How to Treat Mixed-Wash Accidents

by Contributor

Who hasn't accidentally tossed a soon-to-be bleeding garment into a load of laundry? When clothing dye runs and your garments pick up the wrong colors in the wash, there's good news: It's often possible to get the stains out.

Items you will need

  • Liquid Detergent
  • Non-chlorine Bleach
Step 1

Act quickly before the stain sets. It's much easier to remove a new stain than an old one.

Step 2

Rinse the stained clothing immediately with cold water. Then wash the garment in cold water using liquid detergent.

Step 3

If step 2 doesn't do the trick, soak the garment in a diluted solution of all-fabric bleach. Chlorine bleach isn't advisable unless you're certain it's safe for the fabric.

Step 4

Wash the garment in detergent, and use bleach that you've tested on the fabric. To test your fabric, mix a small spoonful of bleach in 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) water. Place a couple of drops of the solution on a part of the fabric that doesn't show. If you don't see any color change or bleeding after a minute, the bleach is OK to use.

Step 5

Be patient--up to five washings may be required.


  • If you need to rewash the garment in a machine with bleach, keep in mind that bleach works best in hot water. Warm water is the second choice, and cold water is the least effective option.