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Does RIT dye work on bleach stains?

does rit dye work on bleach stains

A few weeks ago, I was doing the seasonal clothing switch with Sonia and Zoe, and Zoe tried on one of our black Limeapple dresses to see if it still fit her.

(It’s the Gracie dress, which is on clearance right now. Not an affiliate link.)

It did fit her, but she got distracted while she had it on, and headed outside to help a neighbor move a small plastic pool.

Unfortunately, the pool had a little bit of chlorine in it (not water like they thought!) and Zoe got some splashed on her dress.


Since it’s a really nice dress, I thought I’d like to try to save it.

I asked my Instagram followers about whether dye would work, and they had mixed thoughts about it.

I hated to give up on the dress without a fight, so I picked up a box of Rit dye at the craft store.

With a 40% off coupon, a box of dye costs almost nothing, which made this project feel totally worth a try to me.

I filled a bucket with 3 gallons of hot water, plus a cup of salt and a tablespoon of detergent, and then I added the dye, pre-dissolved in 2 cups of hot water.

I added the dress and stirred and stirred.

black RIT dye on bleach stains

For good measure, I left it in there a while to soak.

When I took it out, I was super pleased because I couldn’t see any orange stains at all, even after rinsing it in the sink.

Then I ran it through the washing machine.

Boo.   There were the orange stains again.

dyed bleach stains

They’re darker than before, but definitely still orange.

Zoe and I tried using a black Sharpie, which darkened the streaks further. They’re still visible, though.

sharpie marker to fix bleach stains

Maybe if there were just a few tiny bleached spots, this would be a good solution. But for such a large area, the Sharpie just doesn’t quite do the trick.

So, does Rit dye work on bleach stains?

I’m gonna go with no.


I had a number of other faded black things that needed a refresh, so I also dyed a cardigan, a pair of my jeans, my kung fu pants, and a pair of Joshua’s black jeans.

And I’m pleased to say that they are all lovely and black again.

So, my package of dye was not a waste of money, and at least now I know I tried my best to rescue the Limeapple dress.

Luckily, Sonia owns a black Gracie dress in a larger size.

So, even though I couldn’t fix this one, Zoe’s got another one coming down the pike when she grows just a little taller.

Have you ever had success in fixing a bleach stain?   I’m open to trying more options if you guys have ideas for me!

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Saturday 11th of March 2023

I tried on a dark navy cotton sweater...left to soak for hours. Didn't work. Same experience, came out of washer still with orange stains.


Thursday 29th of September 2022

I stepped in bleach at work in my nice black slacks and it left stains on the bottom. I rushed home, and painted the stains with a baking soda and water paste. Left it to dry and brushed the powder off later. This neutralized the bleach and prevented it from continuing to damage the fabric. I tried the rubbing alcohol on the outside pushing dye over the stain, but it didn’t work for the size of the stains I had. Then I tried sharpie. It all washed out. Then I went all out! I bought a Rit Dying kit. I soaked the bottom of the pants in a tye dye soda ash mixture. Then I soaked it in dye and boiled water. Twice the amount of dye called for, added the salt, the vinegar, and dish soap. Stirred it for an hour, double the time called for. Then soaked it in the Rit after dye stuff. Rinsed it out, washed with warm water and detergent in my tub. Now it’s hanging to dry. It looks like it worked! And the pants may be a darker black that they were before but oh well lol. Anyway wanted to share to help others out who stumble across this article. I think neutralizing the bleach with the baking soda pasta was a key player here, as well as the soda ash, and doubling the product called for with the Rit jet black dye kit- following the instructions and using every extra thing they mentioned (vinegar, salt, etc.)


Friday 15th of July 2022

Exactly the same thing happened to me with a black shirt. I read you can try Rit again but this time use a brush to apply the solution directly on the spots. I am trying that again today.


Friday 15th of July 2022

Let us know how it goes!

Rebecca Snyder

Wednesday 14th of April 2021

I had a similar issue with a favorite LBD though it involved Comet cleanser & scrubbing a bathtub (should have changed). The discoloration was bad enough I decided to research tie die processes & ended up knotting & knotting & knotting it with several different widths of yarn. Then I dipped it in watered down bleach. I know have a gorgeous blooming toe died dress that several people have asked where I got it (HEH). I have not been able to turn a fave black top black again with RIT so I may try the tie die again.

Jennifer Campbell

Saturday 13th of February 2021

I had the same experience except with sofa cushion covers and let them marinate in RIT dark grey dye for 3 days and it didn’t change the bleach stains at all

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