Can You Dye Black Fabric White? (How to Dye Black Clothes)

There are some people who just don't like black clothes. Or their black clothes have faded too much and they want to change the color of those items. It is a monumental task to change something from black to white if it can be done.

Can you dye black fabric white? No, you can't dye black fabric white. There is no dye made that can change the black coloring of your clothing to a nice white color. You can try to use Rit color remover to see if it will remove the black dye and return the fabric to its original white or off white color.

To learn more about this topic you just need to continue reading our article. It has the information, even if it is not good news, that you want to know about. Take a few minutes and get up to speed on this topic. It should save you time, frustration, and money.

How to Turn Black Fabric White


One thing you need to know about dyes is that they are transparent. They cannot remove color but only add some color to different fabrics. Because they are transparent you usually will see the old color in some places on your clothing.

Black is a color you really can’t cover-up. It is too dark and it is not the only dark color you will have trouble with dyeing a new shade. If your black jeans have faded too much it would be best to use a black dye on them and restore their original color.

The only way we know how to turn black fabric white is to use one of the two following products or similar ones made from different brands-- Rit Color Remover or Carbona Color Run Remover.

These products will remove, or hopefully remove the black dye used to color the fabric in the first place. The only problem you will have using these products is when you try to use them on synthetic materials.

Normally, synthetic fabrics are given their dye color before the fibers are extruded. That means there is no original white color to return to when you use those products. The original color of the fabric is the color you bought those clothing items in.

Can You Dye Black Fabric White?

Only one word is needed to answer this question- no. One of the reasons for this answer is that most dye companies do not sell white dyes. White dyes are as transparent as the other shades of dyes you can buy and you may see some black come through after you are done or the clothing may turn a little gray.

It is hard to say as every fabric is different as are dyes. If you want to remove the color you can use the products we already mentioned and then you would need to wash those clothing using Rit Whitener Brightener compound.

However, those products will not work on any fabric that has more than 35% of synthetic fibers in a blend. Before you go out and buy those products, check those black clothing items you want to change the color on and see how much synthetic material was used in them.

This information comes from the Rit Dye website and they know their own products and what materials they can or cannot work on. It is best not to try to lighten really dark clothing as you never know what color you will end up with.

Can You Bleach Black Clothes White?


Yes and no. First, the fabric has to be made from cotton or probably other bleachable natural fibers to do the job right. Second, you should not do this with clothing made from synthetic fibers. Bleach is not their friend and can easily ruin those garments when their fibers are exposed to the bleach for too long.

To do cotton fabric, you will need 2 buckets, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, water, gloves, and metal stirring utensils (preferably stainless steel). Make sure the area you are working in is well ventilated and does not trap any fumes.

Once you have the bleach and water solution ready you need to submerge the item and wait for about 10 minutes. Stir as you wait and then once that time frame is up check the shirt. This process can take up to an hour to do.

When you are satisfied with the color, you need to remove the item, get the excess solution out, and then rinse thoroughly. Once that is done drop the item into the bucket holding the hydrogen peroxide. This will neutralize the bleach.

After soaking for about 15 minutes remove the item from the bucket and rinse again. Wash in cold water and let dry. One word of warning, if the item has buttons on it those may have been sewn on with synthetic thread and will not be bleached.

Does Bleach Ruin Dark Clothes?

Yes, it can, especially if it is undiluted bleach. If bleach, even diluted versions, touch dark clothing you should see bleach stains right away. This is an immediate reaction when you really do not want an immediate reaction.

When you are washing dark-colored clothing or other fabrics make sure to add the bleach in while the water is filling the tub. Keep the bleach away from the clothing as much as possible or use the automatic bleach dispenser in your washing machine.

You may want to go to hot water if you need to disinfect your dark clothing or other fabrics. The problem with this option is that while it is a good disinfecting method, the hot water can fade your dark clothing or other fabrics.

Another option would be to go to color-safe bleach which uses hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine. It is the safest option outside of any natural methods you may already know about.

The sun is a good bleaching option but it too may fade your darker fabrics. Unfortunately, there is no real safe way to bleach dark clothing. Each method may have its own drawbacks that keep them from being perfect cleaning solutions.

Bleaching Black Fabric to White


This is not always a good idea to pursue. There are just too many risks involved and if you submerge the wrong fabric into the bleach solution you may end up ruining it. Then you have to spend time and money replacing that piece of clothing or other fabric.

Also, you may not get the item you want white to that original white color. Chances are it will turn ivory or some other off white color or there will be lighter shades of black still on the fabric. You never know what you will end up with.

Even Rit dye company says you need to use a whitener and not just a color remover to get those fabrics close to being real white. They also do not make any guarantees that those fabrics will turn white.

Your results will depend on if your clothing is a blend with synthetics or not or 100% synthetic. In this case, the process won’t work. The type of fabric you bleach is important as even some natural fibers do not like that solution and can be easily ruined if exposed to chlorine.

Will Vinegar Bleach Dark Clothes?

The best answer to this question is no. While white distilled vinegar can be used to whiten and brighten clothing, that effect is usually found on white clothing only or possibly light-colored clothes or other fabrics.

Normally, white distilled vinegar is used to restore dark colors when they have bleach stains on them. That means this solution does not bleach clothing, it helps them remain their original dark color.

Yes, vinegar is used to remove stains and bleach out some clothing items but as we said, this solution does not work on dark colors. The vinegar will remove foul odors, pet stains, the smell of smoke, disinfect reduce lint and pet hairs as well as make fabrics soft but it does not bleach out dark colors.

Vinegar also seems to be able to help erase hemlines when you have to lengthen pant legs as your children grow older. Then a half a cup of this liquid will help remove leftover soap residue from dark-colored fabrics and take away that dull look that comes with that issue.

When you want to use a natural method of bleaching dark colors and avoid harmful chemicals, don’t reach for the vinegar jar or bottle.

Will Peroxide Bleach Dark Clothes?


No, peroxide won’t bleach dark clothes. Remember, hydrogen peroxide is used in color-safe bleach options. That means it will not or should not bleach your dark clothing. Regular 3% peroxide should in no way reduce the color in your dark fabrics.

If bleaching does take place that means you used too much of the peroxide and not enough of the water part of the blend. Or the peroxide was mixed at a higher concentration level than you should use.

The good thing about this solution is that it breaks down in water so that it is a very safe solution to use on all your clothing items. One reason this solution is sold in dark bottles is that it also breaks down when light hits it.

What those vulnerabilities mean is that hydrogen peroxide is a very safe cleanser to use when you do not want to lose the dye color in your clothing or other fabrics. It is not a good option when you want to remove colors from clothing or your other fabrics.

While it does remove stains it works slower than chlorine bleach and may not always get those tough stains out.

Does Borax Bleach Dark Clothes?

Fade, yes; bleach, most likely not. How this answer affects your use of the product depends on how much borax you will use at one time. It is said that this cleanser can help fade clothing but that is not always the case.

Borax is similar to vinegar in that it helps brighten different clothing items but it is not used to bleach the color out of dark or any colored clothing or other fabrics. Plus, its job is to remove tough stains, not the dye color.

When used as a pre-soak cleanser it can get those hard to remove coffee stains out or eliminate perspiration stains. But as far as removing dye color, your favorite fabrics and colors are safe in the hands of Borax.

Why is Borax being mentioned in this discussion? Especially when it fell out of favor decades ago? That is because it is making a comeback as more and more people are leaving harsh chemical cleansers behind and looking for safer natural products to use.

Borax is a mineral salt that is high in alkaline which is a great ingredient when you have acidic stains to get out of your clothing. The only real drawback to this option is that it might cause some skin irritation if used in highly concentrated amounts

How Long to Bleach Black Clothes


If you are trying to bleach synthetic fabrics, the amount of time you will need is forever. That is right even color removers do not work on synthetic fabrics. The reason was explained above but here it is again.

Most synthetic fabrics are given the dye before being turned into fabric fibers. That means that the only color those fibers know is the colors that were originally placed into the process before their appearance.

In other words, orange synthetic shirts are and have always been the orange color. There was no white color first and then orange added to the material. You cannot bleach something that has no primary original color to it.

For some natural fibers, it could take up to an hour or more approx., to turn a black cotton shirt into a whitish one. Color removers will work on cotton and most other natural fibers but read the labels first to make sure.

After the color remover, wash those natural fibers in the whitener brightener solutions recommended by the different dye companies. The process will take some time and only goes as long as you decide you are satisfied with the results.

You can stop the process at any time when you think you have reached your color goal.

How to Dye Fabric White Without Bleach

Color remover is the best way to do this. You should make sure to carefully read the labels to make sure that remover will work for the natural fibers you want to alter. One of their products on the Rit dye website says that it is for cotton, linen, wool, rayon, and ramie.

You should search their website and the website of its competitors to see if there are color removers for other natural fibers not on that list. The good thing about this product is that it is chlorine-free.

When you use it you are not running the risk of ruining your clothing items. Chlorine will weaken fibers in both synthetic and natural materials so that is not a good ingredient to have in any product you want to remove the color from.

As you know vinegar and borax are out of the question when you want to remove color. As is lemon juice. It is like those two products as it removes stains while brightening your clothing. It does not do a great job at bleaching out color.

It may be best to stick to professional color removing products to get the job done right and with the least amount of hassle.

How to Dye Black Clothes a Different Color


If you are thinking of doing this to synthetic materials, forget about it and go buy new clothes in the color you want. You cannot dye black synthetic clothes another color. If you can, there is a very long process but even with that the dyers are transparent and the results you get may not be the color scheme you were hoping for.

Then if you try to change the black natural fiber fabrics to another color, you can try but the result will be black. To dye black clothing white or some other color you first have to remove the black dye from the clothing.

The best way is to use a dye remover like the ones we have already described. Those products come with specific instructions on how to proceed. Different brands may provide different instructions.

Once you have succeeded in removing the black dye, you may get a white color, you may get an off white tone or you may not get all the color out. Results will vary. But once you have reached this part of the process you need to wash the clothing in a whitener brightener to help lighten the cloth further.

After that, you follow the directions on the dye package you have bought and change the color. Wool and Silk are protein fiber fabrics which means you cannot subject them to ingredients like hypochlorite which is an active ingredient in bleach.

While you can bleach cotton white, you can’t bleach those fabrics white. You will need a dye remover that works for those fabrics. Keep in mind that if polyester or other synthetic threads were used on your clothing, those threads will not change color.

How to Dye Black Fabric Blue

This is probably not possible if you are going to use just a blue-colored dye and the normal dyeing process. All you will end up with is black color. As we have pointed out previously, dyes are transparent and only add color. When you add color to black you get black.

To dye black fabrics blue you have to check to see if the materials used were natural fibers or not. If there is more than a 35% synthetic blend in them, then the results will be according to what we have already said about synthetic fibers.

In order to change the black color to blue, you have to use a color remover or bleach. The latter works well with cotton but not so well with other natural fibers. Once the color is gone, wash the material in a whitener brightener product to make sure the color is removed and the white looks good.

After that, use the blue dye following the process in the instructions given on the box or inside the packaging. Different fabrics will require different types of dyes. Double-check the labels to make sure you are buying the right product for the fabric you want to change.

Where to Buy Color Remover


Your best bet will be Amazon. Not only does that marketplace have Rit color remover it also sells color removers from the other dye-making companies. It is simple and easy to use the Amazon checkout process.

Then you can go to Michael’s. Hobby Lobby or your local department store and other fabric outlets and find them there. How many varieties they have or brands is up to them and may vary between stores.

If they do not have the brand or type you need, then try your local sewing supply or accessory shops. They should have some on hand and may be able to order some in for you. Don’t worry, if you need a color remover you will be able to find it.

Some Final Words

Dyeing black clothes a different color is a challenge you won’t win in most cases. The best thing to do is go out and buy the clothing or other item in the color you want and save yourself time and trouble. As you can see it is not an easy process.

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