A bottle of household bleach spray.

How to remove bleach stains

Bleach is the go-to cleaning product for so many household messes. Found mould in your kitchen? Toilet need a clean? White trainers looking a little grubby? Bleach is there to help you. That said, one splash on your clothes and you’re looking at bleach stains – little pale patches, usually in the exact pattern the bleach splattered on your outfit.

So, how do you remove bleach stains on clothes? Believe it or not, it can be simple …

How to remove bleach stains from clothes 

Bleach stains are not really stains, as such – not like ink stains, blood stains, or oil stains are. Bleach stains on clothes are actually dye-free patches where the active ingredients have stripped the colour from the fabric. So there’s no way to wash or scrub bleach stains out, but you can cover them up.

Here’s how to remove bleach stains from clothes:

  1. Pure alcohol: If you’re dealing with a small bleach stain on a dark fabric, pure alcohol may be your best option. Put a few drops on a pad and then rub the fabric gently until the colour begins to spread out and cover the bleach stain.

  2. Permanent fabric marker: A fabric marker pen can essentially be used to colour in bleach stains on clothes. You just need to find one that matches the colour of the garment exactly. Fabric marker ink is usually designed to survive the washing machine, too, although you can always hand wash if you’re not certain. Read the pen’s packaging to make sure it can be used on your fabric.

  3. Fabric dye: If you’re wondering how to remove bleach stains on paler clothing, the best answer might be fabric dye. You can either dye the bleached area by itself, or dye the entire garment to make sure that there’s no mismatch in colour. 

If you decide to dye the entire garment, you’ll need to use a colour remover to strip off the original dye first. As usual, follow the safety and usage instructions on the packaging, but expect it to be a fairly short soaking job. Once the colour has been removed, you can go ahead and dye the garment. Again, the method will depend on the type of dye you’ve chosen, so refer to the label for instructions. 

When you’re removing or adding dye, be sure to wear gloves, work in a well-ventilated area, and keep products away from small, curious hands.

Remember: Test any stain removal method on a hidden part of the fabric first, and always make sure you read the advice on the garment’s care label as well.

How to avoid getting bleach stains on clothes

It’s far easier to prevent bleach stains on clothes than it is to remove them. Not using bleach at all probably isn’t an option (it being a powerful cleaning product that many of us turn to regularly), so here are a few handy tips to keep you and your clothes safe:

  • You should always check the instructions on the bottle before using bleach for dosage and safety instructions.
  • Make sure you wear durable, preferably light-coloured, clothing when using bleach. You could make use of that old t-shirt you’ve been saving for DIY jobs.
  • Wearing rubber gloves is very important. Bleach is a strong product that can damage your skin as well as your clothes, so stay safe!
  • If a cleaning agent contains bleach, be just as careful as when you’re dealing with regular bleach. It can still be very strong, so take precautions and always check out the packaging to see what’s in the product.
  • Don’t mix bleach with anything except water – you could end up creating toxic gas!
  • Always keep bleach away from children and pets.

Now you know how to avoid getting bleach stains on clothes and how to remove bleach stains if you’re unlucky, you can relax a little more when you use it. If a bleach stain does appear, you’ll handle it like a pro.