Can You Bleach Carpet To Make It White? [And How To]

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Carpets are pleasing to the eye when they're newly installed. However, over time, there's a lot of dirt and grime that can build up in the fibers. Thus, it leaves you scratching your head - wondering how you can get that white color again. Can bleach be the solution? If that's what you're wondering, let's find out!

If you want to return your carpet to its white color, you can do so by using a carpet cleaner with a bleach solution. You'll need to dilute the bleach first before using it on the carpet. This way, it won't damage the fibers as much. Still, there are some factors you want to consider before applying bleach to your carpet. 

Why do you need to dilute bleach? Considering there's a potential to damage the fibers, what's the worst that can happen if you mess up? Finally, what are the other factors to consider when applying bleach to a carpet? These are some of the issues we'll cover in-depth. If you'd like to learn more, keep reading ahead.

A man wearing slacks and gray sock while cleaning the carpet, Can You Bleach Carpet To Make It White? [And How To]

A Warning On Bleaching Carpet

There are several factors to consider to determine if it would be fine to put a little bleach into your carpet cleaner. Aspects like the type of carpet and the components of the carpet cleaner are two to consider. 

Some carpet cleaners will have metal components that won't react well with bleach - it might even have a negative reaction! Consequently, it'll show up by discoloring your carpet. 

Pouring bleach on a dark background

So, that leaves us with two conditions that we have to meet. The first condition is making sure the carpet doesn't come from wool. As some suggest, bleach can potentially dissolve wool. Although it might not be noticeable to the eye, the wool carpet will lose fibers if you apply bleach and let it settle long enough. 

The second condition relates to the carpet cleaner you will use. If you're not using one, you don't have to worry about this step. Otherwise, check your user's manual to see if it's compatible with a diluted bleach solution. 

Additional Notes

If you have a carpet that comes from synthetic material, your success using bleach may vary. As one user suggests, not all synthetic carpets are made the same. Synthetic fibers like polyester, polyamides, and polypropylene are relatively bleach-resistant. 

So, if your goal is to alter the color, using bleach might not work out. If you still attempt to do so, three things might happen: 

  1. There will be no change color-wise.
  2. If there is a color change, it will partially fade some areas. However, it won't apply the color change evenly. 
  3. Fibers will dissolve in the process because the bleach will attack the plastic. 

If you'd like to see the results without applying bleach to your carpet, here's a YouTube video demonstrating the three situations above:

Some carpets - nylon (polyamide) in particular - can have their color altered. The reason is that carpet manufacturers will typically spray dye on after weaving. In other cases, they'll print a pattern on the carpet after the weaving process. Thus, you can wash away the color if you'd like. 

However, it's not guaranteed to produce the white color that you'd want. 

Before using bleach on the carpet, you'll want to test a small area first. Of course, you'll need to use diluted bleach. Never use bleach at full strength. This way, you can check if applying bleach will be a waste of time. 

Regarding wool carpets, it's best if you call professional cleaning services to restore the carpet to a white color. Otherwise, you can also try bleaching it - that is, if you don't mind ruining it. In most cases, you'll end up with a yellowish hue. 

How To Bleach Your Carpet

If everything checks out, you can use a chlorine solution of 200 ppm (part per million). Meaning, you'll need to mix two teaspoons of bleach with one gallon of water. Before starting this, make sure the room is well-ventilated. You should wear safety equipment like gloves and glasses.

The essential aspect to keep in mind is that you want to work at a good pace. In other words, you'll need to ensure that the bleach solution and water that you'll use on the carpet don't stay there for longer than 10 minutes.

Of course, once you've applied the bleach, you'll need to rinse it out. Finally, you'll finish the job by ventilating the area well to enable quick drying. 

Once everything's ready, you can run the carpet cleaner. After using the bleach solution, you'll need something else to rinse and remove the bleach from the carpet. You can do this by using a one to ten hydrogen peroxide and water solution.

How Can I Make My Carpet Look New?

A worker cleaning the carpet using a steam cleaner

With all the evidence against bleaching, you might have second thoughts about doing the job. So, it begs the question, is there anything we can do to make the carpet look as good as new? The easiest way to do that is by calling in a professional for help.

However, some of us won't have the budget to hire someone to clean the carpet. Thus, if you don't want to pay for the additional cost of labor, you can rent a carpet cleaner to use yourself.

Steam cleaners are great because they draw out the grime that becomes deeply embedded in the carpet. If you want to keep it in top condition, you should deep clean your carpet twice a year.

Correcting Indentations

As you're dragging around furniture, it's a good time to decompress areas with indentations. You can do this by running a vacuum over the spots. If there's still an indentation, you can use ice cubes to help the fibers regain their shape. After this process, you'll need to blot the area to remove moisture.

Loose Carpet Fibers

If you start seeing loose carpet fibers, it might be time to trim them with a pair of scissors. You'll have to cut them as close to the base as possible. Avoid cutting fibers that don't show any signs of wear. Additionally, it might be tempting to yank them out. Avoid doing this because it might make your carpet worse for wear.

What Color Does Bleach Turn Carpet?

Different colors of carpet rolled on the floor

The color you'll get from applying bleach to a carpet will vary from user to user. In most cases, it will strip the carpet of whatever color and produce a white, orange, or yellowish hue. Depending on the material of your carpet, it might not even make a change at all.

As shown in a video earlier in this post, the change bleach can make in a carpet's appearance can range from little change at all to producing a disgusting orange hue.

For this reason, if you want to use bleach on a carpet, many would recommend only doing so if it is already white. Otherwise, you would be playing a guessing game. And, if it doesn't turn out the way you want it, you'll have irreversible effects on the carpet.

There are some ways to try and get rid of the stains bleach can produce. But, you'll most likely have to seek professional services to remedy the problem. It all boils down to if you think it's worth the risk.

Can You Mix Bleach and Carpet Cleaner?

A white bottle containing bleach

In theory, it can be possible to use bleach with a carpet cleaner. As one Clorox expert suggests, there are still some precautions you'll want to take before doing so. It all depends on the material of the carpet and the user instructions for the carpet cleaner.

Some may allow using bleach in the cleaner. Others will react negatively with it in the system. As you've seen above, the material will influence how it will turn out as far as looks go.

But, with so many warnings against using bleach on the carpet, you should save up and call professional cleaning services if you want to restore it to its previous condition. Otherwise, you will have to weigh the risk of performing this job.

For example, how expensive is your carpet? Do you care if bleach leaves uneven coloration throughout the floor? There's only so much furniture you can use to cover stains up. You'd also have to weigh the experts' opinions on this matter.

As we've seen above, even Clorox experts aren't too sure you can use bleach in a carpet cleaner successfully.

What To Do if You Bleach Your Carpet? [Accidentally Bleaching the Carpet]

Cleaner pressing the green cloth to use it for cleaning the carpet

Accidents happen. You could be cleaning something else with bleach - and some of it accidentally spills on the carpet. So, what can you do? 

It will depend on how recent the spill was. If the area is still wet, you'll need a way to rinse the bleach out. Run a towel under cold water and drip it across the bleached area. Mixing water with bleach will ensure it dilutes. Then, quickly grab a dry towel and blot the spot.

If the bleach has dried and left a stain, you can use a vinegar solution to try and wash it out. Start by mixing four cups of warm water with two tablespoons of white vinegar. Pour it over the stained area and let it sit for five minutes.

Then, rub the area until it disappears. To finish, drip cold water into the spot. Finally, blot the area until the towel absorbs no more moisture.

Final Takeaway

A man wearing slacks and gray sock while cleaning the carpet

While bleach might be the go-to answer for most stains, it can be troublesome for carpets. As we've found out, carpets will react differently to bleach. So, it's best to call cleaning services if you want to whiten your carpet. Otherwise, it's a guessing game that you most likely won't win.

Before you go, here are some other articles you might want to check out:

Can You Clean Hardwood Flooring With Bleach? Should You?

Should You Mop The Floor With Bleach?

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