How to Dye Red Clothes White

by Donni Jones

Give red clothes a new look by dying them white.

red dress image by dinostock from Fotolia.com

Instead of purchasing all new clothes, try changing the look of some of your old ones. Cut the sleeves off a blouse, put different buttons on a denim jacket, remove the sash from a sundress, sew patches onto a skirt or decorate a tee with fabric paint. Another technique is dyeing. Lighten or darken the color a few shades or remove the color entirely. Breathe new life into old red clothes by dyeing them white.

Items you will need

  • Bleach
  • Container
  • White fabric dye
  • Red clothes
Step 1

Check the material. Red is a dark color, so bleaching the clothes first will help the dyeing process along. However, natural protein fibers such as wool, silk and mohair cannot bleached. Fabrics such as cottons and linens, on the other hand, can. Always read the label on clothes to check for a “Do not bleach” warning.

Step 2

Follow bleaching directions carefully. Undiluted bleach can seriously damage fabric, even those fabrics that can be bleached. See instructions for the suggested ratio of bleach to water for best results.

Step 3

Use a container that is large enough. The clothes need to be able to move around freely, allowing the bleach solution to saturate clothes properly. Pour the solution into the container, add clothes, and let soak. You may need to weight clothes down so they stay entirely submerged. Place the container in the bathtub to avoid damaging floors if any solution spills.

Step 4

Check clothes regularly. Some fabrics release color more easily and quickly than others. Gently stir the fabric every so often to help the process. Check on clothing every 15 minutes or so to monitor the progress. After an hour, repeat the process with fresh solution, if needed, but bear in mind that you may not be able to completely whiten clothes. After the second bleaching, you have removed as much color as is possible.

Step 5

Wash the clothes. This step removes any remaining red and prepares clothes for dyeing. Do not use bleach in the washing cycle, and use only a small amount of laundry detergent.

Step 6

Dye clothes using a white fabric dye. Follow the directions on the package carefully to get the best results. As with bleaching, you may need to repeat the process, as many times as the instructions say is safe. Submerge clothes in the dye solution while they are still warm from the dryer; heated fabric is more workable.

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About the Author

Donni Jones has been an editor and writer since 1996. She has edited articles for and contributed content to numerous publications, magazines and online businesses such as FootSmart.com and KateAspen.com. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of West Florida.