Color bleed happens, and we've all been there. After finding color bleed stains, what you do next determines whether these new hues stay in your clothes forever or come out in the wash. When you act quickly to remove the stain before it sets, there's a good chance you can remove the color bleed, but once you let the clothing dry, it can become impossible to remove later.
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Before rushing off to treat an affected piece of clothing, fully assess the damage. Find the garment that stained the rest of the clothes, remove it from the load, and inspect the other articles of clothing. Set aside everything with color bleed. Dry the rest of your laundry as usual.
1. Pretreat and Wash Again
Use a fabric prewash spray on the stains, let the clothing sit for 15 minutes, and then rewash the clothing using regular detergent. If you're lucky, this will be enough to remove the stains. If you don't have any prewash sprays, add a scoop of OxiClean to the load to boost the effectiveness of your detergent. Wash at the hottest water temperature recommended on the fabric care labels.
2. Try an OxiClean Soak
Dissolve 1 cup of OxiClean in a gallon of hot water. Add enough cold water to cool the temperature to the hottest temperature safe for your clothing. Leave the garments in the mixture for 30 minutes and then rinse with cold water. Wash the clothing with your standard detergent once more.
3. Try Hydrogen Peroxide
If the stains persist, turn to hydrogen peroxide. To ensure the peroxide won't fade your clothes, pour hydrogen peroxide onto a cotton ball and rub it on a seam inside the clothing. If any color appears on the cotton ball, your garment is not colorfast, and hydrogen peroxide may cause fading.
For colorfast garments, add 1 cup of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide to 3 cups of water and then soak for up to eight hours. Rinse well with cold water and run the clothing through the washer again.
4. Reach for the Vinegar
Vinegar can also be used to remove stains from clothing, but it too should only be used on colorfast clothing. If your clothes passed the colorfast test from the peroxide, add a cup of white vinegar to a gallon of water. Place your garments in the solution and let them sit for 30 minutes before rinsing them clean in cold water. If the color bleeding has lightened but is still present, try soaking the article of clothing in the solution for an additional 30 minutes. Run the clothes through the washer when you're finished to remove the vinegar smell.
5. Use Bleach if Possible
For white clothing that remains stained, you can use bleach if the garments are bleach-safe. Soak individual items for five minutes in a solution of 1/4 cup of bleach and 1 gallon of cool water. You can repeat this process as needed until the clothing is white once again.
6. Try a Professional Product
To skip the trial and error and remove color bleed the first time around, Carbona Color Run Remover works to remove color-bleeding stains on all colorfast clothing. It can be used in a sink, tub, or washing machine. Avoid using it with any other cleansers.