How to Remove Color That Bled During Laundry

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Things You'll Need

  • Heavy duty liquid detergent

  • Chlorinated bleach

  • Color safe bleach or oxygenated stain remover

  • Large bucket


Always treat the stain as quickly as you can.

Don't put the clothing in the dryer until you've removed the stain (or given up).

Always wash new clothing like jeans and items with bright colors by themselves in cold water to remove any excess dye.

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It has happened to nearly everyone; one of your red socks ended up in a load of whites and now you've got a pile of pink laundry. Removing dye that has bled in the washer is tricky, but not impossible. Choose your stain removing weapon based on the original color of the garments and don't use chlorinated bleach on dark colors.

Step 1

Pour 1/2 cup heavy duty liquid laundry detergent into a large bucket. Add 1/2 cup bleach and fill the bucket with very hot water.

Step 2

Soak white clothing in the water for 15 minutes. Empty the bucket and rinse the clothes. According to the Iowa State University Extension Office, soaking clothing in chlorine bleach longer than 15 minutes will not remove any more of the stain, but will weaken the fabric.

Step 3

Fill a bucket with hot water and add heavy duty liquid detergent and 1/2 cup color-safe bleach or oxygenated stain remover.

Step 4

Soak colored or dark clothes in the bucket for 30 to 60 minutes. Dump the water out, rinse the clothing and wash it as normal in your washing machine.

references & resources

Julie Christensen

Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."