Jul 25 2008

Salvaging bleach-stained pants

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I took a risk by buying a pair of damaged pants on eBay. These were dark black, long and maternity–exactly what I was seeking. This style of Gap pants came out earlier this year, and the pair seemed to be in good condition…

…except it had a bleach spatter near the waistband.

Bleach turns black cloth into a disgusting yellowy/orange color. It’s ugly and almost always ruins the item.

But, this stain was high enough in the pants that the seller thought a longer shirt would cover it no problem.

Since the “buy it now” price was $4.95 with free shipping, I decided to take a chance to see if I could salvage the pants.

I dug out my black Sharpie and doodled over the damage on both sides of the fabric. It was working! The black marker matched the pants close enough that it made the bleach mark much less noticeable.

It didn’t completely erase the appearance of damage. If you look closely, you can tell that there were spots.

But, I’m confident that it’s covered up enough for people to not notice. Plus, my shirts will probably cover the spot anyway–the Sharpie is just great back-up protection.

I don’t want the marker ink to bleed onto other clothes, so I’ll probably hand wash these pants. No biggie.

Saving a pair of dress pants from the dump (and for less than $5) is a great way for me to add to my maternity wardrobe without breaking my budget.

Check out other frugal ideas at Crystal’s blog.

P.S. In the photo, the pants almost look charcoal gray. They’re actually a dark black–the lighter appearance is just how my camera captured it.



13 Responses to “Salvaging bleach-stained pants”

  1. oh so smart–I agree that your shirt will probably cover it! I did the sharpie trick on a pair of inexpensive black shoes that scuffed (polish didn’t work for some reason)…you can’t tell unless you’re close enough to actually kiss my feet, and no one’s done that yet!

    Michelle’s last blog post..A Match Made in Heaven (or the allergists office)

  2. Pretty clever. Thanks for the tip as I’m about to go out and get some maternity pants/shorts (from the thrift store, of course). I’ll keep your sharpie trick in mind.

  3. If you toss the pants in (alone) with a cup of vinegar instead of detergent, it will set the color, and they’ll be safe to wash again with other things.

    Alternatively, if you want to be REALLYREALLY sure, let those pants sit in the sunlight for a day. Then vinegarize them.

    Amphritrite’s last blog post..$240 Saved So Far

  4. I haven’t tried this, but using a black Rub-a-Dub marker may work even better. They’re like Sharpies, but stay in fabric better when you wash it. We used to use them to label clothes when I was in Junior ROTC.

  5. Kacie,
    What if you bought some Rit dye and just re dyed them black? That may be a permanent solution. :) Great bargain!!

    MrsMoney’s last blog post..Proof of Payment from National City Everyday Rewards Visa!

  6. Good frugal idea :) I remember I ruined a shirt or two with bleach……never again! lol

    Zombie Money’s last blog post..2 more banks flop – First Heritage and First National Bank of Nevada

  7. Great cover-up job! And you’re right that it’s high enough, that it should be covered by a shirt.

    The other thing I was thinking was that people looove to stare at preggo bellies so most people will be concentrating on your size and probably making baby small talk to you. So they’d never even take the time to notice a spot. Ha! Enjoy all those random conversations with total strangers about breastfeeding, diapering, birthing, etc.

  8. That’s a great idea! Love the ideas of the other commentors. I’ll have to try the Rit Dye on some of my clothes that seem to somehow one by one get bleach spots on them.

  9. Vinegar is cheaper, but I thought I’d mention a solution I use. My mom quilts and uses Retayne to set dyes before cutting and sewing. I wash all of our bright and dark colored clothing in it before wearing. It helps keep things looking new and protects other items in the same load from being colored.

  10. Thank you! I cannot tell you how many times I have done this. I just need to get the right colored sharpie markers to match all of my pants.

  11. Gap pants are the best; they last forever!

    Have you worn these yet, Kacie? They seem very practical and versatile for pregnancy.

    Alyssa @ Keeping the Kingdom First’s last blog post..Tomorrow’s Coupon Preview: July 27th

  12. I like them so far! I haven’t had a chance to wear them yet. I’m not wearing any pants yet, really. It’s just too warm for that.

    Shorts and skirts and capris for a little bit longer, I think.

  13. Great work! I got my whole maternity wardrobe from thrift stores, and although I had to fix a few things here and there, I had a ton of stuff (no clothes burn-out at 8 months!), and spent about $100 total.

    Frugal Babe’s last blog post..Cloth Diapers Really Are The Frugal Way

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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