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How to remove blue-jean dye from vinyl

Updated February 21, 2017

Blue-jean dye can transfer from jeans onto a vinyl surface with contact. Dark-wash jeans spread dye even after several washings, making dye transfer an ongoing problem. White and light-coloured vinyl shows the blue-jean dye more so than darker vinyl. Vinyl holds stains at the surface level rather than allowing the dye to sink into the material. Fortunately, dye held at the surface is easier to remove than a dye that permeates through a material.

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  1. Apply isopropyl alcohol to a white paper towel or white rag. Rub the stain from the outside edges toward the middle. Change the paper towel or rag frequently to avoid spreading removed dye. Continue to rub the blue-jean dye until the stain comes off the vinyl surface. Wipe the vinyl surface with a wet cloth to remove traces of alcohol residue.

  2. Wet a melamine-foam sponge with water and squeeze out as much water as possible if the stain remains. Rub the blue-jean dye with the melamine-foam sponge until it disappears.

  3. Spray the vinyl surface with plain water from a spray bottle if the dye is stubborn. Sprinkle 1 tsp powdered oxygenated bleach over the stain. Wet a rag and rub the stain beginning at the outer rim and working toward to the centre. Use various parts of the rag so you are always using a clean section.

  4. Apply a commercially available vinyl cleaner to the dye according to the manufacturer's label instructions if previous steps failed. Rub with a soft, white rag or white paper towels until the stain goes away. Some vinyl cleaners come ready to use, while others require dilution prior to application.

  5. Tip

    Lay a large towel over vinyl surfaces to protect them from blue-jean dye transfer.


    Test the vinyl surface for colour fastness in a hidden area to make sure the cleaning product will not discolour the vinyl. Avoid using coloured or printed paper towels or dyed rags because you may transfer dye from the paper towels or rags to the vinyl surface.

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Things You'll Need

  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • White rags or paper towels
  • Melamine-foam sponge
  • Spray bottle
  • Oxygenated bleach
  • Vinyl cleaner

About the Author

Sal Marco began writing professionally in 2009. He has written many online home improvement articles based on his more than 20 years of experience in the home improvement and building industries. He has worked as both part of a team and as a site supervisor. Marco has a Bachelor of Science in management science from Kean University.

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