Discovering that your clothes have changed color after washing is one of the most frustrating things that can happen during washing day.
Generally, your clothes have come in contact with an agent that has caused the change in color during washing. This could be from improper use of cleaning products like detergent, bleach, and fabric softener. Or from having rusty pipes/washing machine, or accidentally having added an article of clothing with heavy dye to a load.
In this article, we are going to try to find the root cause of the discoloration of your clothes. I have broken the article into sections depending on what color your clothes used to be, and what they are now, i.e white clothes turning yellow, or black clothes turning red.
White Clothes Turned Yellow
You may be confused as to why your clothes have started turning yellow, but worry not, you can easily stop the yellowing of your clothes today. There are also a few fixes you can use to fix the discoloration.
White clothes turn yellow due to sweat mixing with deodorants, too much bleach, improper washing and rinsing, and poor storage. Easy fixes for yellowing include oxygen bleach, white vinegar and salt solution, a baking soda-peroxide-water mixture, toothpaste, lemon juice, and aspirin.Learn more in my detailed article on why your white clothes have turned yellow.
White clothes turning yellow is by far the most common reason for discoloration of white clothes according to my YouTube community.
White Clothes Are Turning Grey
If your white clothes are starting to look dull or grey, you are not alone; according to my community, this is the second most common discoloration of clothes.
Thankfully, this is also a very easy problem to fix, and you can also generally reverse the discoloration without much hassle.
Your white clothes may be turning grey in the washer if you’re not using the right amount of detergent. Over and underestimating how much soap to use can lead to the greying fabric. However, even measuring detergent perfectly on its own might not be enough to keep your clothes white.Learn more about why your white clothes are turning grey here.
White Clothes Turning Blue
If your white clothes have started turning blue, your first thought is probably that you have accidentally added some heavily dyed blue clothes to the white load. However, this is usually not the case.
White clothes turn blue if the fabric softener compartment or the detergent compartment is overfilled. Moreover, faulty pipes carrying dirty water to the washing machine could cause stains. Always fill the detergent and fabric softener to the max level indicator to avoid this.Read my full article on why your white clothes are turning blue here.
White Clothes Turn Pink
White clothes turning pink is really frustrating. But this is generally one of the easiest discolorations to avoid, and thankfully, it is also possible to fix this problem without much hassle.
White clothes turn pink because they may have been mistakenly washed with something red—maybe you accidentally left lipstick or red paper in your pocket. Sometimes, white clothes turn pink because the washing machine holds red dyes. Well water can also cause your whites to turn pink.Learn more about why your white clothes have turned pink in my detailed article.
Why Your Clothes Turned Orange
Clothes turning orange may seem a bit strange compared to the other discolorations, but there is actually a very logical answer to this problem as well.
Your clothes turned orange due to rust, which is usually the cause of orange spots on your clothes. Rust is iron oxide, which is the result of oxidation, and it is created when iron and oxygen combine with water. Water is the single catalyst that causes iron to rust and is a reddish-orange color.My full article on why your white clothes have turned orange.
Clothes Turning Green
While clothes turning green is not the most common problem, it can be a cause of both confusion and irritation. There are a few different reasons why your clothes will turn green. Let’s investigate.
Among the major possibilities to investigate include: Fading of color, bleeding of dyes, green stains, using algae contaminated water, and types of detergent, among others. To avoid future occurrences, isolate the specific problem and deal with it.Detailed instructions on fixing clothes that have turned green here.
Brown Flakes on Clothes
Just as with clothes turning orange, getting brown flakes and brown stains on your clothes may puzzle many. But there are actually some really obvious reasons that this happens. In any case, it is important to take care of this problem quickly.
Brown flakes on clothes and in the washing machine may be due to rust buildup, mold or mildew, excess detergent or fabric softener, or use of chlorine bleach. Cleaning the machine until all the brown stuff is out often helps. Changing the detergent or fabric softener used also helps.More information about why there are brown flakes on your clothes here.
Deodorant Stains on Your Black Shirts
Deodorant stains can be very embarrassing to get on your black shirts as it is so easy to see. There are a few fixes to the problem.
You get white deodorant stains on your black shirts because of the deodorant’s ingredients and the amount of product you’ve applied. You’ll also get stains if you wore your shirt before the deodorant dried or if you applied the product to wet or sweaty underarms.Learn more about why your black shirts have deodorant stains here.
I would switch over to a crystal deo to get rid of this problem permanently as they won’t really stain your black shirts.
Why Your Black Clothes Are Turning Red (And how to fix it)
Black clothes turning red may seem strange, but it is actually very common. Especially if you have been working with bleach.
The most common reason is that your black clothes have been exposed to a bleaching agent. To create black clothes, dye is applied to fabric with permanent red or blue color. Once the bleach has stripped away the dye, you are left with the garment’s underlying color.Read my full article on why black clothes are turning red here.
Why Your Black Clothes Are Turning Brown
Black clothes turning brown is often from a lot of the same causes as them turning red, but I wrote an article for you to differentiate between the nuances.
Black clothes fade or turn brown for several reasons. These include extended exposure to sunlight, type of detergent used, contamination from other bleeding fabrics, and frequent washing, among others. To stop your clothes from turning brown, isolate the specific cause of the discoloration and fix it.Quoted from my article on black clothes turning brown
What Colors Can Be Washed Together?
To be on the safe side, you can check out my guide on what clothes should be washed together.
As a rule of thumb, you should never wash darker shade clothes with lighter ones, these tips will undoubtedly save a lot of your clothes, but there are other categories to consider. For instance, avoid washing new clothes in the washer because the dye can come off. Two dark-colored clothes can also ruin each other’s colors when washed together, so it is recommended to take as many packs of clothes as possible to save your clothes.More details in my full article
I recommend that you use this article as an index, and click onward to the more detailed articles to get all the juicy information you need in order to take care of your clothing discoloration.
If you run into this problem from time to time it could be smart to add a bookmark so you can easily reference back to this article in the future.
I’m an expert organizer and a big laundry enthusiast. I’ve created this website and Organizing TV on YouTube to share practical guides about some of my favorite subjects; making clothes fit well, doing laundry and folding clothes effectively, and organizing wardrobes with a focus on saving space since I live in a home with limited space myself. You can learn more about me here.