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Help! I damaged my clothes when removing stains

Got bleach somewhere it shouldn't be? Left a stain remover on for a bit too long? Read on for tips on how to repair stain removal damage on clothes!


By Cleanipedia Team

Help! I damaged my clothes when removing stains
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Stain removal can be a tricky business and sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, something goes wrong.

While using a high-quality product like Persil for stain removal is completely safe when used as directed, it’s important to know what to do if an accident does happen. Here are a few simple fixes that might help if you damage your clothes while removing stains. 

Always use laundry detergents, such as those from Persil, as recommended on the packaging and test on a small area of your clothing before use to prevent damage.

Filling in bleach stains

Getting bleach stains out of coloured clothes can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Bleach essentially strips cloth of its colour, so it’s actually more a question of getting the stain back in than removing it.

  • Alcohol: soak a piece of cotton wool with clear alcohol (such as vodka or gin) and rub over and around the stain to bleed the colour back into the bleached area. Rinse the garment in cold water when finished and remember to store your alcohol safely out of reach of little hands when you’re finished with it.

  • Permanent marker: this method works best for black clothing and involves simply filling in the bleached area. Fabric pens can offer a more long-term solution than standard permanent markers but you might still want to try washing the garment on a cold wash to preserve the colour for longer.

Patching holes caused by stain removal products

Holes or tears in your clothes can be caused by many things. Whether you have a wool jumper that’s been lift littered with holes thanks to the power of the enzymes found in biological detergents, or your washing machine has caused loose threads to become pulled and torn, it’s important to know how to patch things up.

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  • Felting: you can buy felting kits which contain a felting needle, a piece of foam or sponge, and some wool roving. Place your sponge underneath the hole and a small piece of the roving on top. Then, use your needle to repeatedly stab the roving. This will mesh the fibres of it with the fibres of your jumper, effectively filling in the hole.

  • Darning: a slightly more labour-intensive method, you can buy special darning kits which contain a darning needle and a wooden “mushroom” to give you a surface to weave the fibres over. You can also just use an ordinary needle and something like a teacup to darn over if you’d prefer. Simply hold the affected garment over the mushroom or teacup (the clothing should be inside out) and make a small running stitch across the hole. Repeat until filled in.

  • Patching: a quicker solution, patches can instantly hide a hole. You can get iron-on patches that are stuck to clothing using the heat of an iron or you can sew a patch on for a more permanent fix. Just think carefully about the type of stitch you use to make your sewing as invisible as possible.

There you have it – a few options for repairing clothes damaged by stain removal chemicals. Remember that prevention is always better than cure, though – check out our guide to removing stains safely, and use that Persil power responsibly if using one of their detergents! Always check the care label on your garments and the instructions on your product packaging before use.

Originally published