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How to Bleach White Shirts and Fabric With Colored Embroidery

If you're worried about bleach ruining your embroidery, check out our tips on how to safely clean white shirts, clothes, and fabrics with colored embroidery.

More from Clorox experts


Can Clorox be used on white clothing with black embroidery?


Normally I recommend the bleachability test to determine if a colored item can be safely washed with Clorox® Regular Bleach2: Add 2 teaspoons bleach to ¼ cup water and apply a drop of the solution to a hidden part of the item; wait 1 minute and blot dry; no color change means the item can be safely bleached. With embroidery, it’s a little more complicated since it is virtually impossible to test for bleachability on a “hidden area” without potentially discoloring the embroidery thread if it isn’t bleach-fast. It would help if you knew the fiber content of the embroidery thread—if it’s polyester, there is actually a good chance that it will be bleach-fast, but this information is generally not provided, making it difficult to know for sure without giving it a try. With cotton embroidery thread, whether or not it is bleach-fast depends on what type of dye was used. Assuming you decide bleaching the item is important enough to take the chance that the embroidery may fade slightly or discolor, I would follow our “for best results” instructions, delaying the addition of the bleach as follows: Dilute ¾ cup Clorox® Regular Bleach2 in 1 quart water and add to the washer 5 minutes after the cycle has begun agitating.

If you decide against bleaching the entire item, you may want to try applying Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel to any specific stains you are trying to remove. Just be sure to wash the item immediately after pretreating. Or, you could try an overnight pre-soak with powdered Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster. Dissolve 1 scoop or 1 pack in 2 gallons water and fully submerge the item for up to 8 hours. Drain the soaking solution then wash the item in the hottest water recommended on the care label with detergent + more Clorox2®. This approach is particularly good for white items that include spandex and therefore can’t be washed with Clorox® Regular Bleach2 or Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel.