How to Bleach Shorts

by Red Ashton

If you're out playing in the summer sun, your shorts are bound to get a little dirty. Bleaching can remove more stains and brighten your shorts better than detergent can do by itself. The key is knowing what type of bleach to use. Liquid chlorine bleach is also a disinfectant, but can be used only on white clothing and certain fabrics. Oxygen or color-safe bleaches are less effective but gentler on clothes. Check the label on your shorts. Different fabrics will require different treatments.

Items you will need

  • Washing machine
  • Detergent, liquid or powdered
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Oxygen bleach

White Shorts

Step 1

Check the label to see if your shorts are bleach safe. This means you can treat them with a small amount of liquid chlorine bleach without damaging the fabric.

Step 2

Start the washer using the warmest water the garment allows – washing water temperatures will be marked on the inside tag of the garment. Pour in the liquid or powder washing detergent and then put the shorts in.

Step 3

Pour 3/4 cup of bleach into your washing machine's bleach compartment. If there isn't one, pour the bleach directly into the washer approximately five minutes after the wash cycle has started.

Step 4

Repeat the process if the shorts aren't as white as you'd like, or if stains are still visible.

Color Shorts

Step 1

Check the label on your shorts to make sure they're colorfast. If they aren't, wash them by themselves to avoid having the color bleed onto other clothing.

Step 2

Put the shorts into the washing machine along with the detergent. Use a color-safe bleach or oxygen bleach -- this information should be on the front of the container. Depending on the product, you'll need to use a certain amount. Check the label for instructions.

Step 3

Repeat the process if the shorts are still stained. Don't put them into the dryer until you're satisfied with the result.


  • Treat tough stains first by rubbing a small dab of liquid detergent directly on the fabric. Follow by washing.


  • Keep bleach away from children.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

About the Author

Red Ashton has been writing and editing professionally since 2003. Her work has appeared in "The Times Ledger," "The Lit Review," "Not For Tourists,", and the Rough Guides website. Her areas of writing expertise include travel, home-and-garden and education. Ashton earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the New School.