When you're in a hurry to do the laundry, it's easier to toss whites and colored clothes into the same load rather than washing them separately. This is one chore that you should never skip, however. Colored garments often bleed a bit of dye in the wash, and that color can transfer to your whites. A red dress, for example, might bleed and turn your white undershirts pink. However, if you treat the garment before applying heat, you have a chance to restore its original white color.
Remove the stained garment from the washing machine if you've just washed it. Do not put it in the dryer before treating, because heat can set the stain.
Lay the garment flat on a towel. Apply heavy-duty liquid detergent directly to the stained parts of the garment. Let it soak for 20 minutes, then rinse with cool water.
Combine one part non-chlorine bleach with two parts water. Soak the garment in the liquid until the stain lifts or lessens.
Mix two parts water and one part chlorine bleach if the non-chlorine bleach does not work. Test the effect of the chlorine bleach, which may discolor clothing, by dabbing a small amount on a hidden seam. If the fabric doesn't change to an unwanted color, soak the item in the bleach for 15 minutes.
Apply a commercial color remover to the stained areas if bleach does not remove the dye.
When the stains have been removed, thoroughly rinse the garment, put it in the washing machine and add a capful of your usual detergent. Add one cup of white vinegar and wash in cool water.
Dry the garment in the dryer only when no traces of the stain are apparent.
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- To avoid dye stains in the future, wash white garments and colored clothes separately.
- Some dye stains are permanent and cannot be removed no matter what method you use.
Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.