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How to remove color bleed from polyester fabric

Updated February 21, 2017

Colour bleeding is a common laundry woe, particularly if you have made the mistake of washing unlike colours together. When a colour transfer occurs, this results in the dying of the lighter-coloured fabric. Dye happens to be one of the most difficult stains remove. This is particularly apparent on polyester fabrics, which cannot be bleached. Nonetheless, you can successfully remove colour transfer stains from polyester fabrics through a non-chlorine bleach method.

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  1. Pretreat stains with a detergent containing enzymes. For more extensive colour bleeding, use an enzyme presoak product, following the directions on the packaging. Rinse the garment afterwards, using cool to lukewarm water.

  2. Launder your garment according to the directions on the care tag. As polyester fabrics cannot tolerate high heat, use cool to warm water.

  3. Allow your garment to air dry. If any colour transfer stains remain, the heat from the dryer will set them.

  4. Use a colour stripper to remove remaining colour transfer stains from white or light-coloured polyester fabrics. Be careful to follow the directions on the package.

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Things You'll Need

  • Enzyme presoak or detergent
  • Cool to lukewarm water
  • Colour stripper

About the Author

Sophie Levant

Sophie Levant is a freelance writer based in Michigan. Having attended Michigan State University, her interests include history classical music, travel, and the German language. Her work has been published at eHow and Travels.

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