White Clothes Turning Pink In The Washer? (here’s why & what to do)

If you’ve ever opened your washing machine to find your once-pristine white clothes have mysteriously turned pink, keep reading. 

It’s a common laundry mishap that can leave you scratching your head. This situation is the reason why it is important to sort them by colour to prevent colour bleeding that’ll turn your white clothes pink in the washer. Colour bleeding happens when the dye on a coloured garment gets transferred to another fabric, which is usually more visible on whites.

In this article, we’ll talk about colour bleeding and other reasons why your clothes changed colours, how to prevent them, and of course, ways to make your clothes white again. 

Possible Reasons Why Your White Clothes Turned Pink In The Washing Machine

If you ever experienced the surprise of having your white clothes turn pink after washing them, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, this happens to many households, and believe us when we say that this happened to us, too. 

There are many reasons why your clothes may have turned pink after putting them in the washer. Check them out: 

Washing Your White Clothes With Coloured Garments

The most likely culprit behind your white clothes turning pink is that they were mixed in with other coloured garments during the wash cycle. 

Did you know that among all the colours, red and orange clothes usually transfer colour? It’s because they’re manufactured using direct dye that may not stick well to fabrics. This is exactly the reason why you should watch out for your red clothes and what colours you’re mixing them with. 

To avoid this, always sort your laundry into separate loads by light and dark colours. Washing your whites with similarly coloured items (like pastels and beiges)  significantly reduces the risk of unwanted colour transfer.

SEE ALSO: What Happens If You Wash White Clothes And Dark Clothes Together?

Not Checking Your Laundry Basket For Sneaky Items Or Your Clothes’ Pockets

As humans busy with our day-to-day living, it’s normal for us to forget that we have that lipstick in our pockets. Or one of the kids probably splattered paint on their clothes and just put them directly in the laundry basket. 

A table with paint and brushes

Unfortunately, not checking what’s in your pockets may be the reason for your whites turning into pinks. 

While it may seem time-consuming, taking a moment to check each garment and empty pockets before loading the washer can save you from the headache of dealing with stubborn stains later on.

Using Sunscreen And Bleach Or Certain Commercial Laundry Products Together

Did you know that some sunscreens can react with bleach and turn your whites pink? It’s true!

Sunscreen, when in contact with your skin and sweat, can transfer onto your clothing. If your sunscreen contains avobenzone[1], a chemical that reacts with bleach, it’s a recipe for colour disaster.

To avoid this, check your sunscreen’s ingredients and opt for a different one if necessary. Also, refrain from using bleach on garments that have come into contact with sunscreen.

Besides sunscreen, be mindful of other laundry products like fabric softeners and scent beads. Some of these products can leave stains on your clothing. If you notice colour transfer, consider discontinuing their use or restricting them to dark-coloured garments.

Leaving Items In Your Washer That Could Stain Your Clothing

Before you toss your laundry into the washing machine, give the drum a quick once-over. Left-behind items like a rogue red sock or underwear can wreak havoc on your white clothes.

red and blue socks

Taking a moment to ensure your washer’s drum is empty of any stray items can prevent unwanted colour transfer.

Leaving Some Dye Inside Your Washer 

Newly-bought clothes, especially those displayed in stores, may contain excess dye and chemicals. During the first few washes, some of this dye can get into the other garments in your washer.

To prevent this, use a clean damp cloth to wipe down your washer’s drum after washing new clothes. Also, regularly cleaning your washer to remove any debris or residue can help maintain the integrity of your white clothing.

Ways To Remove Pink Stains From Your White Clothing

Discovering your white clothes have turned pink is frustrating, but don’t worry. You can take steps to restore them to their original state.

WARNING: Before anything else, make sure to not put your clothes in the tumble dryer once you notice the colour bleeding. Doing so will “set” the colour instead, making the pink dye more difficult and even impossible to remove.

Once you notice that your whites have turned pink, immediately soak the stained clothing in cold water. Then, do any of the following tricks to help make your whites crisp again: 

Using Bleach

Bleach can be a powerful tool in your battle against pink stains, but it’s essential to practise caution, especially if your sunscreen contains avobenzone.

To use bleach, follow these steps:

  1. Dilute 1/4 cup of bleach in a gallon of water.
  2. Soak the stained clothing in the bleach solution for 5 minutes, ensuring the garment is fully submerged.
  3. Rinse the clothing thoroughly to remove bleach residue.
  4. Check the care labels on your clothing to ensure they can withstand bleach exposure.
  5. Once the stain is gone, wash the clothes with cold water and detergent.

Using White Vinegar

Did you know that white vinegar can also remove stains from your clothing? 

White vinegar is a gentler alternative for stain removal compared to bleach. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Create a solution with equal parts water and white vinegar.
  2. Soak the stained clothing in the solution for an extended period, even several hours, to allow the vinegar to work on the stain.
  3. Check periodically to see if the stain is fading.
  4. Once the stain is gone, wash the garment with detergent.

TIP: To make your whites appear even brighter once the dye is removed, hanging your clothes in direct sunlight, instead of putting them in the tumble dryer will give you a natural bleaching effect. 

SEE ALSO: What Are The Benefits Of Drying Clothes In The Sun?

Using Oxiclean Or Other Commercial Stain Removers

Commercial stain removers like OxiClean can be effective at tackling pink stains on white clothing. Follow these steps:

  1. Fill a basin with cold water, enough to submerge the stained clothing.
  2. Add the recommended amount of OxiClean according to the product’s instructions.
  3. Allow the clothing to soak for at least 6 hours, periodically checking the stain’s progress.
  4. After the stain is removed, wash the garment with detergent and tumble dry.
  5. If stubborn stains persist, repeat the process until the dye is entirely gone.

Keep Your Clothes Looking Their Best!

Learning the reasons why your white clothes turn pink in the washer and following these practical tips for stain removal can help you rescue your wardrobe from unexpected colour mishaps. After all, we’d all like to keep our white clothes looking crisp and pristine! 

Remember to be diligent in sorting your laundry, checking pockets, and avoiding chemical reactions to keep your whites looking brighter than ever!

Do you have tips to share? Feel free to leave them below!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can baking soda remove pink from white clothes?

Baking soda can help remove pink stains from white clothes when used as part of a stain removal method. You can do so by diluting a cup of baking soda in water and soaking the stained clothing in it for 30 minutes to an hour.

Can you fix white clothes that turned pink?

Yes, you can fix white clothes that turned pink by using various stain removal methods like using bleach, vinegar, or commercial stain removers.

Can you fix white clothes turned pink without bleach?

Yes, you can fix white clothes turned pink without bleach by using a mild alternative like white vinegar or commercial stain removers.

Is it okay to soak clothes in vinegar overnight?

Yes, it is okay to soak clothes in vinegar overnight. However, make sure to dilute the vinegar with water to avoid any potential damage to the fabric. Also, be sure to only use white vinegar, as other types can actually stain clothes.

Where do I put vinegar in the washing machine?

You can add white vinegar to the washing machine by pouring it into the detergent dispenser or during the rinse cycle. Be sure not to mix vinegar with bleach or use it on bleach-sensitive fabrics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *