How to Remove Hair Dye From Cotton Clothes

Written by kimbry parker
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How to Remove Hair Dye From Cotton Clothes
Treat hair dye stains at first sight for best results. (long hair image by Bettina Baumgartner from

Dyeing hair is a messy job. Whether you dye your own hair or you dye someone else's hair, it is not uncommon to find hair dye on your clothes when you are finished. If you get hair dye on your cotton shirt or trousers, don't panic. You don't need to throw out an otherwise good article of clothing just because of a hair dye stain. Be sure to remove hair dye from cotton clothing properly so you don't spread the dye further.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • White rags
  • Aerosol hairspray
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Turpentine or lighter fluid

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  1. 1

    Blot the hair dye stain with a rag to remove as much as possible. Blot from the outside of the spot working towards the centre and switch to clean portions of the rag often. Continue blotting until no more colour transfers from the clothing to the rag.

  2. 2

    Spray the hair dye stain with aerosol hairspray. Make sure to completely saturate the stain.

  3. 3

    Let the hairspray sit for about a minute. Moisten a clean white rag with rubbing alcohol and blot at the hair dye stain, working from the outside of the stain towards the centre. Switch to clean portions of the rag often and apply more alcohol as needed. Blot until the dye no longer lifts from the clothing to the rag.

  4. 4

    Rinse the stain under cool water. If the hair dye stain is gone, wash the garment as usual. If the stain is still present, proceed to the next step.

  5. 5

    Moisten a clean white rag with turpentine or lighter fluid. Dab at the spot until the stain has lifted completely. Rinse the clothing under cool water and wash as usual.

Tips and warnings

  • Make a paste of cream of tartar and lemon juice for an alternative dye removal method. Scrub the paste onto the stain with an old toothbrush, drizzle washing powder over the area and then wash the garment as usual.
  • Add ¼ cup chlorine bleach to the washer along with the washing powder if the cotton clothing is white.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is also effective at removing hair dye stains. Make sure to test for colour fastness as peroxide may bleach some clothing.
  • Always test the product you are using on a small area of the clothing to check for any colour changes or damage.
  • Turpentine and lighter fluid are highly flammable. Keep away from extreme heat and open flames.

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