How to remove bleeding colours from clothing

Dye transfer stains occur when fabric dye bleeds from one garment and stains another garment. If the stained item is placed in the dryer it may be difficult to remove the stain. Quick action, using appropriate supplies and techniques helps you remove the colour bleed stain altogether. When removing the colour bleed stain, you want to remove only the stain without bleaching or damaging the original colours.

Dampen your dye-stained garment. Pour heavy duty washing powder on the colour bleed stain and rub it into the fabric fibres to help remove the stain. Allow the washing powder to sit on the stain for 10 to 15 minutes.

Flush the colour bleed stained area with cool water. As the water runs over the fabric, rub the fibres together to help remove the detergent and the loosened stain.

Mix 118 ml (1/2 cup) all-fabric bleach in a 3.8 litre (1 gallon) sized bucket of cool water. Soak your colour bleed stained garment for 30 minutes in the diluted bleach solution. All-fabric bleach is safe to use on all colours of fabric and helps to get rid of the colour bleed stain.

Remove your garment from the bucket of bleach solution. Launder the clothing in cool water with washing powder and another 118 ml (1/2 cup) all-fabric bleach. Look closely at your clothing, before placing it in the dryer, to make sure all the fabric dye transfer stain has been removed.


Try a commercial brand of colour run remover for severely stained clothing. Colour removing kits can be purchased at a fabric and craft shops or in a department store's sewing supply or laundry sections. Follow package directions. Wash white and light-coloured clothing by itself to avoid accidental colour bleed stains from darker clothing.


Once a colour-bleed-stained garment is placed in the dryer, it may be impossible to get the stain out.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy duty washing powder
  • Bucket
  • 237 ml (1 cup) all-fabric bleach
  • Colour run remover (optional)
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.