How To Fix Laundry Color Bleed Accidents

Last Updated on April 27, 2023

Laundry accidents happen all the time. Especially color bleed accidents.

And if you’ve experienced a color bleed in your laundry, you’re probably frustrated. Even more so if it happened to your favorite shirt.

Or maybe a favorite sweater, etc.

You’re probably scrambling around looking for answers, right?


a man frustrated over a color bleed accident


If that’s you above, just relax. Take a deep breath, and relax. It’s gonna be ok!

First things first, however – don’t touch the affected items.

Don’t wash them again, for instance, using stain removers. And definitely don’t try any TikTok or Instagram “hacks”. They will probably just make things worse.

So, skip the salt, vinegar, or whatever the hacks recommend. Put the laundry aside, and walk away.

What you need to get is Color Run Remover from Carbona.

a box of Carbona Color Run Remover for color bleed accidents

What is Carbona Color Run Remover?

Carbona Color Run Remover fixes those mixed wash disasters.

Each package includes 1 packet, which you add to your wash. It removes the dye from your whites and restores them to their pre-accident condition.

For hand-washing, 1 packet is enough. For machine washing, you’ll need 3 Carbona packets. 


How to Use Carbona Color Run Remover

The instructions vary slightly depending on how you intend to wash your laundry.

If you only have a few affected items, you can hand wash them. If you have more, or if you’d prefer to avoid hand-washing, you can use a washing machine. Instructions are as follows:


Hand Washing


a woman hand-washing a garment


  1. Fill your sink or a bucket with 3 to 4 gallons of the hottest water allowed by your fabric care label. Then add one packet of Color Run Remover, and stir to dissolve. Do not add any type of detergent.
  2. Then add the dye-stained garments, and fully immerse them into the sink/bucket. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the garments and rinse them thoroughly with warm water. Wash with detergent as usual.
  4. Repeat if necessary.


Using a Front Loading Washing Machine


a front loading washing machine


  1. Fill the machine with the dye-stained garments. Then add two packets of Color Run Remover into the detergent drawer and flush into the machine with 1/2 gallon of water.
  2. Then set the machine to the highest temperature as directed by the garment fabric care labels. Don’t use the economy, prewash, or time-delay cycle. Do not add detergent and immediately run a full cycle.
  3. Repeat if necessary.


Using a Top Loading Washing Machine


the agitator and drum inside of a washing machine


  1. Select the highest water level and start the wash cycle using the hottest water permitted by the fabric care labels.
  2. Then dissolve three packets of Color Run Remover in the water. Do not add any type of detergent. Then add the dye-stained garments and immediately run an entire cycle.
  3. Repeat if necessary.

Using the instructions above should remove any unwanted dye from mixed-wash garments. Once washed and rinsed, dry the garments like you normally would.

Just make sure to not add any additional detergents or bleach. Likewise, don’t add any non-affected clothing or fabrics.

And, of course, wash your hands!



Frequently Asked Questions

You might have some questions. We probably have answers to them below. If not, feel free to comment below with your questions.


Can I wash all affected garments together?

For best results, wash items separately according to water temperature. Wash cold water items in one load. Wash warm water items in a different load.


Can I use Carbona Color Run Remover for colored clothing?

Yes, but only if the clothing is colorfast. If not, it can remove the original dye as well. To be safe, perform a colorfast test as directed on the package:


the directions on a package of Carbona Color Run Remover


  1. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of the powder into 1/4 cup of hot water.
  2. Then apply the solution to an inconspicuous area, and wait 5 minutes.
  3. Rinse with water, and let dry.

Did the tested area change colors? If yes, then do not use this product.

If the color did not change, yes, you can use Carbona Color Run Remover.


Can I use this on my “dry clean only” garments?

No. This needs to be mixed with water. Dry clean only garments, of course, should not be submerged in water.


a Dry Clean Only tag on a garment



I have multiple colored items with dye. Can I wash them all together?

If the garments passed the colorfast test above, then yes. But again, make sure to wash cold water items in one cycle, and warm water items in another.


How many boxes should I buy?

Each package contains 1 packet of Color Run Remover. If you’re handwashing, for instance, 1 packet is enough. For machine washing, you’ll need 3 packets.


Should I add some bleach to get the whites extra bright?

No. Don’t add anything else besides the Color Run Remover.


Will this work on a large item, like a flat sheet?

Yes, it will. So, use the Color Run Remover as directed, and it will work for large items as well.


Can I use this with any type of fabric?

Carbona Color Run Remover should not be used for example, with silk, denim, khaki, leather, or suede fabrics.


Preventative Measures

Mixed wash accidents happen, of course, and they are sometimes unavoidable. 

But there are times when you have doubts. There are times when you look at a colored sweater, shirt, etc., and think to yourself – “this is really high quality. It probably won’t bleed”.

And then you wash it with your whites. And, then it ends up bleeding.

Next time you have doubts, add a ColorCatcher dye-trapping sheet.


a package of Shout ColorCatcher for mixed color laundry


Sometimes you only have a few whites, and consequently not enough to justify running a full cycle. And they sit there until you accumulate enough for a full load.

Next time, wash them with the colors by adding a ColorCatcher sheet

If you’re skeptical, then try it out with a load of laundry items that you don’t really care about. Find some whites and colors that won’t break your heart if the colors bleed, and then wash them with a ColorCatcher sheet.


How To Use ColorCatcher Sheets

The instructions are very simple. Add a sheet to the washing machine. Then run it as you normally would. For large loads, add 2 sheets.

Additionally, for front-loading machines, place the ColorCatcher sheet in a mesh bag, and place it in the back of the drum. Then add your load of laundry.

The sheet grabs loose dyes and dirt that swirl around in the water. Any dyes that bleed end up in the sheet, of course, and not on your clothes.

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