Removing Dye Transfers from Clothing

One of the more frustrating and difficult clothing stains you can encounter is dye transfer. This is a guide about removing dye transfer stains from clothing.

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Picture of a red striped shirt in a washer.
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I have two Ralph Lauren two toned dresses. One with blue in the middle and the other purple. Both dresses are cream on the sides. They are a polyester material. The instructions say machine wash separately cold, which I did. They came out great, but some how, from the car to my house, the blue dye has run on the sides of both dresses. I did however carry them in together. I am thinking that's how it transferred. Please help, how can I get it out?

dye on light fabric
    Removing Fabric Dyed That Transferred on Dress
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    I accidentally put my husband's white bowls shirt in the wash with a new black pair of pants. So now the white shirt is a nice shade of blue. How do I get it white again?

    By Margaret S from Lal-Lal Australia

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    Best Answer

    Can the shirt be bleached? If not, and his shirt has to be white right away, you'll probably need to buy him a new one. I once washed a white tablecloth with a dark burgundy one, and for a long time, I had a nice pearly pink tablecloth. Eventually, as I washed it, it faded back to white, but you'll probably wear the shirt out by washing it.

    When my son changed jobs, from waiting tables to working in a bank, he had a bunch of white shirts from his waiter job. I dyed them all blue to give him new shirts for the bank, which saved him a lot of money. Maybe your husband can wear the "new" blue shirt for something else?

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    I have a one piece blouse that looks like a white tank top with a wine colored jacket. The jacket ran so now the tank portion is pink. Any fix to this?

      AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      You could try fabric paint on the formerly white part or sew white lace onto that portion?

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      A while ago I washed a bunch of grey and black shirts together. One black shirt had red lettering on it so it ran on the grey shirt and now it is pink. How do I get the red dye out of the grey shirt? It is not a plain grey shirt as it has black and white designs on it.

        AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        Colour catchers catch loose dyes in your wash water and prevent dyes from running or bleeding into each other. You can wash lights and darks together to save time and money by reducing the need for half size loads. Just cut up white fabric or felt pieces, soak in a solution of 1 cup of hot water and 1 Tbsp. of washing soda; mix well. Saturate white rags and let dry. Then add to your wash. Always test first.

        By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario

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        I washed "hand wash only" dresses on the gentle cycle and tossed in a new dress, black and white tie-dyed, that was never washed before. It bled on all the dresses, really badly on an ombre pink colored tube dress and a pair of gauze material palazzo pants that are cream. How do I get the black/grey streaks out? They are currently soaking in cool water with laundry detergent and vinegar. Please help.

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          You might also look for a product from Rit that is supposed to work to take out dye transfered in the wash.

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          I washed my whites with a couple of light green cold wash items and all of my whites turned a dull yellowish color. How do I get my whites, white again?

          By SJ

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          What is bluing

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          I washed my daughter's new white jeans in alongside a pink face cloth. The jeans are pink. Please help, she is gonna kill me.

          By Brenda

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          Rit brand makes a color remover. My husband turned my favorite sweatshirt pink once, and I washed it with the Rit color remover (making sure to follow directions), and my sweatshirt came out great!

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          I accidentally ruined my daughter's favorite delicate light pink shirt. Somehow, I managed to get blue streaks of dye all over it. I tried stain remover, but the dye didn't budge. I did not dry it in the dryer, thank God! But it did sit in the laundry room for a couple of weeks thinking I would have to trash it. I decided I didn't have anything to lose so I researched and did a combination of different recommendations.

          I applied rubbing alcohol, nothing happened. Directly over the alcohol, I applied white vinegar, still nothing. I filled the bathroom sink with hot water and dissolved 1/2 cup of Tide, 1/2 cup of Borax detergent booster, a big splash of rubbing alcohol, a big splash of white vinegar, and small splash of regular Clorox bleach. The blue dye instantly vanished!

          Now, it is in the wash with cold water and Woolite. I am sure my daughter will be thrilled!

            Editor's Note: Use caution when mixing household cleansers with other substances, especially bleach. Toxic gasses are easily created, which could cause injury. Read all labels first.


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            I accidentally washed my brand new multicolored bikini with hot water and new black shorts in the washer. Not only did the shorts bleed, obviously, but my new swimsuit is not stained, but the whole thing has a much darker obviously dingy color to it. I did not put in the dryer, but it did air dry. I rewashed it by hand and soaked with Oxiclean for 2 days! How do I get the stain out?

              AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

              I believe there is a product you can get to take the colour out of garments like this. Perhaps you could google for info, or go onto the website of companies that make cleaning products or dyes - like Rit, Johnson & Johnson, etc.

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              I washed my curtains and forgot I had a pair of black jeans in the washing machine. Now they have gone like a grey colour. How can I get them back to the right colour?

                AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

                Try Rit color remover dye (if they were white)

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                Hey guys, the best tip ever is too simple. You just need to rub a lemon on the stain and it actually vanishes :) So no more worries.

                By Sana from Mumbai, Maharashtra

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                A white blouse got washed with a red one. How do you get the pink out?

                By Pat B.

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                Try soaking it in hydrogen peroxide. May take several times.

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                I wonder if some lovely lady is able to help me. I bought a dress which is black with white trim on the collar and on the leg of the dress. I used Colour Catcher sheets in the wash and the white parts have still turned grey. Is there anything I can use to either turn the grey bits of the dress back to white again or is there a way of turning the grey parts black so the whole dress will be black?
                Any advice would be appreciated. It's my favourite dress. I have never had one fit me so well. I've tried to buy another, but it's been sold out for months.
                It is made from 90% polyester and 10% rayon.
                Thank you in advance.

                By Kimberley26

                AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

                If your efforts are not fruitful to return the grey parts to their white color, you could buy some white bias tape and cover the trim with that, or any similar white fabric would work, as well. If it is trimmed with larger pieces (perhaps even an entire collar or pocket), you may have to remove the trim and replace it, proceed according to your own sewing skills, or have a professional make these replacements.

                Failing that, you can find fabric markers in department stores and fabric stores, and they come in black, generally, so you should be able to use one of those to cover all the white/grey trim with black color that way. It may take several applications to make a dark enough color, and to make it come out even, but you should be able to make it work. It may also require re-application after washing.

                Finally, I would be tempted to just leave it and wear it as is, as who could tell it wasn't supposed to be grey in the first place (unless it is really uneven)?

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                A few of my husband's tall white socks and white under tees were accidentally mixed in with a load of denim. This load contained at least 4 pairs of new dark-wash jeans. He is embarrassed at work for people to see them. They are brand new, so I cannot just trash them. I have tried bleaching the dickens out of them a few times in a few loads of whites. So far- no luck :(

                By Carey Ann

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                Well, in our house... hose would become my t shirts and socks. Keep washing them with the whites and bleach-and line dry them in the sun. It will take a few times, but they will lighten up. You can also speed up the process by using Rite dye remover. Don't use the dryer-heat sets dyes.

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                I washed a pair of my hubby's jeans with a burgundy cotton twill chair cover. The dye ran out of the cover unto the jeans; what a mess! I pulled the cover out and washed the jeans separately and they seemed OK so I put them in the dryer. When I removed them, his jeans are pinky blue. He is going to kill me since he just bought them.

                By Jo-Ann from Sarnia, ON

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                Hello : ) I have no idea when your post was made, so this may be of no help for you. : (

                I've had good luck getting that accidental "pink" out of jeans by soaking them in barely warm bleach water in a bucket for a few minutes. It will require careful patience and up to about 30 minutes. The bleach works faster in hot water and it is very hard to gauge what is happening, warm water is much safer.

                Wet the pants

                Add 1/4 cup of bleach to a bucket of warm water

                Stir

                Lower the pants into the bucket slowly, so they are not getting crinkled before they are soaked in the bleach solution.

                Check and stir by swishing up, down and sideways every few minutes, set your timer!

                You will notice the pink leaving.

                When gone, rinse, rinse, rinse, put 1/2c. white vinegar in the 2nd rinse.

                Spin out in washer, dry as usual. ;)

                ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

                On a night out I managed to ruin my favourite white tee. Long story short, I had a wristband on that bleeds when it gets wet; the wristband bled bright red dye all over my white shirt. Someone please help me! I've tried using strain remover, bi carb soda, vinegar, and a strain remover spray. The strain wont budge. Help!

                By Cassie

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                1/4 cup bleach, hot water for a few minutes in a bucket. Keep an eye on it, so you don't forget and leave it too long. Should take between 5 and 20 minutes.

                ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

                I washed my son's white football jersey last night with a few other items (that have been washed hundreds of times). My bright pink tank top decided to bleed for the first time ever and it bleed onto my son's white football jersey, as well as, a pair of plaid shorts, and a pair of light brown/khaki shorts. I did not dry the jersey, I always hang his jerseys to dry, but the other items were dried in the dryer.

                How do I get the pink splotches out of his new white jersey (it's just the beginning of the season). There are random pink lines/spots all over his jersey. The only color items on it originally are the school name and his name/number which are kinda like an heat press/iron on type sticker/stuff and they are black and gold.

                Is it possible to remove the pink dye from my two pairs of shorts?

                By Carrie L.

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                I just did the same thing to my sons brand new bright white jersey! My fear is using bleach and the lettering or number fade. Also only the mesh part is pink the top collar and strip are satiny material and fine. Please anyone who has had this problem I would love your suggestions

                ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

                Peach shirt with stains.I have a peach color 100% cotton t-shirt. The cloth is stretchable and it's tag asks not to bleach. It had gotten several blue stains over it and I came to know about them after it was dried after the wash. How do I remove these stains?

                By Deshna from India

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                I splashed myself with wash water while rinsing the dye out of a t shirt my son tie-dyed at camp. I had large dark splotches on a coral colored cotton blouse.

                I am very happy to report that the rubbing alcohol treatment worked perfectly.

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                I have washed a white cotton sweater and it came out of the washer with pink blotches. Is there anything I can do to remove the color?

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                Home and Garden Cleaning Clothing StainsJuly 26, 2011
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