Close up of fabric covered in tie-dye.

How to Get Rid of Fabric Dye Stains

Accidentally dipped your sleeve in the tub while making tie dye tops with the kids? Found a suspicious blue spot on your t-shirt after re-dyeing your jeans? Fabric dye is a great way to revamp your clothes, but sometimes there are unexpected casualties in the fight for vibrant colour. Never fear: dye stain removal can seem tricky, but with the right know-how, it’s a breeze.

How to remove dye stains from your clothes

When you’re picking a method for dye removal from clothes, you’ll need to consider which product is a good match for your fabric. Read the labels on both before you start, and remember to test any new cleaning products on an out-of-sight area first!

Dye stain removal on white clothes

Fabric dye stains can look pretty dramatic on a pale backdrop, but removing dye from clothes that are white can actually be easier than dealing with the same problem on coloured clothes. This is because you can be a bit more aggressive.

Depending on the type of fabric you’re dealing with, there are a couple of approaches you might try:

  1. Non-chlorine bleach. Bleach is a very effective dye remover, but it’s too powerful for some delicate fabrics, so be sure to check the garment care label for the bleach symbol if you’re tempted to use it.

    If you’re good to go, you can either rewash the stained clothes in the machine with a cup of bleach added to the cycle, or add a cup of bleach to a tub of cool water and soak the clothes in this solution for a few hours before washing as usual. Follow the instructions on the product packaging for detailed dosage and safety guidance.

  2. Omo Auto Washing Liquid. Fill a basin with hot water – the hottest water your fabric can handle – and mix in a dose of Omo Auto Washing Liquid or powder. Soak your clothes for at least half an hour (up to three) before washing in the machine. Wash at the highest temperature you can without damaging your clothing. If the stain is still there after the wash, repeat the process.

Regretting giving a new top a psychedelic twist? These methods are good options if you’re wondering how to get tie dye out of clothes – since you’re soaking the item, you can remove the whole pattern at once. 

Dye removal from clothes in other colours

You can use the methods above on coloured fabrics as well, but you should be cautious – bleach in particular can end up stripping out more dye than you intended. Check the label before you begin. If you can’t bleach or soak your clothes, one of these options might be for you:

  1. Stain removers. There are many commercial stain treatments designed specifically for dye stain removal – look for one that’s safe for coloured fabrics and follow the instructions on the packaging.

  2. Solvents. A solvent like rubbing alcohol can be a good way to remove dye stains if your garment is not colour fast. Apply the solvent to a white cloth and begin to dab at the stain – you should see the dye stain start to come away onto the cloth. Once it’s mostly gone, rinse in warm water before washing as normal. You can repeat this method until the stain is completely gone.

That’s all there is to it! Now you know how to remove dye stains from all manner of different fabrics. Want to find out more? There are plenty more tips on dye stain removal here.

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