Laundry Tips: Washed Reds With Whites


Dyeing a load of white clothes an unattractive pink color is something that seems to happen to everyone eventually. Whether it was caused by a tragic laundry sorting accident or someone leaving an old red rag in the washer, there may be ways to solve the problem and restore those whites to their former glory.

Color Remover

  • When the issue of colored whites is discovered before the clothes are dry, the clothes can be relaundered immediately with a color remover that should restore them to their former condition. Small boxes of color remover can be found in stores that carry fabric dye. RIT is a popular brand that makes a low-cost color remover. Keeping a few packages of RIT color remover in the laundry room is a good idea.

    To use a color remover, separate all colored items from the stained white items. Return only the white items to the washing machine and begin a new cycle. Empty the color remover into the wash and add detergent as you would normally. When the cycle is done, check to see if the unwanted color has been removed from the white items. If the stains remain, do not dry the items. Run another cycle with another package of color remover to remove the stains completely.

Professional Cleaning

  • Cheap T-shirts and socks are one issue, but if the clothing in question was an expensive, high-quality item then take it to a professional dry cleaner. They may or may not be able to remove the dye, and a dry cleaner most likely will not guarantee results but the small cost of having the item professionally cleaned is worth it if it means saving an expensive article of clothing.


  • Sometimes unwanted color bleeding will not be noticed until the clothes have already been dried and are ready to be folded. Once the clothing has run through the dryer, the stains have been set. The only way to remove them is to attempt to bleach the clothing back to its original white condition.

    Bleach can be harsh and damaging to fabric. The upside to this predicament is you really cannot make things worse. The clothing is ruined already unless you decide that you like those pale pink T-shirts and socks. Put the clothes back in the washing machine, leave out the red article of clothing this time, and add 1 cup of bleach along with the laundry detergent. When the cycle is completed, open up the washer and take a good look at the clothes. If the pink color remains then repeat the process and run another cycle. Eventually the bleach will either remove the color, or damage the fabric leaving holes and thin spots in the clothing.

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