How to remove dye out of clothes

Updated April 17, 2017

Dye stains can seem like one of the most hopeless stains to remove from clothes since the substance is pigmented and meant to permanently alter the colour of an object. Removing dye stains from clothing can be done if you work quickly--the longer the dye sits, the deeper it penetrates into clothing fibres. Stain removal is a science and can be done effectively when the process is followed precisely. Dye stains, especially, require a gentle touch and patience to prevent worsening the stain.

Apply enough heavy-duty washing powder onto a white cloth to thoroughly moisten it. Press the cloth onto the dye stain and gently dab it until the stain is completely covered in the detergent.

Let the detergent soak into the stain for 15 to 30 minutes. Dampen a second clean white cloth with warm water, then blot it onto the stain until it removes all of the detergent.

Fill a bathtub or deep sink with 4 gallons of warm water. Pour in the contents of a 56.7gr. packet of commercial colour remover, then agitate the water to evenly distribute the colour remover.

Transfer the stained clothing into the water-and-colour-remover mixture. Leave the clothing in the mixture for 30 minutes or until the dye is lifted out of the fabric.

Move the clothing into your washing machine and wash it in hot water with a capful of heavy-duty washing powder. Let the clothing air dry to prevent further weakening the fabric after all the contact with chemicals.


You can purchase commercial colour remover in the cleaning section of a grocery store or hardware store. If you're only removing dye stains from white clothing, you can soak them for 30 minutes in a combination of 1 gallon of water and 1/4 cup of liquid chlorine bleach instead of the commercial colour remover.


Always read the clothing's care label before attempting to remove dye stains to ensure you don't permanently damage the clothing during the stain removal process. Never used coloured cloths for stain removal or the coloured fibres of the cloth could mix with the dye stain and further discolour the clothing.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy-duty washing powder
  • 2 white cloths
  • 4 gallons warm water
  • 56.7gr. packet commercial colour remover
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About the Author

Allison Boelcke graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's in English and a minor in psychology. She worked in print journalism for three years before deciding to pursue Internet writing. She is now a contributing web writer for Demand Studios and Conjecture Corporation.