How Do I Wash Colored White Clothes? Update 07/2022

Do you ever find yourself sifting through a mountain of filthy laundry, trying to figure out which items are white and which are dark? White t-shirts with black squirrels printed on them or your favorite white leggings with blue polka dots show up time and time again in your wardrobe. You’ve come to the right site if you’re looking for advice on how to wash white clothing with color on it!

Cold water and a brief wash cycle in your washing machine are the best ways to clean white clothing that has been stained with color. White clothes may be kept brilliant with the help of common household items like vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. Bleach and laundry boosters, both of which are available commercially, can help safeguard whites.

In this article, we’ll go through eight easy ways to wash white items that have been stained with color. How to avoid color bleeding on white garments by organizing and preparing your laundry. Finally, you’ll learn how to care for a white t-shirt with a printed design.

How To Wash White Clothes With Color On Them

Can You Wash Whites With Colors?

Only use light colors like tans and greys when dyeing your garments, and wash them in cold water to get the best results. Having said that, you may be able to safely wash all of your garments in the same machine in some instances. To achieve a truly colorfast garment, modern fabric generally employs complex dye-setting procedures on synthetic cloth.

The type of dye used, the type of fabric, and even the sort of cleaning solutions you use all have an effect on the colorfastness of a garment. As a result of this, new clothing generally requires three or four washes before it is truly colorfast.

Turning a garment inside out and looking for a hidden inside seam allowance is one approach to determine if it is colorfast. Launder this unnoticeable area for five minutes with a drop of washing detergent. After that, dab the detergent with a clean rag or paper towel to see whether any dye has been removed.

Deciphering the laundry care symbols on the tag of your clothing is another good approach to determine whether or not you can combine colors. Do the symbols on laundry care labels have any significance?

When it comes to washing your clothes properly, these helpful pictograms are there to help you out. A bucket of water with a single dot inside suggests that you should only use cold water; a bucket with three dots indicates that you can use water up to 120°F safely.

It also shows you what kind of cycle to utilize in your machine based on the amount of lines drawn beneath the bucket symbol. Using a standard cycle requires one line below the bucket, two lines indicate a permanent press, and three indicates a delicate cycle.

A triangle with a cross across it means never bleaching a clothing, but there are many other symbols that imply extremely important things. Also, if you see an empty circle, your clothes has to be dry cleaned. Make sure to read up any foreign symbols on your care tag before you start washing your clothing.

Some manufacturers don’t use symbols at all and just put out the most important care instructions, such as “do not tumble dry,” on their packaging. Is it only a matter of brand?

As a general rule of thumb, if you don’t want to go to the trouble of reading every label on every piece of clothing you put in the washer, you may prefer relying on the general rule of thumb that colors of the same family should be washed together.

So what about white clothing with colored designs? This leaves open a gray region that is difficult to define. Would it be better to wash your white tee with your white clothing or with the rainbow-themed pile of multicolored garments if it has a pink design on it?

Is it better to wear a black and white striped shirt with white, black, or colorful clothing to work? Is it really that important?

Yes! Sort these garments with your whites and place them in the washing machine. You’ll want to wash your bed linens and bath towels separately in hot water because they’re heavy-duty.

You can keep your white clothes with color on them appearing clean and bright by washing them in cold water, using a short or delicate cycle, and placing them near other light-colored items.

In the following part, you will find eight simple techniques to care for these unusual garments!

How to Wash White Clothes With Color On Them: 8 Methods


While the most obvious way to wash colored white garments is to toss them in the washing machine, there are a few extra steps you can take and simple household goods you can use to protect your clothes even better.

1. Washing Machine

Use your washing machine and follow a few simple rules in order to avoid yellowed clothes when washing whites with color. Color bleeding onto your light-colored clothing would be significantly worse.

The first thing you should do is check the settings on your washer. Controlling the temperature of the water is essential. The temperature can be adjusted by turning a simple knob with three positions: hot, warm, or cold. You may be able to control the temperature on more advanced equipment.

Bedsheets, for example, do nicely in hot water when washed in white. Any badly dirty garments should be removed with the use of heat. As a result, hot water wears down the fabric far more quickly than cold water does.

If you want your white shirt with a pink design to last for a long time, you should wash it in cold water, not hot!

Next, can you use color detergent to clean white clothing? Bleach and/or brightening ingredients are available in several laundry detergents for light-colored garments. This should not be used on brightly colored garments as it may cause bleached spots or fade the color.

When it comes to whites, though, you should have no problems using a typical laundry detergent meant for colored clothes. A generic detergent can also be used safely.

Finally, you should be able to select the type of cycle that your machine will employ while it runs. The permanent press, delicate, extra soaks, and so on will all be included here.

Using a short or delicate cycle for washing whites with color on them is what you’re looking for.. In order to retain the vibrant colors and patterns of your printed or patterned garments, this is the best way to do it!

It’s safe to say that using cold water, the appropriate detergent, and a short or delicate cycle in your washing machine will remove color from white clothing.

2. By Hand


One of the greatest methods to keep white clothing that have color on them clean is to wash them by hand. Hand washing allows you to find and treat any stains or fading on your white items. In addition, it is a gentler option to machine washing, extending the life of the cloth.

When it comes to handwashing, of course, you’ll have to spend extra time doing it!

To wash by hand, follow these steps:

  1. Use a stain remover to get rid of any blemishes before painting. In order to readily locate the stain during washing, insert a safety pin into the clothing near the area that has been stained.
  2. Two-thirds of the way full of chilly water in a basin or clogged sink.
  3. Laundry detergent might range from a teaspoon to two tablespoons, depending on the amount of water you used. Pour the detergent into the water, and watch for good bubbles to form on the surface.
  4. Pour soapy water over your clothes. To avoid color bleeding, only wear white clothing or white clothing with color on it. Only a few clothes at a time are recommended, so that you have enough area to swirl them around in the bath.
  5. Give each piece of clothing a good wash. Avoid wringing or scrunching the garments, since this could alter the contour of each piece.
  6. Soak the garments for 15 minutes at a time.
  7. Empty the bowl and refill it with cool water to finish rinsing the clothing. Rinse the clothing well to eliminate any lingering soap scum that may be present.
  8. Press some of the water out of hand-washed garments using your hands. Each clothing should then be rolled up in a clean towel and hung to dry.

3. With Bleach

Using bleach on white clothing, especially if the garments are decorated with brightly colored motifs, is generally discouraged. Chlorinated bleaches are generally discouraged by laundry professionals today.

Oxygen bleach, on the other hand, typically contains sodium percarbonate. Hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate are formed when this bleach is combined with water. Stains can be easily removed off garments with the use of these substances.

Oxygen bleach can also be used on both light and dark colored fabrics! Following the directions on the bleach packaging, you can add oxygen bleach to your regular wash. Bleach soaks can be used to brighten or cure stains further.

  1. Fill two-thirds of a big basin with chilly water.
  2. Bleach should only be used in little amounts, no more than a few tablespoons.
  3. This solution should be used to wash your clothes. Overnight or 8 hours is enough time for them to soak.
  4. Last but not least, either run a load of laundry through the washing machine or rinse the bleach out by hand.

4. Without Bleach

When it comes to cleaning your clothes, hydrogen peroxide is an alternative to bleach that is less harsh on fabrics. You can use hydrogen peroxide to whiten and disinfect your clothing at the same time!

Using hydrogen peroxide to remove color from white clothing:

  • At least 15 minutes before washing, pour hydrogen peroxide straight onto the stain and let it sit for at least 15 minutes.
  • You can use one cup of hydrogen peroxide in your washing machine together with your regular detergent to brighten up faded or yellowed garments. It’s imperative that you wash your clothes with cold water!
  • You should use only half a cup of hydrogen peroxide in a standard load of laundry.

5. Vinegar

If your clothes smell musty, you can use vinegar to get rid of the stench and brighten certain white garments. Because vinegar contains acetic acid, it won’t harm printed graphics while brightening cotton clothing. Certain fabrics don’t seem to benefit from this treatment.

You can use vinegar to get rid of those icky yellow underarm stains on white t-shirts.

A half cup of vinegar can be added to your washing machine’s rinse cycle in order to remove odors. If you have a lot of stinky garments in your wash, you may simply add a cup of baking soda to the water.

6. Baking Soda with Borax

Baking soda and borax are two other home products that can brighten white clothing with color. Because of their high alkaline content, baking soda and borax are excellent at removing stains and yellowing from clothing.

Powdered borax can be found in the cleaning section of most supermarkets and big-box retailers like Walmart.

To clean your white clothing with baking soda and borax:

  1. Baking soda and borax should be mixed with a half-cup of warm water in the first step. When the mixture is no longer gritty, it is ready.
  2. Dab the yellowed or soiled area of your white clothing with a cotton ball or clean sponge dipped in this solution.
  3. Re-apply the cleaning solution to the sponge many times until the stain or discoloration is gone.
  4. Launder the item as usual after rinsing it off.

7. Sunlight

Sunlight may actually whiten your clothing and keep them looking fresh and new! Lemon juice can be squirted on stains to help remove them faster.

  1. As a first step, you should either wash or spray your clothes thoroughly with cool water so that they are wet to the touch.
  2. Clean a blanket or tablecloth and take your wet garments out into the fresh air.
  3. Direct sunshine is ideal for spreading out the blanket.
  4. Place the damp clothing on top of the banket, flattening them out as you go. This could leave some unbleached spots in the clothing if there are any creases.
  5. Lemon juice can be used to remove yellowed or discolored spots from clothing.
  6. The garments should be exposed to two hours of sunlight.

8. Commercial Products

It is possible to mix multiple colors in the washing machine if you use commercial goods like color grabbers or laundry boosters.

To gather errant dye particles in the washing machine, Shout and other manufacturers have developed colors grabbers. It’s for this reason that dye doesn’t transfer to other garments.

To give your usual laundry detergent a little extra oomph, try Tide’s renowned laundry boosters. Since borax is commonly found in boosters, making your own is not difficult.

How to Wash White Clothes With Designs

How to Wash White Clothes With Designs

Cold water and a gentle cycle should be used to wash white clothing with designs. In order to brighten the clothes, you can use oxygen bleach, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide. However, you should avoid using chlorine bleach because it can harm the vibrant colors on the garments.

The care label should always be checked before washing white clothing with graphics. Dry cleaning may be necessary for some items, such as those made of wool or silk.

Washing whites in the same machine as colored or black items is a no-no. As a general rule, only wash a little amount of white clothing with designs in the washing machine at a time.

For delicate items like dresses and lingerie, you may want to try handwashing. Your clothes will be treated with the most loving care imaginable when you wash them by hand.

Can You Wash White Clothes with Colors in Cold Water?

Whites can be washed in cold water with colored detergents. Using cold water instead of hot will help keep your clothing in better condition for longer. Clothing will not shrink or stretch as much in cold water, and the fibers within the fabric are not subjected to as much stress.

There is only one good reason to use hot water on white clothing: to clean anything that is particularly prone to getting filthy. These heavy-duty products can be disinfected with hot water.

A short cold cycle is recommended for all other sorts of laundry, including black and colored garments, as well as delicate whites.

How to Wash a White Shirt With Black Sleeves

To keep the white section of the shirt looking brilliant, you can safely wash it with vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or oxygen bleach.

Because of the risk of black dye transferring to the white fabric during washing, it’s difficult to wash white and black clothes without the white becoming dingy grey. In many cases, this can be avoided by first washing the clothing in cold water.

It’s also possible to add half a cup of vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to the wash to maintain the fabric’s crispness and brightness, according to the recommendations on the packaging.

Can You Use Bleach on White Shirts With Designs?

Oxygen bleach can be used on white shirts with designs, however chlorine bleach should not be used.

Color may be removed from nearly everything with chlorine bleach, which employs oxygen molecules to do so. After removing the dye particles, it often leaves a yellowish tinge on the fabric. The fibers of many types of fabric are also severely damaged as it works.

Chlorine bleach can ruin printed graphics on white shirts, so avoid using it on those garments if possible. When you use bleach, it will eat away at the designs and the white portions of your clothing, no matter how delicate they are.

Oxygen bleach, on the other hand, can be used on any color-fast item. It can be used on white or colored clothing to clean and brighten it. A small amount of bleach should always be tested in a hidden area before applying it to an entire piece of clothing.

How to Wash White Clothes with Stains

How to Wash White Clothes with Stains

If you have stains on your white clothing, the best way to get them out is to pretreat the stain. It’s also possible to use a stain treatment, however this may not be as successful because you can’t target the problem regions specifically.

Commercial chemicals like oxygen bleach, when used in the wash or as a pre-wash soak, can effectively remove stains from colorfast clothing. The vinegar and baking soda and borax solutions outlined earlier in this article may be a gentler stain removal option.

Most professional stain removers can also be applied directly to the stain and then washed as normal after at least fifteen minutes of sitting.

How to Bleach Colored Clothes White

You’ll need a strong solution of chlorine bleach to whiten colored clothing. You can virtually “un-color” the dye particles in your clothing by using a powerful bleach like this one in most circumstances.

Even so, the finest results can be achieved with chlorine bleach and cotton garments. It may not be able to remove all of the color from synthetic clothing fully.

Instructions for this procedure can be found on the label of your bleach bottle. You can safely bleach your clothing by following these general recommendations. Use caution when working with chlorine bleach and make sure the space is sufficiently aired.

  1. 1 1/2 cups chlorine bleach in a gallon of cool water in a plastic container.
  2. Using a clean measuring cup, add one cup of hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of cool water in a second plastic bucket.
  3. Place your clothes in the bleach bucket and gently lower them in. Gloved hands or a long-handled spoon can be used to stir it.
  4. Bleach the clothes for five minutes before removing them from the solution.
  5. The wet clothing should be transferred from the bleach bucket to the peroxide bucket with great care and caution. There’s a good chance you’ll see fizzing!
  6. Let it sit in the peroxide for two minutes.
  7. The bleach and hydrogen peroxide should be rinsed away with cool water.
  8. Allow the clothing to air dry before storing. Once it’s dry, check to see if you’ve achieved the desired effect. If you need to repeat the process, you can!

Laundry Tips on How to Keep White Clothes White

Keep these general white clothes laundry principles in mind, even if you utilize many of the strategies in this article to safely wash white items with color on them. If you follow a few simple rules, you can avoid having to use yellowing treatment on your whites.

  • Turn your clothing inside out before washing them. When it comes to protecting your clothing, this is especially useful for t-shirts and hoodies with printed designs.
  • Add half a cup of vinegar to the final rinse of your laundry. This brightens, softens, and generally spruces up white garments. Plus, vinegar won’t ruin your outfit’s vibrant embellishments.
  • It’s essential to check your clothes for stains prior to washing them. Because you can use the procedure of your choice to pre-treat the stain, you can avoid setting it into the cloth.
  • The best way to wash your clothes is to use cold water and a moderate or short wash cycle. Except for highly stained white garments, this rule applies. If this is the case, using hot water as a disinfectant will be more effective.
  • Finally, keep in mind that overfilling your washing machine can cause it to malfunction. Less friction is created when fewer items are washed at once, resulting in cleaner clothes that last longer.


Using a soft cycle in cold water and a gentle detergent is the best approach to wash white clothing that has color on it. You can also add vinegar, oxygen bleach, or hydrogen peroxide to the wash to brighten your clothes. Apply a mixture of baking soda, borax and water or soak in lemon juice and expose it to the sun to remove yellowing or stains from white clothing.

Before selecting whether or not to dry clean or treat your clothing, always check the care label that came with it. Before attempting any of the methods in this article, you should test the garment’s colorfastness.

Are there any tricks to getting color out of white clothes? What laundry detergents and other household items do you prefer to use? The best way to let us know is to leave a comment below.

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