How to Remove Color Stains That Occurred in a Mixed Washing Machine Cycle

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Laundry mishaps happen to everyone.

When it comes to laundry mixing, most of us have shared a common experience. Somehow, your son's or daughter's favorite red or blue shirt got tossed in with a load of white laundry. Or one of your colored socks accidentally got tossed in with a load of whites. As you take the clothes out of the washer, you notice color stains all over the clothes. Don't wait. Save your clothes from this blotchy mess.


Things You'll Need

  • Bleach, regular or color-safe

  • Vinegar

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Step 1

Go through the load of wet laundry and separate any items that have stains on them or those that are stained gray or pink.

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Step 2

Set the washing machine on a hot temperature setting and let it fill up. Add a cup of bleach. This amount works well for a small- to medium-size load but adjust it accordingly if you have a lot of stained items. If the items were originally completely white, it's fine to use regular bleach. If the items were originally multicolored, it's best to use an a color-safe bleach because regular bleach will cause chaos in colored clothing. If you are uncomfortable using bleach, use a cup of white distilled vinegar mixed in with your regular laundry detergent.


Step 3

Toss the stained items back in the washing machine. Run these on a full washing cycle so the bleach washes out of the fabric.

Step 4

Go through the load of stained items and check for color stains. If stains persist, repeat steps 2 and 3 until they are gone.


Step 5

Dry clothing as you normally would. However, make sure that any subtle stains have been washed out and that you are comfortable the way all the items look now before tossing them in the dryer. Never put any clothing affected by red or blue dye in the dryer because the hot dryer will set the dye.


Always read the manufacturer's instructions on cleaning products before you mix them together.

Be patient as you go through the stain removal process. Sometimes three to five washings will be necessary before stains are completely removed.



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