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How to get dye stains out of clothes

Dye stains can be one of the trickiest forms of stain to remove. This is due to most dyes being made of permanent or semi-permanent ingredients designed to stay put on fabrics, hair and other materials. There are many different ways to attempt a dye removal from fabric, each best suited to a particular kind of fabric and colour. With so many choices for dye removal, your dye stain will be gone in no time.

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  1. Examine the fabric to see how fresh the stain is. The fresher the stain, the easier it will be to remove. Examine the tag located on the inside of the garment and note the kind of fabric and the preferred method of washing.

  2. Choose your stain remover based on the colour of the stain and the type of fabric. Stain removers with bleach should only be used on white fabrics. Make sure to keep harsh chemicals away from delicate fabrics. Natural remedies work best on delicate clothing.

  3. Apply your chosen stain remover to the stain and let sit for at least five minutes. Rit Dye Remover or Oxyclean are both very effective on dye stains. Brush the stain remover into the fabric and launder according to the clothing label. If the stain is still present, then repeat the steps again. Dye stains can often require multiple times to remove all traces of the dye.

  4. Spray the dye stain with hairspray and then let it dry completely. Mix a solution of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water and brush it onto the stain and hairspray. Rinse with clean water until the stain lifts. It may be necessary to repeat the process more than once.

  5. Mix a solution of 1/2 laundry detergent and 1/2 vinegar. Mix into the stain with the soft brush. For white clothes, follow with a solution of 1 part bleach to 4 parts water. Rinse with cool water and launder as usual.

  6. Tip

    Blot a dye stain with rubbing alcohol as soon as it is noticeable to eliminate most of the stain. This will make other dye removal methods more effective. Dye stains can be removed from wool and cotton clothing with turpentine. Dye stains on synthetic fabrics can be removed with hydrogen peroxide; however, it can damage coloured fabric.


    Undiluted bleach can seriously damage skin and clothing. Be sure to wear old clothing along with latex gloves when attempting a dye removal. If regular-strength stain remover is left too long on clothing it can also damage clothing colours. Leave stain removers on fabric no longer than the recommended time specified on the bottle.

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Things You'll Need

  • White towel
  • Bleach
  • Oxyclean
  • Soft brush
  • Warm water
  • Vinegar
  • Laundry detergent
  • Rit Dye Remover or Fixative
  • Hairspray
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Turpentine
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Old clothing
  • Latex gloves

About the Author

Brenda Priddy has more than 10 years of crafting and design experience, as well as more than six years of professional writing experience. Her work appears in online publications such as Donna Rae at Home, Five Minutes for Going Green and Daily Mayo. Priddy also writes for Archstone Business Solutions and holds an Associate of Arts in English from McLennan Community College.

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