How to Whiten Yellowed Nylon


Sue asked: How do I get a white, nylon jacket white again? I have a white nylon jacket that looks yellowed. I would like to try to get it white again.

Nylon will turn  yellow over time even when given the best of care. There are several methods to remove the yellowing. In some cases, nature can work better than almost any cleaning product. Here’s a time-honored solution that has worked for generations along with a proven cleaning mixture. Both will remove the yellowing without damaging the nylon fabric.

Using Lemon and Sunshine

You Will Need:

  • Lemon juice
  • Spray bottle
  • Bright sunshine

Steps to Remove the Yellowing:

  1. Pour the lemon juice in the spray bottle. Do not dilute.
  2. Spray the yellow spots thoroughly with lemon juice. Soak them if you can.
  3. Hang the jacket outside in bright sunshine. The acid from the lemon juice will work with the sun to create a safe, natural bleaching agent.
  4. Direct sunlight works best. During winter time when the sun doesn’t get as high in the sky, you may need to experiment during peak afternoon hours for the most sun possible.
  5. Depending on the thickness of your fabric, the jacket will whiten from within 30 minutes to a couple of hours.
  6. As soon as the stain is gone, get the jacket out of the sun. You don’t want to weaken the fabric by leaving it out there too long.
  7. If you see progress but the stains do not disappear, repeat the process. If there’s no progress, see the “additional tips and advice” section for another idea.

Using Bleach to Whiten

You Will Need:

  • Hot water
  • Bleach
  • Vinegar (optional)
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Bucket (plastic)
  • Washing machine

Steps to Remove the Yellowing:

  1. Fill a non-metal bucket with one gallon of hot water, ¼ cup bleach, 1 teaspoon of vinegar (optional) and ½ cup of dishwasher detergent.
  2. Mix the ingredients together.
  3. Place the yellowed nylon piece into the solution and allow it to soak for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the garment and dispose of the liquid.
  5. Wash the garment as usual in the washing machine.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • The lemon juice method works great with jackets or other items that aren’t machine washable.
  • If preferred, you can simply wash the jacket with OxiClean. In most cases, this will remove the stain.
  • Rit makes a whitening product that can be used to remove discolorations from clothing. Follow the directions on the package. Rit products can be found in the laundry aisle with the clothing dyes.



  1. Linda says:

    Having an extensive wardrobe, I found numerous items “yellow” or stained from nonwearing of all fabrics. I live in Florida and have found that by simply storing “whites” in ziplock bags with the air squeezed out as much as possible has stopped the discoloration.

    If I did not take the time to do this, I have found that taking a spray bottle and filling it with hydrogen peroxide (from the drug store) and spraying the discoloration makes it disappear almost immediately. I then launder as usual and it is good as new (I have had excellent results, especially on my undergarments – really old stains/discoloration), that nothing else even attempted to remove the discoloration.

  2. Linda says:

    I have not found the peroxide to discolor any neutral colors. I used it on a Coldwater Creek jacket, winter white and very expensive. Took the stain right out and it’s good as new. My theory, can’t wear it like it is, “what do you have to lose?”

  3. Sis Sams says:

    What about white nylon fabric on boots that have a suede shoe?

  4. Maggie says:

    I have a 38-year-old baby dress, made of 100 % nylon. It was made in Europe. It has yellowed all over. How can I whiten this without damaging it? It was my daughter’s, and now she would like it for her daughter too. Thank you in advance for any advice you can give me. Maggie :)

  5. Nadine says:

    I have a rich winter white wool jacket that has become very yellowed. It is dry clean only. How can I remove the yellow without ruining the jacket?

  6. Nadine says:

    Maggie, I would soak it in lemon juice and hang it in the sun for a few hours. That should remove the yellow.

  7. Melanie says:

    Lay the jacket on a plastic trash bag and use a sponge to blot the wool with a diluted peroxide mixture or diluted white vinegar. Consider having the jacket dry cleaned professionally afterward or blot the jacket with clean water. If you choose to risk dry cleaning the wool yourself to remove the peroxide or vinegar, fill a sink with cool water and a bit of mild detergent, such as Woolite, or liquid dish soap, gently move the jacket in the water and then squeeze (do not wring) the water out of the wool. Lay the jacket flat on a towel and press the remaining water out with a lint-free paper towel.

    Source: – How to Whiten Yellowed Wool
    Source: – How to Wash Dry Clean Only Clothing
    Source: – How to Remove Stains from Dry Clean Only Fabrics

  8. Tim says:

    This is stupid advice. Do not trust anything this website says – do not use chlorine bleach with ANY fabric containing even the smallest percent of man-made fibers unless you want them to turn even more yellow! Bleach turns all man-made fibers an icky yellow in a chemical reaction between the materials and the chlorine. Man-made fibers that do this are anything from polyester, nylon, polyamide, rayon, etc.

  9. Holly says:

    Peroxide on wool is a huge mistake. OxiClean tells you not to use it on wool for exactly that reason. Protein fibers like wool and silk do not do well with bleaches. You can test if a fabric is 100% wool by putting a square in a glass of bleach; over a few days, all of the wool will have completely dissolved! So, don’t bleach your wool. The lemon juice thing actually works and works very well. I do historic events, which means I wear a lot of long linen and wool dresses. The hems get dirty and discolored (sometimes from iron in the soil) and the only thing that works is lemon juice. On linen, it’s down right amazing; on wool, it’s a little less effective depending on the stain, but usually will at least fade it. I spray on the lemon and lay it out in the sun on my hedge.

  10. K. Ray says:

    I tried the bleach, dishwashing soap and vinegar trick. It made my overall yellowed garment more yellow! I have two of these Eileen Fisher tops and it’s easy to see the difference. Don’t do it!
    However, check this out! Since the garment was more yellow than before and for me rendered useless, I decided to experiment with lemon. I had a cut lemon handy and squeezed it directly onto the wet garment. I could see the yellow disappear before my eyes! I quickly squeezed the juice from 3 additional lemons and massaged the lemon throughout the garment evenly. Amazing! I am sitting at my desk and looking at the garment on the patio in the sun and it looks amazing! I am going to wait, wash, dry and then compare to the identical garment that was not treated. results posted shortly.

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