Removing color from towels to create white towels is possible, but only with certain kinds of towels. Many high-end towels use bleach and fade-resistant dyes meant to withstand heavy use. They are not supposed to be used with chlorine bleach, and their colors cannot be changed in an attractive manner. Colored towels without special finishes can have their colors faded or removed. It’s impossible, however, to remove color from towels to create white towels without damaging the cloth fibers at least a little. Removing the color gently will create minimum damage, and removing it harshly will create maximum damage.
Things You'll Need:
- Old clothes
- Rubber gloves
- 3 plastic tubs
- Measuring cup
- Chlorine bleach
- Chlorine neutralizing product
- Laundry detergent
If you do not want to use chlorine bleach, many different products are available that are created specifically to remove dyes from fabric. These products are often labeled as color-removers, color-erasers or color-strippers and all contain sodium hydrosulfite as a primary ingredient. Use the products to remove colors as directed by the packaging.
- If you are not sure if you can use your towel with chlorine bleach or if the color has a protective finish, check the label. The label should contain all the relevant information about cleaning and chemicals. If the label is gone, all you can do is decide if the towel is ugly enough to be worth the risk of ruining. Do not try to use chlorine-free bleach to remove color from towels to create white towels. The chlorine is what destroys color, and chlorine-free bleach is considered color safe, so it will not remove the dye.
Slip on a pair of old clothes you don’t mind accidently bleaching, an apron and some rubber gloves. Place the three, plastic, 6-qt, tubs outdoors on a flat surface. Fill the first tub with 15 cups of hot water and 3 cups of chlorine bleach. Fill the second tub with 15 cups of cold water. Fill the third tub as directed by the neutralizing product packaging.
Dampen up to four, clean, colored towels with warm water. Submerge the towels in the bleach-filled tub. Let the towels soak in the bleach for 15 to 20 minutes.
Wring the towels out, and place them in the tub with the cold water. Let the towels soak for 5 minutes, and wring them out well.
Place the towels in the neutralizer tub, and follow packaging instructions. Wring the towels out well.
Place the wet towels in a washing machine with a little laundry detergent. Wash the towels, and throw them in the dryer. Dry the towels.
Repeat the entire process as many times as needed to remove color from towels and turn them white.
A writer since 2000, Aya Pauli has covered a variety of topics including food, fashion, beauty, health, parenting, education, decor and crafts. Her award-winning recipes have been published in food magazines such as "Taste of Home," and she is also the author of a salad cookbook. Pauli's craft projects appear in major manufacturer websites, including Dow Styrofoam. She also holds a CDA in early childhood education and works as a preschool teacher in Wyoming.