How to Remove Yellow Stains Caused by Bleach

Bleach stains on a red shirt.
What You'll Need
White, absorbent cloths/towels
Sodium thiosulfate
Rubber/latex gloves
Distilled white vinegar
Washing liquid
Permanent markers
Sodium hydrosulfite

Yellow stains caused by bleach are notoriously difficult to remove, but there are some simple ways to restore clothes and carpets in no time! While yellow stains on carpeting can be relatively easy to clean, stains on certain clothing fabrics may be a little more challenging.

Step 1 - Prepare the Stained Area

For fabrics, blot the bleach-stained area with a cloth dipped in sodium thiosulfate. This is surprisingly easy to find and is sold as a chemical fixing agent for developing photographs. Depending on how long the bleach has had to sink in, you may need to rub stained areas thoroughly for up to five minutes. Rinse with cold water and repeat if necessary. It is advised that you wear rubber or latex gloves for this task. For carpets, begin by rinsing the yellow-stained area with cold water and blotting at it repeatedly.

Step 2 - Remove the Stains

For yellow stains on fabric that have already settled, saturate a clean white cloth with distilled white vinegar and blot the stain until it has soaked through. Next, simply rinse with cold water and repeat if necessary. Remember not to use a colored cloth as this may intensify the stain and that extensive application of vinegar to fabric may degrade and weaken the fibers.

For carpets, mix ¼ tablespoon of washing liquid and 250ml of warm water together. Blot this into the stain repeatedly, working from the edge of the stain to the center. Repeat until the stain has been lifted before adding another application of the mixed solution to the remainder of the stain for five to ten minutes.

Continue this process until there is no more bleach being transferred onto the cloth that you are using. The fading smell of bleach will act as an indicator as to how much longer this step should take. Finally, rinse extensively with cold water until your carpet is fresh once more.

Step 3 - Lay Them Out to Dry

This step is very important and dictates how well removal of the yellow stains will work for clothes. It is best to wet your fabrics first before laying them outside to dry in the sun. The sun's rays and oxygen given off by grass and plants counteract bleaching and will help provide a better overall stain removal. The optimum time for drying to take is between four to six hours. After this, the fabric should be restored to its original quality.

Step 4 - Drastic Measures

Occasionally, you will come across a yellow stain caused by bleach that cannot be removed by the above methods. In these situations, there are only a few tactics you can use to help avoid throwing away a much-loved piece of clothing. First, you may be able to cover a tiny stain with a permanent marker if you can find a closely-matched color, but make sure that you are happy with making such a bold move before committing to it.

Alternatively, you could buy sodium hydrosulfite from local cleaners' stores and strip the entire garment of color. Once done, you are free to re-dye the garment in any color you wish!