Cleaning out the dirt and oil stains from the fabric can be quite a task, and most of us go the easy way out i.e. bleach. Yes, you heard it right, using bleach or chlorine is the easiest way to wash away the stains. However, the strong and corrosive chemical does more harm than good. The clothes start losing colour the moment they come in contact with bleach. Bleach stains have destroyed more clothes than mud marks and dirt. It’s high time we do something about it. Discussed below are some of the best home remedies for getting rid of bleach stains from clothes
Causes for Bleach Stains
Bleach is an instant whitening agent known for cleaning out the most stubborn spots effortlessly. However, the chemical can pose an even bigger problem for homemakers. You must have noticed the white or yellow stains on the clothes after laundry. It’s just bleach doing its job. Listed below are some common causes behind bleaching:
- Using detergents and washing powders that have bleach in them
- Face washes, soaps, acne creams also have whitening agents
- Accidently spilling bleach on the fabric
- Most deodorants also have bleaching agents that claim to whiten underarms but ultimately destroy your clothes.
- Continuous exposure with water having high chlorine content
- Common products like toothpastes, cleaning products have bleach that causes discolouration in clothes
How to Identify Bleach Stains?
Bleach stains are permanent unlike other agents like mud or paint. Most stains result in new colour being deposited over the fabric, bleach works at washing away the natural fabric dye of the cloth and hence causes permanent damage. Here are some symptoms or signs that would help you identify bleach stains before it’s too late.
- Bleach causes discolouration in clothes
- Bleach gives out a very strong odour and is hence immediately identifiable
- It leaves whitish or yellowish stains on clothes
- If the bleach stays on the fabric for a long time it can even drill holes in the cloth
- Very corrosive and can damage the quality of the fabric threads.
How to Get Bleach out Clothes?
The best way to avoid bleach stains is to stop using it in the first place! Of course, there might be times when you accidently spill bleach on the fabric. Also, the fact that most detergents and cleaning chemicals have bleach doesn’t really make matters easier. Bleach if allowed to sit on the fabric for too long can even eat a hole through it. First and foremost you need to neutralise the effect of the bleach before you apply any alternative.
- Wash the area with cold water immediately to wash away the excessive bleach
- Apply a paste of baking soda on the stains and leave it to dry
- Rinse thoroughly.
- Leave it out in the sun to dry
Can Bleach Stains be Removed?
Here’s How You Do It
Bleach stains can be pretty stubborn and difficult to remove. Innumerable clothes and fabrics were cast away just because they lost their vibrant colour or the yellowish stains couldn’t be washed away. Don’t worry though, bleach stain removal though tough is not an impossible task. There are some home remedies for getting rid of bleach stains that offer instant and effective results. The top ten remedies are mentioned below:
1. Lemon juice
Lemon juice acts as a natural cleansing agent that leaves little or no side effects on the fabric. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the stain and rub it thoroughly, the mixture works wonders in removing yellow bleach stains off white clothes. Lemon is a natural alternative to bleach and starts showing results immediately application. All you have to do is apply lemon juice around the stain and leave it out in the sun. Once the fabric has dried completely wash it thoroughly with cold water. Lemon juice is mildly acidic and hence great for removing coffee stains and sauce spots. However, do not use it on wool as it may damage the material.
Salt is an ingredient that can be found in every kitchen. This handy ingredient has a lot of other uses than just adding flavour to your food. It is considered to be among the easiest and most effective of home remedies for getting rid of bleach stains, salt can be found anywhere! Salt grains soak up the excessive bleach and other corrosive chemicals hence preventing the stain from shoes, curtains and carpets. Salt when applied on wet stains reduce the effects of discolouration and lighten the stains considerably. Salt is even effective on washing away sweat spots, wine stains and blood marks. Applying a paste of salt and water and leaving it out to dry is one of the best ways to wash off bleach stains out of clothes.
3. Sodium Hydrosulphite
Sometimes when a conventional home remedy like lemon juice or baking soda fails to show the desired results, we have to opt for innovative methods of dealing with bleach stains. Sodium Hydrosulphite is said to be the best natural alternative to chlorine bleach and is a powerful home remedy for getting rid of stains and discolouration. It is an effective colour stripping agent that takes effect almost immediately after application. All you have to do is soak the clothes in sodium hydrosulphite solution for draining out the colour before re-dying it. The chemical is environment friendly and absolutely safe to use unlike bleach that may have painful side-effects. You can get the mixture from any stationery store; Rit Colour Remover is a good example of sodium hydrosulphite.
Glycerine is another commonly found item in any household that is used as a cosmetic. It is also easily available at the chemist and serves a number of medicinal purposes. However, what most people do not known is that, glycerine is also a solid stain remover that works wonders on the fabric! The thick transparent mixture is a powerful bleaching alternative and can remove the toughest of coffee stains, mud spots and ketchup marks in a jiffy. Simply pour some glycerine on the spot and rub it for a while before rinsing it thoroughly with cold water and you are good to go. Glycerine also lightens bleach spots and can stop discolouration of clothes if applied immediately.
5. Acetone aka Nail Polish Remover
Nail polish remover can also serve as a powerful bleach removing agent as it contains certain chemicals that wash away the stains without damaging the colour and quality of the fabric. However, not every nail polish remover can be used for cleaning clothes. A standard nail polish remover will do more harm than good, it would only add on to the stain and even cause discolouration if left unattended for a long time. No, only those with acetone are effective at washing away the stains off curtains and carpets. All you have to do is dab a bit of the mixture on and around the spot and rub it gently with a cotton ball. Acetone is a great solution for getting rid of nail polish marks off clothes as well.
Keeping a bottle of borax in the house is a smart choice, for other than cleaning floors, washing clothes and killing leviathans (Supernatural anyone?), the chemical is also a bleaching alternative. The chemical is commonly known as boric acid and is a milder version of bleach, i.e. it causes lesser damage to the clothes and surroundings than bleach. Although the product has little use in your laundry room as it does not work towards bleaching clothes or removing stains. However, the product is good at reducing the yellow stains left by bleach and hence is a handy item to keep around in the house. Borax is usually found in cleaning agents such as dishwashers and detergents. You can find a bottle of borax at any supermarket or convenience store.
7. White Vinegar
White vinegar has been a popular kitchen ingredient in almost every house known for adding extra flavour and taste to the otherwise bland food. However, the mixture serves loads of other purposes as well that make it a hit among homemakers. Easily available at any grocery store or supermarket, white vinegar is a strong stain removing agent that works vigorously towards removing all kinds of stains off fabrics. The mixture is acidic in nature and must be used in small quantities; just a dab of white vinegar in and around the stained patch is enough. You can even add some powdered white vinegar in the washing machine along with the detergent for effective cleaning action. Soaking the fabric in white vinegar and leaving it out to dry under the sun is another popular technique you can apply.
Rubbing some alcohol over and around the stain can work wonders on the bleach spot. Use cotton or a thin cloth for the applying the mixture. Alcohol dilutes the excessive bleach on the cloth and redistributes the dye to prevent discolouration. A dab of vodka acts as a great bleach stain remover from carpets, curtains and clothes. However, alcohol might not work if there’s a big stain. Mineral spirits are good for removing intense stains and grease spots (don’t use it on delicate fabrics though) Leaving the fabric out in the sun to dry also helps restore some of its original colour. Sunlight can be a good bleaching agent, lightening the colour around the stain.
9. Club Soda
Club soda has been a common bleach stain remover in most restaurants, households and commercial undertakings. The mixture can remove the most stubborn of stains in just a single wash! Mildly acidic in nature, the soda works at lightening the stain by first letting it rise up. You can easily wash away the spot without compromising the quality of the fabric. You can even use a paste of baking powder and water to prevent the stain from spreading further on the cloth. Oxidising bleaches such as hydrogen peroxide is also a great alternative to chlorine bleaches as it causes minimum damage and cleans better. The mixture works well on bleach stains as well, reducing the discolouration and lightening the stains effectively.
10. Fabric Dyes and Markers
Fabric markers and sharpies are available in any stationery store. The markers perfectly disguise the yellowish stains on coloured clothes, provided you find the exact shade of the colour and apply it evenly. Also be careful of not applying a lot of ink in one place as it might cause blots and more stains. Rub some alcohol to prevent blots for some immediate damage control. Fabric markers are safe to wash and is not washed away with water. It is best that you avoid using any bleach on the cloth later on. Fabric markers are best for removing bleach spots out of black clothes. Rubbing some dye over the spot is a much cheaper alternative to having the entire item re-dyed.
Some Precautions You Have to Adopt
Bleach is a very toxic and corrosive chemical that can cause intense allergic reactions, rashes and burns when in contact with skin. Now that you know everything about threats caused by bleach stains and the home remedies that can take care of the situations let us move on to the precautions you should adopt.
- Sometimes if there’s a big stain, the best solution is to bleach the entire thing before you re-dye it. Be careful when dealing with huge quantities of bleach. Apply cold water immediately in case you feel any burn
- Before trying any method rinse the cloth thoroughly with cold water to remove the extra bleach
- Wear gloves and protect your eyes from the toxic chemicals
- Also, keep kids and pets away from the solution
The Bottom Line
The best way to remove bleach stains by acting on it immediately. Instant action is possibly the smartest solution to get rid of bleach stains. So, the next time you see yellowish stains on white clothes or discolouration of the fabric use one of these methods mentioned above instead of panicking over it.