We've all experienced the effects of bleach "incidents," such as when bleach is spilled on a favorite pair of jeans or when it restores a yellowed white garment. While it may not be possible to return the garment to its original condition, you can significantly repair the damage so that the garment is still wearable.
Method 1 of 4: Using Natural Solutions First
Step 1. Use lemon juice as the lightest ingredient
If you can remove the stain with this step, you are actually taking the safest approach without resorting to chemical products. Take a large bucket or tub, put the clothes along with 60 ml of lemon juice and 4 liters of boiling water, soak the clothes for 1-2 hours, then squeeze the clothes to remove as much water as possible.
Dry the clothes in the sun to dry before putting them back on
Step 2. Use vinegar as another chemical-free option
Because it contains acetic acid, vinegar can destroy bleach and lift damaged fabrics. Buy vinegar from the nearest supermarket, then wet the area that was stained with the bleach with vinegar. Rinse the clothes in cold water when you're done and repeat the stain removal process if necessary.
- Before treating the stain with vinegar, rinse the garment in cold water to remove any excess bleach. Mixture of bleach and vinegar can produce toxic gases.
- Use limited amounts of vinegar when handling cotton clothes because over time, vinegar can damage the fabric.
Step 3. Use the patch to cover the stained area
Instead of lifting the stain, another option you can try is to cover it up. Cleverly placed patches or bets can be a good solution, depending on the position of the stain. You can even use a lace pattern if you want.
Method 2 of 4: Using Chemical Handling
Step 1. Use a mild bleach before trying a stronger product
Do not immediately use chemical products that are too harsh. Add 1-2 tablespoons (15-30) of borax (can be purchased from a convenience store) to 480 ml of water, then pour the mixture into the washing machine.
Step 2. Use alcohol to neutralize the color of the stain
Take a cotton swab and moisten it with rubbing alcohol (or a clear alcoholic drink like vodka or gin). Gently wipe the cotton on the stain. Don't be surprised if the color of the clothes fades. While the stained area is still scrubbing, the color dissipating from the area around the stain will cover the bleach-affected area.
Rinse clothes thoroughly with water when you're done. You can dry clothes in the sun or dry them in a tumble dryer
Step 3. Apply sodium thiosulfate before the stain worsens
This option is an appropriate direct treatment of the problem area before the stain spreads. Dip a clean white washcloth (eg flannel) in the sodium thiosulfate mixture, then dab it over the stain repeatedly until the stain is gone. Once the stained area is sufficiently wet, rinse the garment in cold water and repeat the process until you are satisfied with the results.
This method is similar to the use of alcohol, but is more effective and works to repair damage to fabrics caused by bleach, and is known as a photographic fixer
Method 3 of 4: Experimenting with Color Fixes
Step 1. Use a permanent marker to cover the stain
Look for markers that are the same color or closest to the color of the clothes. Otherwise, the marker streak will appear much more conspicuous than the stain itself. Coat the stain with a marker, then dry the ink with an iron or place the garment in the dryer for a few minutes to prevent the ink from smudging.
- Test markers on unused patchwork or fabric/clothing first to make sure you choose the right color.
- This step is suitable for black and dark clothes, but may be less effective for white and light clothes.
Step 2. Use the sun-fade method to naturally lighten the color of your clothes
Sometimes, it's better to "trick" the stain instead of trying to remove it. Start by washing clothes and drying them in a place exposed to direct sunlight. Wait for a few hours, then repeat the process if necessary.
- Ultraviolet light can bleach or fade clothes. Make sure the garment is spread out on a flat surface and is not folded or wrinkled. The color of the clothes should be evenly bright.
- This method won't make the stain disappear completely, but it can help lighten the color of the stain.
Step 3. Whiten the entire garment as a final step
This is a more drastic step, but is very effective for changing the overall color of an outfit. Put the clothes in a bucket or large tub filled with water, then add a bottle cap of bleach. Toss and swirl the clothes in the bleach mixture until they are the color you want, and add more bleach if necessary. Rinse the clothes and soak for half an hour in a bucket or tub filled with cold water and hydrogen peroxide.
- Add 50 grams of hydrogen peroxide for every 4-5 liters of water.
- Treat all clothes with bleach as a last resort after you've tried using natural remedies or milder chemical steps.
Method 4 of 4: Preventing Future Stains
Step 1. Replace the bleach with a lighter product
Standard bleach usually has a pretty serious impact on clothes. In fact, lighter products can still provide good results. Bleach is not really the best product for household use, and is more formulated for commercial use/sector. You can use bleach or a milder product such as borax or oxygen bleach for home use.
Step 2. Choose natural alternative steps for a better environment
Consider the negative effects of bleach on the environment and choose a more natural solution. You can bleach clothes by exposing them to sunlight or adding 120 ml of lemon juice to a white wash cycle.
Step 3. Clean the washing machine to remove any residual bleach
Although known for its cleaning agents, bleach can also leave stains, rather than cleaning clothes. If you pour bleach into the bleach dispenser of your washing machine, make sure you clean the dispenser or compartment before reusing the washing machine for other clothes. Run a quick wash cycle after you've done your laundry with bleach to make sure there's no bleach left.
- When cleaning clothes in the sun, spray lemon juice on the stain. A combination of sun exposure and lemon juice can give better results.
- Start with the most natural solutions first, and periodically use chemical products or more drastic measures.
- If your clothes are beyond repair, try recycling or reusing them for other purposes instead of throwing them away.
- Keep bleach and chemical stain-removing products out of the reach of children and pets.
- Bleach has a harsh effect on the skin. Make sure you wear gloves and an apron so you don't damage the clothes you're wearing.