White Clothes Turned Blue in Washer (How to Fix)

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For some people, it’s a nightmare to see their white clothes turned blue in the washer. In this article, you will learn why your white clothes are turning blue, including how to fix them.

Why are your white clothes turning blue?

Whether your water contains copper or your detergent contains blue coloring, there are a handful of reasons why your white clothes have turned blue. Learn more about each reason below.

1. Your water contains copper

Copper in water can cause a blue-green color. Picture courtesy of bestchoiceplumbers.com

If the water pouring from your tap, shower, or toilet is blue-green, it means your well water has higher than acceptable levels of copper, which is often the result of internal copper pipe corrosion.

As pipes corrode, the copper dissolves into the water, which causes a blue tint when it reacts with the water. That particular blue-green water is transported into your home, causing your white clothes to turn blue.

2. Not separating your whites from colored clothing

Your white clothes may be turning blue because you have been washing them with other colored clothing. The blue coloring or dye can result in blue stains forming due to color transfer during the washing process. 

Say you’re short on time and you’ve decided to wash your white shirt together with blue denim. The blue color will leach into the water and transfer to the white shirt. These stains may or may not be permanent.

3. Blue coloring in laundry detergent or fabric softener

Using a laundry detergent or stain remover containing blue coloring can cause blue stains in white clothes if the product doesn't dissolve or disperse properly. The same can also be said with fabric softeners containing blue coloring. Luckily, these types of stains are not permanent.

Your whites clothes can come out of the laundry with blue stains if the detergent compartment or the fabric softener compartment was overfilled. When these compartments are overfilled, the detergent or fabric softener will immediately dispense into the wash tub, resulting in blue stains on the white fabric.

4. Applying certain types of detergent directly on the fabric

Say you’ve used detergent to remove a food stain from a white shirt. The stain was removed but it left a blue stain. Certain types of detergents can leave a blue stain on clothes if applied directly and left on too long.

It is recommended to let detergent soak for a maximum of 5 minutes for pre-treatment before washing an item. This allows enough time for the surfactants and hydrogen peroxide to work in concentrated form, but not so much time that the colorant and brighteners permanently dye the area where the stain was treated.

Additionally, laundry detergent should never be allowed to dry on a piece of white fabric, since the stain left behind (a combination of blue colorant and brighteners) is nearly impossible to remove.

How to fix white clothes turned blue

If the blue stains are caused by a water issue (containing copper), mix ½ cup of disinfecting bleach and ½ cup of warm water and use a soft, white cloth to blot the blue staining with the solution.

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If the blue stains are from detergent or softener, soak the white clothes in a solution of ¼ cup disinfecting bleach per gallon of water, for up to 5 minutes before thoroughly rinsing. Any residual blue color left after this process is a concentrated brightener that reflects light off the fabric in the blue spectrum.

Alternatively, you can soak the white clothes inside a basin filled with cool water and pour ½ cup of color-safe bleach. Submerge the white shirts into the mixture and allow them to soak for 30 minutes.

Unlike chlorine bleach, color-safe bleach is a non-chlorine bleach that uses hydrogen peroxide instead of sodium hypochlorite. Hydrogen peroxide is a much weaker bleach than sodium hypochlorite.

How to fix white clothes turned blue without bleach

Bleach is notorious for being corrosive and flammable. If you want a more gentle approach on treating blue stains on white shirts, here are 3 effective methods you can use without using bleach:

1. Soak in a vinegar solution

Mix 1 cup of distilled white vinegar with 1 quart of water in a basin. Soak the white clothes in the solution, and then wash by hand. Using vinegar works best when the blue stains are caused by laundry detergent coloring.

2. Rub the blue stains with bar soap

If the blue stains are caused by fabric softener, rub the blue stains with a piece of bar soap. Then, wash the white pieces of clothing by hand in a sink. You should be able to remove the blue stains.

3. Use Carbona Color Run Remover

By far, the best and most convenient way to fix white clothes turned blue without bleach is to use Carbona Color Run Remover. It has a powerful non-bleach formula that is gentle on fabrics to easily remove dye and streaks caused by color run accidents, even older ones that were set in the dryer.

Carbona Color Run Remover
Carbona® Color Run Remover |...
Carbona Color Run Remover
Carbona® Color Run Remover |...

Whether you’re dealing with blue stains on a single white shirt or a full load of whites, you can use the Carbona Color Run Remover to restore the white color. Learn how to use the product right here.

Key takeaways

And there you go, the complete guide on why your white clothes turned blue in the washer. Now you know what to do. Whether you choose to use bleach or not, you should be able to remove blue stains from whites.

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