Whitening Or Re-dyeing Faded Fabric

Fade to White! Want to whiten your dingy whites? Or even better, how about revitalizing a set of expensive cotton sheets that have faded in color? Here are some expert tips on how to spruce up and revitalize fabric - it's easy, and it's how the pros do it!


I had a beautiful baby blue set of Egyptian cotton sheets 1000 thread count that had faded and become very stained. I decided I wanted to try and make them white, and I succeeded at it! They look bright and white and good as new.

Before we get started, a few caveats: It is easier to go white if the original color was light. If your sheet set is a darker color, say a navy blue or a burgundy or forest green, you may want to try and redye the sheets (and that's another tip!)

Here is how to get the same results I did:


Start by removing the original color. This step also works on dingy whites. Use a color remover. I used the Jacquard brand dye remover and it worked wonderfully well. For best results, do it in a large pot (not aluminum!) on your stove so you can keep the temperature hot. Boil the water first, and add 1 heaping tsp. of the remover. stir well. Wet one pillowcase and add to pot. Keep on low heat, stir and after 15 min, remove from heat and wash in detergent. Then repeat to do the next pillowcase. If your pot is big enough, do them together. It is important to wet first to get even results.

You can also do it in a bathtub, but it might take longer and require more dye remover. I did the larger sheets in the tub, with very hot water. I caution against dying or removing color in a front loading washing machine - or any machine. I once had dye residue damage on several loads of laundry : ( Your bathtub or sink is easier to clean and safer. Note that if the thread was 100% polyester, it will probably stay its original color.

A bottle of the jacquard dye remover cost under $4 and did an entire sheet set.

You will notice that the fabric might still be a bit grey or yellowish, although I was very impressed at how well it turned out. For all of you perfectionists out there, try these tips, in this order:

Be sure to enjoy your new "brightey whiteys".

By Wangchok from Canada


December 17, 20090 found this helpful

I have a black 2 piece outfit that seems quite a bit cotton, but may have some polyester in it. The tag has been cut out, so I don't know. At any rate, it is getting faded with a white cast to it from so many washing, I suppose. Is there a way to redye it to make it black again so I can wear it a bit longer. I wear this outfit a lot at funerals as my husband is a pastor.

Thanks in advance, Linda

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December 15, 2009 Flag
0 found this helpful

To whiten fabric that is dingy, soak overnight in powdered automatic dish washer detergent. It works good on white clothes or linens.

By joann

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In This Article
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Repairing Faded Spots on Clothing
Consumer Advice Clothing RepairingDecember 15, 2009
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