Re-dyeing your old clothes is a brilliant way to brighten them up and give them a new lease of life. But when you’re soaking your clothes in the tub, it’s all too easy for your sleeve to slip down and into the solution. If you’ve had an accident with fresh fabric dye, don’t worry: removing dye stains from clothes can be simple. Let’s get to it!
Before you start removing dye stains from clothes…
There’s more than one way to remove dye stains from clothes. To pick the best option, be sure to:
- Read the labels. Labels exist for situations like this! Give your garment’s care label a quick scan to find out if there are any stain removal methods you need to avoid, and read any laundry product labels too.
- Test your method. Dab a tiny amount of your stain removal solution onto a hidden area of your garment to try it out – if you see no damage, feel free to tackle that dye stain.
How to get dye stains out of white clothes
There’s no ignoring a splash of fabric dye on a white t-shirt, but removing it might be simpler than you think. Since you don’t have to worry about keeping any original dye in place, you can afford to be a little aggressive. Here’s how to remove dye stains from clothes that are white:
- Non-chlorine bleach. First things first, check the care label for the bleach symbol. If the triangle is crossed out, skip to the next option. If not, you can either:
- Add a cup of bleach to the detergent drawer of your washing machine, and then wash the stained garment on the usual setting.
- Soak the item in a solution of bleach and water for a few hours, before washing as usual with your regular detergent.
Top tip: Bleach is very effective – but it’s also very strong. Read the product label carefully before you start using it, and follow any dosing and safety guidelines to the letter.
- Surf excel Liquid Detergent. Soak the item in a solution of Surf excel Liquid Detergent and hot water for 1-3 hours, then wash at a high temperature. Make sure you read the garment care label first to find out how much heat the fabric can take!
How to get rid of dye stains on clothes that are dark, or coloured
You might be able to use bleach to remove dye stains from clothes that aren’t white, but it’s less likely – look out for the bleach symbol on the care label to be sure. If bleach isn’t an option, our colourfastness test can tell you if soaking the garment in water and Surf excel is a better idea.
No luck? Try the following:
- Rubbing alcohol. Apply a few drops of rubbing alcohol to a clean, white cloth and gently dab at the stain. It should start to fade almost immediately. Once the stain has disappeared, rinse the garment in lukewarm water, then wash at the maximum temperature recommended on the care label.
- Commercial stain removers. Some stain removal products are specially designed to remove dye stains from clothes. Try to find one that’s suitable for dark and coloured items, and read the instructions on the product label before you start.
A note on drying: your first attempt at dye stain removal might not work, in which case it’s best to try again while the garment is still wet. If you can’t see any dye stains when you first take your garment out of the wash, leave it to dry naturally and check it regularly to be totally certain. It’s best not to use a tumble dryer to dry a garment that might still be stained, as the heat will help set the dye permanently.
Now that you know how to get rid of dye stains on clothes, why not try tie-dyeing some sheets and t-shirts with your kids? You’ll be able to handle any rogue dye stains with ease, after all!