Laundry mistakes happen, but when you pull the whites out of the washer and find that the bleach turned the clothes pink, it's a disheartening sight. Somewhere amid the pink-stained whites, there's a red or burgundy sock, shirt, or other item that you missed when you sorted the laundry. After removing the offending item, you can follow a few simple steps to remove the transferred dye and save your white clothing.
White Shirt Turned Pink After Bleaching
Once the red dye has transferred to your whites, saving your white shirt may take more than just rerunning the load with more bleach. While too much chlorine bleach can damage the fibers of your whites, you can try to remove the dye transfer stains by mixing 1/4 cup of bleach with 1 gallon of cold water and soaking for five minutes. Check the stains and if they are lighter, rinse with cool water and repeat until they're gone. If repeated soaking doesn't remove the pink dye stains, move on to other stain removing techniques.
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Try a Color Remover
After checking the label to ensure that the stained item can be washed in hot water, prepare for the color-removal process by putting on gloves, opening the windows, and turning on the exhaust fan over the stove. Fill a large stainless steel pot with water and heat to approximately 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Add one packet of the color remover and stir to mix.
Wet the stained item in the sink and then add it to the pot. Simmer and stir for up to 20 minutes to dissolve and remove the pink dye from the fabric. Carefully remove it from the hot water and rinse with warm and then cool water. Wash with your regular laundry detergent.
Soak the Stained Whites
Fabrics that should be washed in cool to warm water can be soaked to remove the dye. No matter which stain removal product you choose, follow the manufacturer's directions on the label. If one process fails to remove the stains, rinse the clothing in cool water and try another method.
Treat the items with a bleach alternative. Add 1 tablespoon or the recommended amount to 1 gallon of warm water and then add and submerge the stained whites. Soak for five minutes and then put the items directly into the washer and wash with your regular laundry detergent. If the stain is still visible, try soaking the stain with full-strength laundry detergent and allow it to soak in for 20 minutes before rewashing.
Soak your whites in an oxygen bleach product . Add 1 scoop of powder or 1 capful of liquid to 1 gallon of the hottest water allowed by the care label. Soak for six hours or overnight and then check the stains. If they've disappeared, wash the whites with oxygen bleach only or add laundry detergent.
Wash the Laundry
When rewashing the whites after soaking them in your selected product, add more of the same product according to the label directions and add your laundry detergent. Do not mix with other products in the mistaken belief that they will provide extra cleaning power, such as ammonia with chlorine bleach or vinegar with oxygen bleach. Mixing products can produce a toxic gas, which may permanently damage your lungs or kill you.
After washing, air-dry the whites. Avoid using the dryer until you're sure that the stains have been completely removed. Occasionally, the stains are lightened but not completely gone, and drying the whites in a hot dryer will set the dye in the fabric. If the transferred dye stains are visible after drying, repeat the soaking and washing process.