading to discover fantastic ways to get rid of bleach stains with simple DIY solutions.

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Why Does Bleach Cause Stains?

If you think about it, it’s quite ironic to face issues with bleach stains when bleach is supposed to remove stains from your clothes. Well, that’s because the way bleach works is quite a double-edged sword.

Many types of household bleach that we use are chlorine-based, and they contain oxidizing agents to which stain molecules react. This chemical reaction is how most cloth stains disappear.

However, due to the type of fabric and color of the clothes you’re washing, the bleach’s active ingredient can also cause the dye to corrode. Unfortunately, this reaction causes bleach stains or bleach spots on your favorite piece of clothing.

Bleach stains on fabric.

Act Fast: Assess and Neutralize Bleach Stains on Clothes

Just like when removing stains caused by spilled wine or coffee spills, it’s important not to let the bleach spots sit too long without working on removing them.

When you see that bright spot of bleach stain, it’s easy to panic and grab the closest stain remover you can find. While it’s crucial to act fast, it’s also essential to take a brief moment to assess how much damage the bleaching agent caused to your clothes.

If the bleach spot isn’t that big, then there’s an excellent chance you can still salvage your wardrobe.

Use this moment also to read the fabric label and instructions. This will give you key details on the fabric type and which DIY stain removers will work best. Some fabrics are too delicate and may have specific directions on how to treat stains.

Knowing these details will help you prevent further damage to your clothes.

Assessing the severity of bleach spots shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes. Proceed by neutralizing the stain with a simple baking soda paste by following these three easy steps:

1. Make the baking soda paste. Just combine two tablespoons of baking soda and one tablespoon of water and mix them well.

2. Apply the baking soda and water mixture, covering the entirety of the bleach stains. 

3. Let the paste sit until it’s completely dry. The baking soda and water combination will absorb any bleach residue from the fabric.

Fix Bleach Stains With Household Items

You may not realize it, but some of the best stain removers are already available in your home. 

When it comes to getting rid of bleach stains, some of the best options are:

Rubbing alcohol, dish soap and white vinegar on a white background.
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Dish soap
  • White vinegar

If these household stain removers don’t do the trick, you may have to run to the store. Don’t worry, the alternatives are also easy to find and use. You can save your clothes from bleach stains with these items:

Fabric dye and fabric marker.

Pro tip: 

Whichever homemade stain remover you use, always test it in a small, inconspicuous part of the clothes. You can do so by applying a small drop in the inner seam. 

While household stain solutions are not as strong as bleaches, they might still cause discoloration when used in the wrong type of fabric.

How to Get Bleach Stains Out of Clothes With Rubbing Alcohol

Aside from sanitizing your hands, rubbing alcohol can be a fantastic solution for bleach spots, especially on dark clothes. Alcohol can loosen the dye from the unstained area and allow it to spread to the bleach-stained part of the fabric.

Follow these steps:

1. Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol.

2. Gently rub the cotton on the bleach stain. Start from slightly outside the edges of the bleach spots and continue rubbing toward the center of the stain.

3. Keep rubbing the alcohol-soaked cotton ball until you see the cloth’s dye spread onto the bleach spots.

4. Let it dry before washing your clothes as usual.

How to Get Bleach Stains Off Your Clothes With Dish Soap

Dish soap generally does well in breaking down most types of stains. So go ahead and try it on bleach spots as well.

Use dish soap by following these steps:

1. Dilute 1-2 teaspoons of dish soap in cold water.

2. Blot the solution onto the bleach spots using a clean cloth.

3. Keep blotting the fabric until it lightens the stain.

4. Rinse the area with cold water before washing your clothes according to the fabric instructions.

Fabric Dye and Fabric Marker for Removing Bleach Stains Completely

Getting rid of bleach spots from colored clothes will likely require several repetitions, either with rubbing alcohol or dish soap.

Those household solutions should lighten and even remove the bleach stain well. However, if they don’t completely restore the fabric’s color, you have more options to try.

This is the time to turn to fabric dye or fabric markers to ultimately save your favorite shirts.

Take Out Bleach Stains With Fabric Dye

Aside from a fabric dye that matches the color of the stained fabric, these are the materials you’ll need:

  • Gloves
  • Cotton ball for small stains
  • Basin or bucket or any large container for bigger bleach spots

Now follow these steps:

1. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer carefully and prepare the dye. 

If the bleach damage is more extensive, you may have to prepare the dye in a basin or a large container.

2. For smaller stains, dip a cotton ball in the dye mixture and gently blot it onto the bleach spot.

If you need to fix a bigger bleach spot, you’ll have to submerge the entire garment in the dye bath.

3. Check the fabric and determine if you need to re-dye it. If necessary, refer to the fabric dye label for instructions on how to re-dye clothes.

Fix Bleach Spots With Fabric Marker

There are a couple of advantages to using a fabric marker instead of fabric dye.

With a marker, the process is more straightforward overall, and you don’t have to worry about any mess.

Using a fabric marker is also better when working on tiny bleach spots or a multi-colored garment.

Again, getting a fabric marker with the same or the closest color as your clothes is very important. 

Follow these steps:

1. Test the fabric marker in a hidden area of the fabric to ensure it is the same color as your clothes.

2. Read the fabric pen’s label instructions.

3. Use the marker over the bleach spots until the stain is completely covered.

4. Follow the fabric marker’s directions on how to wash your clothes after using the pen.

How to Remove Yellow Bleach Stains From White Clothes With White Vinegar

We all once thought that bleach could not cause discoloration on white clothes. Unfortunately, the yellow stains from bleaching products can be a rude awakening.

A person is holding a white shirt with yellow stain on it.

The good news is there’s also a nifty solution to remove yellow stains after using bleach on white clothes. And that solution is the ever-reliable household cleaning solution, distilled white vinegar.

Here’s how to fix yellow bleach stains on clothes:

1. Rinse the cloth well until you’re certain there’s no more excess bleach in the fabric. Don’t skip this step because bleach will react to vinegar, which can cause more damage.

2. Pour white vinegar directly on the yellow stains.

3. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes.

4. Rinse the cloth and check if the yellow stains have disappeared. Otherwise, repeat steps 2 and 3.

5. Wash the garment as usual.


Is hydrogen peroxide bleach?

Yes. Hydrogen peroxide might not be often referred to as “bleach,” but it’s classified as a bleaching agent. It’s also an effective household cleaning solution that can remove certain stains and can be used as a disinfectant.

Does vinegar leave a smell after removing stains?

Using white vinegar as a stain remover or cleaning solution might leave some smell. Don’t worry, that scent will go away after washing your clothes.

Where can I buy a fabric dye or fabric marker?

You can easily find fabric dye kits and fabric pens in the grocery, craft stores, and school and office supplies stores.

Save Your Clothes — Removing Bleach Stains Can Be Easy

Let’s be honest. Fixing bleach spots on clothes is a more challenging task than removing other types of stains. However, it is something you can do successfully.

Accidents can happen even when you’re doing laundry, but it doesn’t mean you’ll have to let go of clothes due to bleach stains.

Remember to act quickly, read the clothes’ fabric labels, and determine the best DIY stain remover to use. And you may just be able to save your favorite clothes.

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