Bleach is found in so many of our household products that avoiding bleach stains is almost impossible.
Most of us probably have an old t-shirt or pants that we wear when cleaning to avoid those bleach splashes, but what should you do when you get bleach on your good clothes or furnishings?
Bleach stains are a nightmare, and your first reaction is likely to panic. The bad news is that bleach strips the dye from clothes, meaning a fix isn't as easy as a simple wash. However, that doesn't mean that bleach stains are unfixable.
To get rid of bleach stains, it's best to act fast using simple household products. But if that isn't working, there are some methods for fixing and covering bleach stains, to make them less noticeable.
Take a look at our guide to find the best ways to fix your bleach stains, and how to avoid them in the future.
The following are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Can You Fix Bleach Stains?
Bleach is a strong and powerful cleaner, which is why so many of us use it around the house. Bleach can attack dirt and stains, drawing out their color and washing them away. Many of us use bleach in our laundry to get our whites looking bright again.
But when bleach gets on darker clothes, that dirt removing strength becomes an issue. Instead of just removing dirt, it removes the dye from the fibers. This leaves behind those pale patches we associate with bleach.
Bleach stains can occur when we use too much bleach in the laundry, leave fabric cleaners on for too long, or simply get careless when cleaning.
Bleach stains can be fixed, but you have to work quickly, before the bleach has a chance to spread. If the bleach has set in, then the stain can't be removed, because there technically isn't a stain, just a lack of color.
When a stain is set in, you may not be able to remove it, but there are some ways to fix the problem.
You may also like: Reverse Tie Dye with Bleach
How To Fix Bleach Stains
The first thing to do when you splash bleach on your clothes or soft furnishings is to blot away as much of the moisture as you can.
Make sure you're wearing gloves to protect your hands, and then use a clean white cloth to dab away the excess bleach. Avoid rubbing the stain, as this will spread the bleach.
Dish soap can't be used to remove the bleach stain, but it can stop it from spreading and wash away the remaining bleach.
Mix a few drops of dish soap with cold water, and apply to the stain. Clean thoroughly until you can longer smell any bleach on the fabric. Rinse through with cold water.
By acting quickly, you can avoid a large bleach stain and may be able to prevent serious damage.
Baking soda works similarly to dish soap. It won't remove a bleach stain, but it can prevent it from getting any worse.
Baking soda is used to make bleach inactive, allowing you to get to work on fixing the stain.
Mix the baking soda with water to create a thick paste. Use a cotton wool ball to apply the paste to the bleach stain.
Leave the paste to sit for several hours. When the paste has dried, rinse it away.
You might still notice a small white stain on your fabric, but it shouldn't grow any further. And you can now use stronger methods, without worrying about the effects of bleach mixing.
Instead of baking soda, you can also use hydrogen peroxide or sodium thiosulfate. However, you're generally less likely to have these around the house.
You may also like: Homemade Bleach Solution
Once you've neutralized your bleach stain with baking soda, you might want to grab the tequila. Not to cope with the stress, but to try and introduce some dye back to the area.
Clear alcohol, such as vodka or tequila, can leech color from the surrounding area and pull it onto the stain. Simply soak a cotton swab in alcohol, and rub it gently over the stain and into the dye in a circular motion.
Once the stain is covered, rinse with cold water, and then wash as usual.
Rubbing alcohol is used in the same way as drinking alcohol, bringing the color back to the stain.
The alcohol method works best on small bleach stains. Be careful when using alcohol, as too much can also damage fabric.
If you have a bleach stain on a dark fabric, a fabric pen can be used to add some color back. Make sure to neutralize the stain with baking powder before you start. Color in the bleach stain carefully, and go slow so you don't miss a spot.
Can't find a fabric pen? Use a sharpie!
For large bleach stains, the best solution might be to use fabric dye. Choose a dye as close in color as possible to the original color.
Use a color remover to strip away the old color. This step will help the new dye to stick. Follow the packet instructions to re-dye your garment (and keep it away from any more bleach).
You may also like: DIY Bleach Cleaning Solution
Cover The Stain
Perhaps the easiest method, simply covering the stain with a patch might be the best way to deal with it. Patches can be bought in many craft and clothing stores, and there are lots available online.
The best way to apply a patch is with a needle and thread, but iron-on and press-on patches are also available.
How To Avoid Bleach Stains
- Don't pour bleach directly onto clothes. Bleach should always be diluted before you use it for cleaning.
- Be careful when washing colored clothes with detergents containing bleach. Make sure the bleach is color-safe and the materials are bleach-safe.
- Wear old clothes when cleaning, that you don't mind getting bleach on.
- Always wear rubber gloves when working with bleach.
Bleach stains are a nightmare, and because they strip the dye, there isn't a way to remove them. However, by acting quickly and neutralizing the bleach, the stain can be fixed.