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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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Solutions

Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

By 6 found this helpful
May 22, 2014

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.

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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.


Comment Was this helpful? 6
Anonymous
June 4, 20160 found this helpful
Top Comment

I washed a white cotton and black print belt (from a matching dress), the black ran into the white. I tried the above solution, and it got the dye out of the white really well, but turned the black dyed pattern to brown! (Well that's what bleach does). I'm fine with that though, now I will wash the dress the same way (and turn that brown and white) and I'm back to a matching dress and belt again!!

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May 26, 20170 found this helpful

White shirt with red collar.

CommentPin It! Was this helpful? Yes

It is incredibly frustrating to have a shirt with a contrasting collar that bleeds all over the rest of the shirt the first time you wash it. This is a guide about red collar bleeding on white shirt.

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By 3 found this helpful
June 26, 2012

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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Anonymous
April 9, 20170 found this helpful

How long does it takes to effect? My shirt was prior dry and only I notice cos I was not doing the folding

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July 29, 2011

First, soak the affected clothing item overnight or longer, in a solution of 1 cup powdered dishwasher detergent and enough warm water to cover the item. This also works well on stains. Next, wash the item by itself with 1-2 Shout Color Catcher sheets. These are available in the laundry aisle at the supermarket. This may not work if the item has already been through the dryer.

By Jean from Buffalo, NY

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
January 28, 20170 found this helpful

Would this work for my delicate tanks that my black sweater stained under arms of? Without fading them?

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By 0 found this helpful
May 8, 2013

Have the garment either dry and damp with cold water, rub in by hand methylated spirits, undiluted, rinse well in cold water, then wash as normal.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 2 found this helpful
June 16, 2016

I have a white dress, 100% cotton, with colored embroidery on it. I hand washed the dress, but dried it in the dryer with pink clothes. The entire dress turned to pale pink. I want to remove the pink color and change it back to white without disturbing the colored emroidery design. If I use bleach the embroidery will also get spoiled. What should I do? Please help. It's my favorite dress.

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Answer Was this helpful? 2
July 15, 20162 found this helpful
Best Answer

Use Oxiclean. It makes white white and keeps other colours in place. Soak the dress in warm to hot water that has a scoop of Oxiclean in it.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 23, 2017

My husband washed the clothes together without sorting and somehow one of the shirts bled onto only one item in the washer? It was my white shorts with black patterned print :( It now has random tie dyed reddish dye on it. He dried it in the dryer and we didn't know until we we were folding clothes. Please help.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
May 23, 20170 found this helpful

I'm sorry for you. Red dye is terrible! There are color grabbing sheets (Carbona is one brand but there are others too) that you can try in a wash load at the hottest setting your garment can handle. They can be found in the stain removers at any store that sells laundry supplies. Since it has already gone through the dryer, they may or may not work as the heat from the dryer will have already worked to set the dye.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 21, 2017

I washed my blue and white shirt with another color that bled and it got stained. I dried it before I saw that it had stains. I washed it several times. I tried vinegar, lemon juice, and whitener, but not working. What can I do to save my shirt?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
May 22, 20170 found this helpful

try Oxi clean -- worked for me

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By 0 found this helpful
December 19, 2016

I have a grey jumper that has white stripes going down the arms and red details at the front, the red stained the white strips and I have no idea how to get it out! I have tried using salt with cold water and dabbing the area, it's helping lighten the stain although it's not really going away. I want to try a bleach, but after researching I found it could cause my grey to turn lighter which I don't want! I have not tumble dried it although the it has been sitting for a few days after washing. Please help!

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
December 25, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

Im sure you have already tried some of the suggestions so I will only say that I have been able to remove some of this type of stain with the following methods but sometimes it required several tries with any one or more solutions.

I tried to be patient but sometimes gave up and used item as is or as a rag or a throw away.

1. Wash in cold water with white vinegar and small amount of detergent as this does sometimes do the trick.

I use a cup (or more) of vinegar to a bucket of water or a washer set on low volume.

2. Oxygen bleach does work on some items; just be sure to follow direction on the box as to how much and how to use. Generally this type of beach is safe for almost all fabrics but you may have to let it soak for several hours. The solution and garment can then be washed as usual.

3. Warm a small amount of water and use a scoop of Oxi-Clean in a bucket or pan large enough to hold the garment. Mix the Oxi-Clean thoroughly in warm water and then add sufficient cold water to cover the item. Add garment last and move it around and up and down in the bucket. Leave it for 20-30 minutes and check to make sure the red is not fading  (I have never had color fade  but?)  this may be long enough since garment has not been in the dryer. Pour bucket contents (water and garment) into a suitable size washer load and add small amount of detergent (optional) and run through cycle.

Be sure to check results before placing in dryer.

I hope you have found a solution that works for you.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 18, 2017

I washed a gray dress with a red duppatta (scarf); the red ran onto the gray dress. I took the dress for dry cleaning, but he said using chemicals will lose the gray colour of the dress. The dress is cotton. Please help it is my favorite dress.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
April 19, 20171 found this helpful

Shout or Carbonna color run remover. I think the carbonna works best in my opinion.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 4, 2017

I have a pair of black trousers with an Adidas logo written in bright gold on it. I washed it with 60 degree temperature water and it became green. I love these trousers so much. What do I do so it comes back gold? Please help.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
May 7, 20170 found this helpful

Could you buy an iron on for the Gold or fabric spray paint?

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By 0 found this helpful
May 20, 2017

I accidentally put my dark green shirt in the wash with my other clothes and now I have a white patterned towel and light blue jeans that are tinged green. What can I use to remove the dye? Please help!

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
May 21, 20170 found this helpful

Use Rit Color Grabber

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By 0 found this helpful
April 16, 2017

I washed red pants with new blue jeans without realizing it and dried then. I noticed the blue stains after drying them. What can I use to fix them without messing up the red pants?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
April 17, 20170 found this helpful

I like Carbona Color Run Remover, too. You can get it at Target, Walmart, Amazon, many shops.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 2, 2017

I washed a red dress with a pair of black jeans and when I took it out of the washing machine, it had dye all over it. I found the dress a few days ago, not remembering that I needed to get the stain out. Does anyone have any ideas for me to get it out? I do not remember if it went through the dryer or not. Thank you!

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
April 3, 20170 found this helpful

Rit makes a color catcher. You could try that.

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July 24, 20110 found this helpful

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

By Pat B.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
July 26, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I wouldn't mix OxiClean and bleach, in fact I think there is a warning on the label about it. As long as you didn't throw the now pink blouse into the dryer, you should be able to get the pink out, and restore the blouse to its original white by washing it in the hottest water possible for the fabric; add bleach if the fabric can be bleached-synthetics can't handle bleach, you'll end up with a completely ruined and useless blouse.

There is a product called something like "Colour-Out" that can be used to strip dye from a fabric, check on the Rit (US) website:

http://www.ritdye.com/

Or on the Dyelon (UK) site:

http://www.dylon.co.uk/

For the actual name of the product. It works great for taking the accidental colour out of fabric.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 17, 2017

I washed a pair of white jeans in the washer, after I had just washed a new navy blue load of pants, and the white pair came out light blue. I've since washed the white pair with a combo of Clorox, borax, Tide, vinegar, and a splash of rubbing alcohol. That didn't work. I'm currently trying RIT color remover in hot water. How long should I soak it?
Help?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
January 18, 20170 found this helpful

The dollar General sells this clearer called LAs totally awesome. It is yellow .... We use that to get grease out of my dad's work clothes

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By 0 found this helpful
June 25, 2015

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.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
June 27, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

I had this happen a long time ago. Thank God you haven't dried them. Scrub each spot with a few drops of Dawn dish detergent. It takes a while but keep scrubbing and the spots will come out.

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By 2 found this helpful
August 17, 2016

I wore a couple of new red t-shirts and didn't realize until later that my new white bra turned a light pink just while wearing them together.

How do I make my only white bra white again?

Answer Was this helpful? 2
September 7, 20160 found this helpful

I accidentally washed new brown fisherman pants with my whites one of the whites was denim white shorts I've soaked in bleach still hasn't come out do you have any suggestions? Please help!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
May 26, 2016

I soaked my father's shirt and pants together for washing, but unfortunately the green color from the t-shirt transferred to pink and white shirts. How can I remove the stains with the things which I can buy easily or with things at home?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
Anonymous
June 6, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

Soak it in a bucket of cold water and dish washing detergent for a day and then wash it.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 4, 2017

I have a pair of grey jeans that the colour red has run on to. Please help me clean it.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
March 4, 20170 found this helpful

Try soaking overnight in a 5 gallon pain of hot water to which you have added 2T each powdered dishwasher detergent and hydrogen peroxide. Wash as usual after.

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By 1 found this helpful
November 13, 2016

I had to wash a red plaid Christmas comforter and when I took it out of the dryer, the red had dyed or bled into the white parts of the comforter. How can I safely remove it?

Answer Was this helpful? 1
February 14, 20170 found this helpful

Try washing it again in cold water with "Shout color catcher"

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
March 24, 2015

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
March 25, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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By 0 found this helpful
February 16, 2015

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 16, 20150 found this helpful
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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By 0 found this helpful
December 23, 2016

I wore a red dress with new tights and that dress has not been worn for awhile and when I took off my clothes my tights and bra were pink. How do I get it out DIY?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
December 28, 20160 found this helpful

I would wash in cool or warm water and add some oxyclean to the laundry soap. Don't dry in the dryer, as heat sets color.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 5, 2017

I washed a load of jeans and two of the pairs of blue jeans had thick white stitching. I had a red pair of jeans in there that bled only onto these two pairs of jeans. How do I get the white seam back to white, it is pink now, without bleaching or damaging the blue jean part? I didn't dry them. Currently they're soaking in the washing machine. Please help. Thanks!

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 6, 20170 found this helpful

I have had luck with a mixture of a couple tablespoons hydrogen peroxide, a couple tablespoons of dishwasher powder, and a 5 gallon bucket of hot water. Soak several hours or overnight, then wash as usual.

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By 1 found this helpful
August 14, 2016

I washed a blue T-shirt with some red trousers by accident and the red ran. The blue was not affected, but the white cuffs on the sleeve and neckline are now pink. I don't want to bleach it as it'll ruin the blue, but don't know what to use on the now pink rims. Any advice?

Answer Was this helpful? 1
February 27, 20170 found this helpful

Rewash it in cold water, don't put it in the dryer. You can go to the laundry aisle and find the shout product that is made to remove color run.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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