Removing Dye Stains

by Carolanne Strong
(last updated February 8, 2016)

Dyes are made to do exactly what their name suggests; they alter colors. Because most dyes are liquid they soak in and penetrate whatever they touch, including things that you didn't intend it to come in contact with like clothes, curtains and rugs. Whether you were dyeing hair or dipping colorful Easter eggs, the results are the same if any of the dye finds its way onto an ill-fated item. You will be left with an unsightly spot that can be difficult to remove. Getting rid of a dye stain will take a few common laundry aids and a lot of scrubbing, but it is possible to remove the dye if you act quickly.

  1. Soak up moist dye before it has time to sink in. This is the most important step to getting dye out. If you wait too long, it may become permanent. Soak it up using a dry paper towel, and make sure to place a fresh area of the towel over the stain as soon as the area over the stain becomes saturated.
  2. Pre-treat. If you have stained an article of clothing, take it off and pre-treat it with a stain remover immediately. Vinegar and warm water may also help release the stain if you prefer and organic method, but you will have to scrub it in.
  3. Use an all-fabric bleach. After you have pretreated the stain, wash it with an all fabric bleach, but be careful. Even an all fabric bleach may leach out some of the original color if your fabric isn't color fast, so check the garment first by testing and inconspicuous area before you wash it. Also, you don't want any of the dye to transfer to another garment, so wash it alone.
  4. Check the stain before drying. Heat can set a stain in, so never place the damaged fabric in a dryer unless you are certain the stain has been removed. With a dye stain, the chances are pretty good that you will need to treat it several times before the stain disappears.
  5. Use a dye remover. Some stains can't be removed with the above methods. If all else fails, you may want to consider using a dye remover to take all of the color out of the fabric—stain included—and re-dying it. You can find dye removers, such as Rit, in most grocery stores on the cleaning and laundry supply aisles.

Author Bio

Carolanne Strong

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