How To Whiten Yellowed or Bleached Wool

updated Jun 5, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

White or natural color wools can yellow for a number of reasons, ranging from age to the environment it’s stored in. If your wool has yellowed naturally or because of a bleach stain, don’t fear! You can bring it back.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

I recently took in a stray rug that had a pretty significant bleach stain. The stain was intimidating but the rug was really nice, so I was determined. I figured it couldn’t get any worse than it already was! To my total and utter amazement the stain came out —almost completely— and now you have to look really hard to find the area that was originally stained. The cleaning process is simple, it just takes a little patience.

What You Need


  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Water
  • Clean cloth
  • Small bowl


(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

It’s really important to remember that each stain is different, so the amount of hydrogen peroxide I used may not be the amount you’ll use. Start off with the recommended amounts, and repeat until you achieve the results you want. It will take time, but will be totally worth it in the end!

If you are spot cleaning a rug, be sure to protect your floors by placing plastic beneath the area where you will be working.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
  1. Mix approximately 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide into about one cup of water.
  2. Dip a clean rag into the mixture and saturate the yellowed area.
  3. Rinse by blotting with a clean, wet rag.
  4. After you’ve achieved the results you want, prop something up under the rug to allow air to flow under and around the rug to help speed up the drying process.

To take the yellow out of a garment

  1. Fill your sink with enough water to cover the garment
  2. Add approximately 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide per cup of water.
  3. Immerse the garment under the water and let it soak for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Repeat this process until the yellow has been removed (you may need to increase the amount of hydrogen peroxide you are using), then launder as usual.
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

The tiny amount of hydrogen peroxide I used started working on the rug, but didn’t give me the results I wanted. I repeated the steps, but kicked up the amount of hydrogen peroxide I was using to yield more intense results.

For the second round, I used about 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide to 3/4 cup of water. I saturated the stain, let it sit for about 2 hours, then rinsed it by blotting the area with water. I saw an improvement, but could still see yellow (photo below) in the rug. I decided to once again increase the amount of hydrogen peroxide I was using to see if the results would be more satisfying.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

This time I pulled out all the stops and used 3/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide to 1/4 cup water. I used the entire mixture to saturate the stain. I let the mixture sit on the stained area overnight (I did this in the afternoon, so it was probably more like 15 hours) and when I checked on it in the morning I was totally happy with the results (below). I gave the area one final rinse (water) and let it dry completely before placing it back in the room.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Good luck!

More great tips and tutorials: Cleaning Basics