How to Save a White Shirt from Color Transfer {Fail}


I bought a new red shirt from Old Navy and really loved it, until I took it off to see that it had turned my white undershirt pink. Pink like you accidentally threw a red item in with your whites in the wash (which I’ve done on more than one occasion) pink. Boo. After I let it sit in the hamper on the floor for a week, I figured it would be a good experiment for the blog and I would be able to show you my wonderful results. Nope, it’s still pink and I tried three different methods. Let me show you what I tried to remove the color transfer.

Remove color transfer

Before, the white card is to give you a whiteness reference. Although I am pleased that you can see how bad this color transfer is.

The darker spots in the middle of the shirt will be your reference point throughout this fail.

how to remove color transfer

The hydrogen peroxide is on the left, oxi clean middle and bleach on the right.

So, I whipped up three whitening concoctions, hydrogen peroxide, oxi clean and bleach. I figured the bleach would work well followed by the oxi clean then the hydrogen peroxide. I mixed one teaspoon with 1/2 cup of water for this experiment.

The oxi clean lightened the color transfer but did not remove of the red completely. The bleach and the hydrogen peroxide also lightened the area where it was applied.  However, after running the shirt through a normal was without any additional whitening solutions, there was no clear winner and the shirt was still pink.

Remove color transfer

Less reddish pink but no clear winner.

So what am I going to do now? I think that soaking this shirt in a stronger bleach solution will remove the color transfer and bring the shirt back to white again. I like to try to solve my stain and cleaning problems in a less toxic and harmful way but I will use bleach when needed. I’ll update this post once I bleach the shirt, as I like to blog in real time. :)

Have you washed red items with your whites?


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2 thoughts on “How to Save a White Shirt from Color Transfer {Fail}

  1. If you end up washing with more bleach, be sure to neutralize the bleach. After you have finished the bleaching process, rinse the shirt with water and then rinse with hydrogen perioxide added to the water. (I follow with another plain water rinse.)

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