How to Get Pink Color Bleed Out of White Clothes

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Laundry can be a tedious task due to separating items by color and fabric type, but what can make it worse is discovering that you accidentally washed a colored item, like a red T-shirt, in your white load and now the whole load is pink. If this happens to you, the most important thing to remember is not to throw the load in the dryer, as this will set the stain. There are a few different methods for treating pink color bleeds that can bring your whites back to their purest form.

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Presoaking the Clothes

Before immediately running the clothes through a washing cycle again, try presoaking them in a diluted bleach solution:

  1. Mix 2 tablespoons of Clorox laundry stain remover per gallon of water with added laundry detergent in a sink.
  2. Place the stained clothes in the solution for approximately five minutes for smaller, lighter stains and up to an hour for harder-to-lift stains.
  3. Check the clothes regularly and remove them from the solution when the stain has been lifted to your satisfaction.
  4. Rinse the clothes and put them through another regular wash cycle with your usual detergent.

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If you are unsure about using bleach, another great option is to use oxygen bleach. Read the label for proper dilution amounts and soak the clothes for up to 90 minutes, checking them every 15 minutes. When the stain is gone, remove the clothes and wash them on a regular cycle, making sure to check them for lingering discoloration before putting them in the dryer.

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Rewashing the Load

If you don't have the space to soak a full load of laundry in your sink, you can treat the pink discoloration by washing the load again. Along with adding detergent as usual, wash the load with a cup of oxygen bleach. As an alternative, you can replace the oxygen bleach with 1 cup of distilled white vinegar. Adjust the water temperature to the hottest setting that the clothing label permits.

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If the load is still discolored, you may need to wash it again with stronger chemicals, like chlorine bleach. Add your regular detergent and 1/8 cup of chlorine bleach, adjust the water temperature to cold, and wash the clothes on a regular wash cycle again. Repeat as needed if the discoloration persists. Once the staining is gone, run your load through a final rinse cycle to remove any bleach residues.

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Treating Discolored Spots

Color bleeds happen in different ways, and the pink bleed may have spotted your laundry instead of completely coloring the load. The best course of action for small spots is to presoak the laundry according to the instructions above. If the discoloration persists, you can spot treat them with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide.

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Wet the stains with hydrogen peroxide using a cotton swab or cloth and let the peroxide sit on the stain for a few minutes. Rinse the clothes thoroughly. If the spots are still visible, then it is time to take action with a chlorine bleach soak using 1/8 cup of bleach mixed into a sink of water. Let the garments soak for 15 to 30 minutes and then machine wash as usual, repeating as needed. Avoid drying the stained items in your clothes dryer until the stain has been completely removed.

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