How to get clothes white when dye bleeds in a washing machine

Written by curtis gifford
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How to get clothes white when dye bleeds in a washing machine
Household remedies can return clothes back to white after colour run. (laundry image by samantha grandy from

One coloured item ends up in a wash full of whites and the dye from the coloured fabric bleeds onto the others; the whites are no longer white. While there are many products on the market promising to block the colour from spreading, such as dye transfer paper, stain removers and even salt, without pretreating the fabrics you're likely to have to correct the dye bleeding afterward. Fortunately, there are several household products that have proven effective in returning the dyed clothes back to white.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Washing up liquid
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Spray bottle
  • Washing powder

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    Hydrogen peroxide

  1. 1

    Mix one part of 20-volume strength hydrogen peroxide with six parts water.

  2. 2

    Soak the garment for 30 minutes or until the stain has cleared.

  3. 3

    Rinse the garment in cold water, treat with a stain lifter solution and rewash with washing powder.


  1. 1

    Set your washing machine to the fill setting, and dilute 237 ml (1 cup) of bleach by pouring it into the bleach dispenser.

  2. 2

    Soak the fabric in the bleach for 30 minutes.

  3. 3

    Add washing powder and set the washing machine to normal cycle.

    Ammonia and washing up liquid

  1. 1

    Mix equal parts washing up liquid, ammonia and water.

  2. 2

    Place the solution into a spray bottle and generously apply it to the dyed area.

  3. 3

    Rub the mixture into the dye using a sponge or toothbrush. Wait 30 minutes and rewash the clothes in a normal wash.

Tips and warnings

  • The best results occur when the dye has not dried onto the fabric. Treat the stain as soon as possible.
  • Test the fabric for colour fastness on a small section prior to treating the stain.
  • Results vary based on severity of colour run and type of fabric.
  • Caution: do not mix cleaning products other than instructed. Poisonous gases may result. For further information, please see Resource link below.

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