How to remove bleach stains from black clothing

Updated February 21, 2017

Bleach stains can be removed from clothing, but results are not always successful when the fabric is black or dark. The bleach must be attended to quickly. Sodium thiosulfate counteracts the effect of bleach, but may not be effective on dark clothing or on an old stain. It will, however, prevent the bleach from further stripping the pigment of the fabric. Bleached black fabric may turn green or brown before becoming white. A second method is simply covering the bleach stain. To successfully dye the garment, follow the cleaning steps first. It will remove excess bleach and prevent a reaction with the newly applied pigment.

Pour one cup of warm water into a plastic bowl or container. Add one tablespoon of sodium thiosulfate.

Saturate the cloth with the mixture. Blot the stain.

Apply the mixture until it is completely absorbed by the fabric.

Repeat the application if the bleach continues to transfer to the cloth.

Clean the garment according to care label instructions. If the bleach stain has not reduced, dying the garment is a viable option.

Treat the entire garment with a colour remover. This ensures that the bleached area will not create a light spot.

Dye the item according to the package instructions.

Wash the garment after dying to minimise bleeding.


An alternate method is to apply dye only to the affected spot, but the colour may be darker than the rest of the garment. The area will still require a colour stripper or sodium thiosulfate to remove the bleach. Sodium thiosulfate is available at pool supply and photography stores. It is used to counteract the effects of chlorine bleach and in developing film. Bleach Stop is a trade name.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 tablespoon of sodium thiosulfate
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Plastic bowl or container
  • Cloth or towel
  • Washing powder
  • Clothing dye
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