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

Updated July 20, 2017

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.

Hydrogen peroxide

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

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

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


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

Soak the fabric in the bleach for 30 minutes.

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

Ammonia and washing up liquid

Mix equal parts washing up liquid, ammonia and water.

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

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


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.

Things You'll Need

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

Curtis Gifford has been creating content for various websites and publications since 2000. His writings have appeared on websites such as and he is also an expert in the knowledge management field. Gifford studied political science at Suffolk University in Boston.