When dye bleeds into a nice piece of clothing, you don’t have to throw it away. Although some dye stains don’t come out, you can try rubbing alcohol, a color run remover, or bleach to save your beloved clothing. As long as you don’t dry the stain, there’s always a chance your clothing can be saved.
EditCleaning with Rubbing Alcohol
- Purchase some rubbing alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol can be found in the medical section at any drug or general store. It can be used on all clothes, including ones that aren’t colorfast and bleed a lot in the wash. You can check for colorfastness by spraying part of the clothing with water, then pressing a white towel to it.
- Other products with a high alcohol content, such as hair spray or hand sanitizer, can also treat a dye stain.
- For leather clothing, use saddle soap.
- Dab the alcohol onto the dye stain. You’ll need something absorbent, such as an old rag, paper towel, or cotton ball. Lightly moisten it with the rubbing alcohol, then dab it onto the stain. Eventually, you’ll see the dye spread to the absorbent material. Removing the stain takes several applications of rubbing alcohol.
- Cover the stain with laundry detergent. Leave the rubbing alcohol on the clothing and pour a little detergent over it. Use a small amount of laundry detergent, and apply it until the dyed spot is thinly covered.
- Gently scrub the spot with a toothbrush. Be gentle to avoid damaging the fabric. An old toothbrush is a great tool, but if you don’t have one, you may use your finger. Spread the detergent around the dyed area and work it into the fibers.
- Rinse the clothing in warm water. Wash the clothing in clean water to remove the rubbing alcohol and detergent. This also washes away any dye the rubbing alcohol has removed.
- Launder the clothing. Move the clothing to your washing machine and clean it as you normally would. Once the stain is removed, you can dry the clothing. If multiple treatments of rubbing alcohol did not work, you will need to try harsher measures, such as bleach.
EditWashing out Dye
- Fill the sink with warm water. Add to the sink, bathtub, or other container. For most types of fabric, water is safe to use and will still encourage a dye stain to bleed out. You can use a thermometer to gauge the water temperature or wash the clothes in a washing machine instead of the sink.
- Use cold water when washing delicate clothing. Delicates are soft fabrics such as silk and lace. Cold water at or lower prevents damage to the fabric’s fibers. Cold water should also be used on dark, bright colors since they bleed a lot in warm water.
- Check the clothing’s label or search the type of fabric online to find out the proper maximum temperature for the water.
- You may put the clothing through a washing machine cycle instead of washing by hand.
- Pour in a color run remover product. Color run products are powder cleaners and can be found wherever laundry products are sold. Follow the directions on the back of the box. Typically you’ll need to pour a packet of cleaner into the water and wait for the powder to dissolve.
- Color remover products can take out too much dye, so be sure to read the directions. Make sure the product is diluted or dissolved in the water bath.
- Soak the clothing in water until the dye bleeds off. Fully submerge the dyed clothing in the bath and stir the water on occasion. You might want to wear some gloves or use a kitchen utensil to avoid coloring your hands. Leave the clothing in the bath for up to a couple of hours.
- Make sure the original colors of aren’t coming off too. If you notice that they are, immediately remove the clothing from the water.
- Rinse the clothing in warm water. The color remover will continue to work until you rinse it off. As soon as you take the clothing out of the water bath, get it under a faucet. Rinse off the entire fabric with water. If you’re treating delicates, use cold water instead.
- Repeat cleaning for stubborn stains. If your nice shirt is still looks like a tye-dye experiment, repeat the treatment. You can make another water bath with the color run remover. It may take multiple rounds of treatment to get rid of the dye. Stay alert so the normal color doesn’t bleed out while you do this.
- Wash the clothing normally. Treat the clothing like you would on any wash day. A washing machine with your normal detergent is safe to use. When finished, the stain should be gone, so the clothing will be safe to dry.
- Mix bleach in cold water. Fill up your sink or washing container with cold water. For every of water, add ¼ of a cup of bleach. For white cotton or cotton-polyester blends you may use chlorine bleach. Use oxygen bleach or all-fabric bleach on any other fabric.
- Bleach is very strong, so always dilute it in water instead of pouring it directly on clothing.
- Avoid mixing other cleaning chemicals with chlorine bleach, since doing so can cause the bleach to release toxic fumes.
- Soak your clothing for 5 minutes. Bleach can quickly wear out clothing, so don’t walk away. Drop the stained clothing in the water and let it sit for five minutes. When finished, remove the clothing from the bath.
- When using an all-fabric bleach, you may leave the clothing in the mixture for up to 30 minutes.
- As long as the bleach is diluted in water, it won’t burn your skin. Wear gloves or avoid lingering in the water. Rinse your hands afterwards.
- Rinse the clothing under clean water. Hopefully the dye began coming off right away. No matter what happened, rinse off the bleach immediately. Use warm water for most fabrics and cold water for delicates. Make sure you rinse the entire shirt to ensure all the bleach is removed from it.
- Launder the clothing. Move the dyed article to the washing machine. Now, wash it as you would on any other occasion. Your regular detergent is safe to use, and will disinfect the clothing as well as help to remove the dye stain.
- Repeat treatment if the clothing is still stained. Dye stains are tough, so one treatment may not be enough. Go back to the sink and refill it with the water and bleach mixture. Soak the clothing, then rinse and wash it a second time. As long as you go through all the steps each time, you can continue treating the clothing until the dye is gone.
- If this doesn’t work, a strong color remover might be your last resort. Look for ones designed to prepare clothing for dyeing. Unless you want all the color gone, save them for white fabrics.
- For the best results, treat dye stains as soon as possible
- Avoid drying dye-stained clothing. Heat drying in particular causes the stain to set in and should only be done after the stain is gone.
EditThings You’ll Need
EditWashing out Dye
- Color run remover
- Washing machine or tub
- Chlorine or all-fabric bleach
- Sink or tub
- Washing machine
EditCleaning with Rubbing Alcohol
- Rubbing alcohol
- Rag, paper towels, or cotton balls
- Old toothbrush
- Washing machine