Even though you try to wash your clothes separately by color, it can still happen that one or the other garment gets discolored during machine washing. Whether it’s because the new jeans bled more than expected or a colorful textile accidentally ended up among your white laundry. It’s frustrating, but it’s definitely not a reason to toss the affected garment in the trash right away. The great thing is that many garments can be decolorized. We’ll show you the options available to restore your clothes to their original color and the household remedies that can fix discolored clothes after washing.

What causes discoloration in clothes?

how to restore faded black clothes after washing

Unfortunately, it can happen from time to time that certain garments are discolored after machine washing, which is quite unsightly.

One needs to be particularly cautious with new textiles. New clothing items are often heavily dyed and tend to lose excess color during the first few washes. This color then gets into the wash water and can deposit on other textiles.

For this reason, new textiles, especially new jeans and red or colored textiles, should always be washed separately for the first few times. Alternatively, you can soak them in a bucket of water overnight. You will be surprised to see how much the water is discolored the next morning!

White or light-colored textiles are particularly susceptible to discoloration and stains. White garments can appear yellowed or develop a grayish hue in a short period of time. To prevent graying, white laundry items should always be washed separately and never with dark or colored laundry.

Furthermore, using the right detergent is crucial for white laundry. A heavy-duty detergent is recommended, as it usually contains bleach and other optical brighteners. Color detergents, on the other hand, are not suitable.

Fix discolored clothes with Color Removers and Bleach

There are now numerous color removers and bleaching agents available in drugstores and supermarkets to help remove discolorations from textiles. Most chemical products come in powder form and are directly added to the washing machine with the discolored garments.

Since these color removers are very aggressive and can damage the fabric, they should always be used exactly as instructed on the package.

Caution: Bleach is only suitable for white textiles. With colored garments, there’s a risk that not only the discolorations, but also the original color of the fabric will be affected.

Tip: If a garment is discolored, it’s best to act as quickly as possible. Damaged textiles are easiest to treat while still damp. If the fabric dries, the color penetrates even deeper into the fibers and becomes more difficult to remove.

how to fix discolored white clothes

How to fix discolored clothes: The Most Effective Home Remedies

Discolorations can be removed not only with chemical color removers from the drugstore. Those who want to avoid chemical solutions can try a few home remedies to fix discoloration on clothes. This is eco-friendly, and most of the time, you already have some of these remedies at home.

Home remedies can be applied to both white and colored laundry. They work most effectively on textiles made of cotton or linen. Synthetic fibers such as polyester or viscose are relatively difficult to restore, since they are usually dyed before processing.

Tip: To avoid damage, always test the home remedies on a small, hidden area first.

how to restore faded black clothes with home remedies

Restore faded fabric with Baking Soda or Baking Powder

Baking soda is a popular home remedy and is often used for various household problems, including for removing hair dye. It can also help with discolored clothing.

Here’s how it works:

  • Place the discolored fabric in a large bucket or container filled with hot water (about five liters/ 1.32 gallons).
  • Add baking soda. Use about five tablespoons of baking soda for 5 liters/ 1.32 gallons of water. Alternatively, you can use two packets of baking powder.
  • Soak the garment in the solution overnight, ensuring it is completely submerged.
  • Then wash the clothing item as usual in the washing machine. If the discolorations are severe, you can add some baking soda to the wash as well.

Fix discolored clothes with Dishwasher Tablets or Denture Cleanser

Dishwasher tablets or denture cleansers are also effective against discoloration on clothes. Fill a large bowl or container with hot water and add four to five dishwasher tablets (or denture cleaner tablets). Soak the discolored garment in this solution for at least ten hours.

Afterward, wash the damp laundry as usual in the washing machine. Depending on the degree of discoloration, you can add one to two tablets of the denture cleanser or dishwasher tablets to the detergent.

Get rid of discolored clothes with Vinegar or Citric Acid

Another home remedy that can help remove discolorations from laundry is citric acid. Alternatively, vinegar can be used.

  • Fill a large bucket with hot water (about 5 liters/ 1.32 gallons).
  • Add the juice of two lemons (or a tablespoon of vinegar).
  • Soak the discolored fabric in the water-lemon (or water-vinegar) mixture overnight.
  • Thoroughly rinse the textiles under clear water.
  • Then wash the clothing item as usual in the washing machine.

how to brighten faded clothes after washing

How to get faded white or colored laundry back to original color

Different textiles can be more or less challenging to remove discoloration from. Discolorations from white clothes can be best eliminated because most common bleach-based stain removers from drugstores have a bleaching effect, drawing out the unwanted color from the fabrics.

When dealing with discolored colored laundry, it’s best to avoid using bleach. Bleach would not only remove the discolorations but also strip away all other color pigments, resulting in vibrant colors turning into pale pastel tones.

To remove discolorations from colored clothing, it’s advisable to use a specific color-safe stain remover for colored laundry. Color-safe stain removers do not affect the original color of the fabrics, but simply dissolve the color particles adhering to the surface.

Sort textiles by color before washing to prevent discoloration

Preventing Discoloration of Clothing: Things to Consider

Discolorations can be frustrating and, in some cases, may not be entirely removable. To prevent laundry from discoloring in the washing machine, consider the following tips:

  • Sort textiles by color before washing. As a general rule, wash similar shades together. White, colored, and dark garments should always be cleaned separately in the washing machine to avoid discoloration and grayness.

Note: New garments may initially bleed and lose color. Pay extra attention to washing them only with textiles of the same color in the washing machine.

  • Make sure no items like differently colored socks sneak into the laundry.
  • Using the right detergent is essential to avoid discoloration. Colored and dark textiles should also be washed at low temperatures.
  • Do not tumble dry discolored laundry, as it can further set the discolorations into the fibers.
  • Additionally, you can use specially designed color-catching sheets in the washing machine drum. These sheets capture any running colors before they can transfer to the fibers of other textiles.
About the Author Jessy Adams

Jessy Adams is deeply committed to assisting people in living a more fashionable and healthier lifestyle, and she sincerely feels that this is the key to living a happy life. She has been blogging since 2008. Jessy is the person to go to for advice on fashion, hair, and good eating. She consistently manages to distill difficult themes into tangible advice that her readers can put into action. Jessy's information is always provided in an easy-to-digest format, and she always backs up her advise with credible references.

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