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Why Your Clothes Are Turning Green (And How to Fix It)

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We’ve all had this gorgeous garment we loved at one point in our life, and we rocked it only on special occasions.

Then after a few weeks, shock hits you. Your favorite dress or shirt is slowly and surely changing to an unsightly green color! What follows is frustration and despair.

What is going on? Read on to learn why this happened and how to fix it if it happens next time.

Clothes turning green could be a multiple-cause problem. 

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.

Cause of Clothes Turning Green


Green stains largely originate from food or grass contamination. This is especially true for children’s clothes. If they have been playing on the field, look no further. Children are known to be curious and experiment with different playing methods. 

Do not be surprised if you find a large green patch on the backside of their pants. Most likely, they have been playing by sliding down grasses.

If it is a stain, the earlier you deal with it, the easier it is to clean. The first step is to soften it with cold water to avoid its setting. Next, pour cold water into a basin, and add ½ white vinegar or your favorite stain remover before soaking for 2 hours. 

After that, run normal wash cycles, rinse, and air dry. Remember to examine if the stain has been removed. If not, you can repeat the process to clear it out. However, if you do not wish to rewash immediately, do not machine dry, as this will make it permanent.


The usual process for dying clothes is to use priming dye as a foundation to have a clearer dye hue. This is followed by a different dye covering the foundational one.

What happens is you end up with a fabric with several dye coats. While this is a good thing, as the garment looks neater, the problem arises when the fabric gets exposed to sunlight. 

The top color may fade out, exposing the undercoat. And that is one way your beautiful blue-colored dress turned green. You can take several measures to prevent your garments from fading from their original color to green. 

One is to turn the clothes inside out when you are either washing or drying to avoid abrasion from other clothes or sun scorching. Optionally, you can dry under shades.

Bleeding Dye

Some clothes bleed dyes, while others don’t. This depends on several factors, including the quality of dye used, the fabric type, and the quality of workmanship, among others.

Whatever the cause is, your next step is to isolate the bleeding garment and wash it separately. 

Ideally, all new clothes should be washed separately the first time to observe if they are bleeding colors.


Not all detergents are of good quality; some detergents can contaminate clothes. Some manufacturers make poor-quality detergents by skimping on ingredients by adding cheap dye for aesthetic appeal. Sadly, these dyes can permanently ruin your favorite garment.

To avoid this problem, only use detergents from renowned brands in the market. Alternatively, you can test new detergents by washing them on a piece of clothing to determine if it’s safe for other clothes or not. 


Mold results from improperly dried clothes. Storing damp clothes creates the right humidity for the growth of mold spores. While mold can take a wide variety of colors, the most dominant color is gray or greenish. 

So, if clothes are turning green in the closet, the likely culprit is mold. To avoid the growth of mold properly, dry your clothes. And if they are already discolored, do not lose hope. They can be restored to their original color by using either borax or white vinegar solution. 

Add ½ cup of either of those agents to the water and soak your clothes, ensuring they are completely submerged in the water. Thereafter, you can hand wash or machine wash normally, rinse and dry.

Using Algae-Contaminated Water

Algae is the greenish matter that grows on ponds, open tanks, or slow-moving river water. The growth of algae results from exposure to sunlight rays on the water surface, creating a growth-enabling environment. 

So if perhaps you’re using water from an open rooftop tank, that is what is making your garment green.

To avoid algae growth, always cover the water sources.

And to clean algae stains, add ½ cup of baking soda or white vinegar in clean water and soak for an hour before washing and rinsing normally.

Another option is to soak bleachable garments in chlorine or oxygen bleach for one hour and wash them as usual. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Remove Green Stains From My White Shirt?

You can use oxygen bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or any bleaching agent to remove the green stain.

  1. First, soften the garment in cold water to loosen the stain.
  2. Then put water in a bucket and add any of the bleaching agents above.
  3. Next, soak the garment for 1 hour, wash the normal wash cycle, and rinse and dry.

How Can I Know if New Clothes Will Bleed?

The easiest way is by rubbing a white paper on the fabric and observing both the paper and the clothing. If the fabric color rubs off the clothing, this one will bleed dye.

For this other method, unless you’re experienced, it might not be obvious. Usually, new fabrics with overly dark colors have been over-dyed, an indication it may bleed dye during washing. So if a fabric color looks too dark to be normal, probably it’s not.

How Can I Remove Green Mold From Clothes?

There are several cleaning agents for removing mold from clothes, including white vinegar.

Soak the stained clothes in a solution of 1 gallon of water and ½ cup of white vinegar for 1 hour before washing normally. Better yet, you can add one cup of vinegar to the wash cycle for faster stain removal. 

I have written a comprehensive guide on how to fix all clothing discoloration that may interest you to read next.

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