Can these pants be saved?
July 13, 2014 5:55 PM   Subscribe

Mysterious bleached spots on my favorite pair of pants: can anything be done?

I have a pair of off-white cotton pants that I wear a lot. Last time I wore them I noticed on the front of one trouser leg a couple of irregularly shaped spots, a few inches across, where the color is a couple of shades lighter, as if you'd spilled bleach there. (I'd post pics, but the color difference doesn't really show; it's visible to the eye, though.) I don't know what caused this. Putting them through the wash predictably did nothing, since these aren't stains. Is there anything I can do? I would be happy with either way of making the color uniform, either getting rid of the whiter spots or else lightening the color of the rest of the pants to match them. Can I bleach the pants to achieve the latter result, and if so how exactly?
posted by zeri to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Would you consider experiments with tiny dabs of dilute black tea?
posted by taff at 6:17 PM on July 13, 2014

(To re-instate the colour.) VERY dilute.
posted by taff at 6:18 PM on July 13, 2014

I don't know how to fix your pants but as far as where the bleach spots come from, some skin care products containing benzoyl peroxide and some toothpastes containing carbamide peroxide will bleach some fabrics. So maybe you splattered a couple drops of one of those while grooming and didn't notice?
posted by Jacqueline at 6:55 PM on July 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Do you have your own washer/dryer? If you use a communal one, someone may have put too much bleach in their load.
posted by brujita at 7:04 PM on July 13, 2014

Sounds like you wouldn't have much to lose by adding bleach to the washer and washing again. Yes, the light spots may get proportionately lighter than the originally colored parts, but then you would be just where you are right now, no worse..... And there is a possibility that it will be all the same clor, albeit lighter, again. Good luck!
posted by Lylo at 9:29 PM on July 13, 2014

Someone added too much bleach to a communal washer where I lived and ruined a pair of my pants...not just spots, holes!
posted by brujita at 10:27 PM on July 13, 2014

You could try color remover (not bleach) and/or redye a new color. I'm attempting the latter this week with pants where the exact same thing happened (bleached spots from a Purell spill actually). I'm using iDye in a dark color and a color fixative. I'll try to remember to come back and let you know how it worked.
posted by dayintoday at 5:58 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

You might've dripped hand sanitizer onto your pants. I've done that, and the result is bleach spots :(
posted by jabes at 11:52 AM on July 14, 2014

Just wanted to return to say the iDye I used seems to have worked really well to hide the bleach spot, and the process was very easy. So if you want to go darker, rather than lighter, that is an option.
posted by dayintoday at 5:40 PM on July 16, 2014

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