How to Fix Discoloration on Clothes

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Things You'll Need

  • Baking soda

  • White vinegar

  • Laundry stain remover

  • Fabric dye

  • Small bowl

  • Bucket


If you can't find a dye that matches your garment's original color, consider dyeing it a new color. A store employee should be able to recommend a combination of dyes that can provide an accurate color match. Add 1 tbsp. laundry detergent to your dye bath for more even results. Add 1 cup salt to the dye bath for best results if dyeing cotton, rayon, ramie or linen.

Fix discolored clothes by tending to the stain quickly.

Clothes can become discolored easily, especially if you're eating a particularly messy food or drinking a brightly colored beverage. An accidental splash of bleach or other powerful cleaning agent can leave an ugly white splotch across your favorite red shirt. A faded piece of clothing can be brought back to life through dye immersion. Depending on the type of discoloration, you either need to remove the stain or re-dye the garment to restore its original look.

Removing Stains

Step 1

Sprinkle baking soda on spills as soon as possible. This helps absorb most of the liquid before it has a chance to stain the garment. Let the baking soda set for 15 minutes and then brush it off the fabric.

Step 2

Spray white vinegar on the stained area of the garment. If you are tending to a hardened food stain, white vinegar will also work. Allow the vinegar to set for 10 to 20 minutes before rinsing with cool water.

Step 3

Apply a commercial stain removal spray to the garment. Rub the solution into the fabric with your fingers.

Step 4

Wash the garment as you normally would. For best results, follow the care instructions on the garment's inner tag.

Restoring Color With Fabric Dye

Step 1

Refer to the instructions on your container of dye to determine the correct amount for your garment. Most manufacturers list dilution ratios on the back of products for your convenience.

Step 2

Pour the correct amount of dye powder into a small bowl. Add just enough hot water to dissolve the powder and form a syrupy concentrate. Stir it thoroughly to ensure no fragments of powder remain.

Step 3

Fill a bucket or the basin of your washing machine with the recommended amount of water. Most manufacturers suggest that the water be hot, or at least warm, for best results. Add dye concentrate to the water and stir thoroughly.

Step 4

Immerse the discolored garment into the dye, lifting it out periodically to check its progress. The longer you leave it in the dye bath, the deeper the resulting color.

Step 5

Remove the garment and wring it out once the discolored area is sufficiently dyed. Rinse the garment in warm water for several minutes. Run the garment through a warm wash cycle with a mild detergent and dry as you normally would.

references & resources

Brandon Getty

Brandon Getty began writing professionally in 2008, with columns appearing in "Thrasher" magazine. He received a Bachelor of Arts in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and lives in Stockton, Calif.