How to Get Red Dye Out of Towels

Dye creates some of the most tenacious stains, and red dye's bright colour shows more visibly than stains from neutral-coloured dyes. A wide range of products make use of red dye, and all of them hold great stain-causing potential. Food products, make-up, permanent markers, and the ever-stubborn red hair dye can stain towels under the right circumstances. The first reaction for a lot of people when they notice red dye on a towel is to wipe it with warm water, but doing so will only smear and set the stain. Getting red dye out of towels requires careful handling procedures.

Blot wet stains with a rag or paper towel. Avoid rubbing or wetting the stain, and do not use soap to try to clean it.

Inspect the washing directions of the towel's tag to see if it is safe to use bleach on the towel.

Mix 1/4 cup of bleach with 1 gallon of cool water if the towel can be bleached. Mix 1 cup of ammonia with 1 gallon of cool water if the towel cannot be bleached.

Moisten a rag with the cleaning solution. Dab the cleaning solution on an inconspicuous corner of the towel and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Check if the cleaning solution discoloured the towel. If so, take the towel to a professional cleaner if you do not want to risk further damage to the towel.

Clean the red dye off the towel using the cleaning solution. Soak the towel in the bleach cleaning solution for 30 minutes.

Stretch the dyed portion of the towel taut over a bucket if using the ammonia cleaner. Pour the ammonia cleaner slowly over the red dye, keeping the bucket underneath to collect the solution as it passes through the towel. Continue until all the solution is gone. Create more of the solution if the red dye still appears vibrant after the first cleaning.

Wash the towel using a cool water setting. Inspect the towel for remaining red dye prior to drying the towel. If any dye remains, clean the towel with more of the appropriate cleaning solution before drying it.


Applying heat to the red dye, either through drying or through the use of warm water, can cause the stain to set.

Things You'll Need

  • Rag or paper towel
  • 1/4 cup bleach
  • 1 cup ammonia
  • Bucket
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About the Author

Brad Chacos started writing professionally in 2005, specializing in electronics and technology. His work has appeared in, Gizmodo, "PC Gamer," "Maximum PC,",, "Wired,", and more. Chacos is a frequent contributor to "PCWorld," "Laptop Magazine" and the Intuit Small Business Blog.