Ideas for Renewing a Stained T-Shirt

Dear Home-Ec 101,
I have a grey t-shirt that has significant memories and it has a grease blotch or something in it. Not sure, honestly. I’ve tried everything to remove it and give up. The stain is above the belly button location. So an odd place. However, I wondered how I might make a bleach design that would cover the lower half of the shirt.
Any ideas?
Crafty in Cranston

what to do with stained tshirts

Heather says:

Thank you for understanding that sometimes stains are permanent. As frustrating as that can be, sometimes there is no way to remove it.

I’m not exactly the crafty type, but I think you can do something called a mask and spray the shirt with a 50 / 50 bleach mixture to make some pretty cool upcycled shirts.

A quick search on Google gave me this easy project that just requires freezer paper, an iron, bleach, water, and a spray bottle. (And an artistic hand, you won’t find that here, hopefully you can print out a template or something to trace, this girl can barely draw a stick figure.)

Learn more: How To Use Bleach Safely

I looked up “bleach designs on shirt” on Pinterest, because seriously, where else do you go for crafty and DIY ideas?

My advice would be to make sure the stain lies in an area where the color is transitioning so it’s less obvious. The mottling would do more to hide a stain than if you removed all the color and the stain remained.

And of course, you know I was attracted to this one.

Who wouldn’t want a bleached t-shirt with a Tardis? I mean, really, who?

how to remove stains from clothes

Click the picture for more tips!

I’m pretty sure I can hear Jenn Fowler and Melanie Nelson *squeeing* from here and neither of them are the type to squee.

Good luck with your stained shirt. I hope this idea works out. If not, you could always save it and other t-shirts with memories to turn into a quilt or wall-hanging.

Submit your questions to


  1. Lindsey McCollum on January 24, 2013 at 12:26 am

    My husband works in the plant that makes Wesson Oil. Needless to say, many of his work clothes come home with LOTS of oil spots on them. I’ve found Shout Advanced Gel works pretty well. Treat & scrub it in really well. Wait at least 10 min. then wash on the warmest setting the shirt will take. Most will come out on the 1st try. Good luck!

  2. Andrea on January 23, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    I’ve never seen anyone request you not pin the image but instead go to the site and pin it. That is so classy. Kudos to you.

    • Heather Solos on January 30, 2013 at 5:07 am

      That’s very sweet. I try to be respectful of other people’s work.

      I’m sorry the spam filter ate your comment and I just now saw it. So insomnia has at least one upside.

  3. Lisa on January 23, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    You can use bleach pens too. Pinterest or google should show tutorials.

  4. Melanie on January 23, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    I’ve made bleach shirt! (Yes, on purpose.) But I hadn’t see the TARDIS idea. That is going on my craft list immediately! Thanks for the link! SQUEE! 😉

  5. Anna on January 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    I have been meaning to bring this up to you recently, actually. My son had a cute, cute shirt with OJ stains on it. It was a blue shirt and a dalmation patch sewn on it. The OJ, of course, was on the dalmation.
    Boil water, remove from heat, add a scoop of Oxyclean (be careful, it will react and bubble up). Drop your fabric into the solution, and wait ten minutes or so. It worked perfectly! So, I don’t know if it will work on a grease stain, but it’s worth a try.

  6. Kristi C on January 23, 2013 at 9:51 am

    If you’re doing bleach projects, I have used a Bleach Stop product at the end (a quick Google search brought up – bleach does not stop “bleaching” after just a rinse in water, FYI.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.