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.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
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
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
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.
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. To remove sunscreen stains from the neckline and hems of my bowls uniform I usually use diluted bleach. This time the red contained in the State emblem on the top right front of my blouse ran into the neckline and also ran into the hemline of the skirt being soaked in the same container. I knew metho worked on Biro ink, so decided to try with the colour run. It disappeared as I rubbed.
Editor's Note: Methylated spirits are also known as denatured alcohol.
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
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Here are questions related to Removing Dye Transfers from Clothing.
I washed a pair of pink 100 percent cotton pants with a new tye dress with brown and yellow dye! And now my pants have yellow stripes in them. How do I get it out? Please!
Without thinking, I washed my white lace bra with a new red tea towel and the colour bled into my white lace bra. I've attempted to take the colour out by soaking over night in Napisan, but nothing really happened. Does anyone have an idea how to remove the colour from the lace? Without damaging the lace?
By Zoe B
In trying to save time and water I washed two sets of bathroom carpets together, one dark green and the other yellow. I have previously washed the dark green carpets many times before, but the yellow rugs are new. The green dye color has bled onto the yellow and suggestions would be most appreciative.
By Mary F
I wasn't thinking when I did laundry and I threw a purple dress in with my favorite pair of pants. Is there any way to get all this purple out of what was once white?
By Krissy Rae from San Antonio, TX
I washed my yellowish orange cotton dress on which there is a dark blue colour block print design. After washing the blue colour ran out on my yellowish dress. Is there any way to remove this blue colour from my dress?
By FH from Kl
I have a bright green sweater that was to be washed only on gentle in cold water, has gotten some red on it somehow! I am pretty sure it happened in the dryer. I thought I read something about adding vinegar to the water for this? Any suggestions?
I borrowed my sister's white Omni-Shield Colombia jacket. The day before she wanted it returned, I had thrown it in the washer with other white articles of clothing, along with a bright pink wash cloth I failed to notice. I tried bleaching it out, tried a stain remover, and I tried Rit Dye Remover. Nothing worked, although the Rit Dye Remover did lighten the pink up. So instead of the jacket having bright pink blotches all over, it now has pale pink blotches.
The tag on the jacket reads; "Machine wash cold Permanent press, Powdered detergent, Rinse thoroughly, Wash separately, Do not bleach, Tumble dry permanent press low, Iron low, Do not use fabric softener, Do not dry clean. Shell: 100% Polyester, Lining: 100% Nylon, Mesh lining: 57% Recycled Polyester, 43% Polyester Exclusive of trimming"
I don't know what to do to get the jacket back to white, if anyone has any suggestions, tips, tricks, secret methods, anything that could possibly work, please let me know.
I bought a dress top, only wore it once and when I did laundry the black from the lining of the shirt had made spots onto the rest of the shirt. And I hadn't noticed it until after I had dried it. I've been reading on different sites that Oxiclean gets dyes out, but I'm afraid since the shirt isn't white it would ruin the whole shirt. What would you use to remove the dye without ruining the entire shirt?
By Adrianna K.
I have a black and white dress and when washed the black ran into the white. Now the white is grey. The dress isn't mine it's a friend's. Please someone help me with how to get it back to white. Please.
By Clare H
By HerkDia 01/05/2014
Shout makes a product I think is called Color Grab, try rewashing the items with a sheet of this and it is suppose to pull the color out of the stained clothing. It was recommended by our Chapter leader for Project Linus and swears by it to prevent colors from bleeding.
I washed my black sweater in warm water to try to shrink it a little, but then the dye transferred into the white letters and now they're like white/light brownish. How do I get it back to white? Help!
My mother-in-law washed my new black and cream dress and it's cream lace on top. The cream lace has turned gray and I don't know how. She swears she did everything right with washing it (clearly not). It's 87% nylon and 13% elastane. My mum told me not to bleach the cream lace as it will turn yellow. Is this so? or can I bleach it? i need this dress for next weekend so I really need the nasty gray gone. Please help.
I mistakenly got my green sarong in with my machine washable 100% cotton sweaters and now have yellow dye all over them. How can I get it out?
I have a dress which is white at the top and black at the bottom. It has been washed and the black dye from the bottom has run into the white on the top. How can I resolve this problem please?
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
By Jean 08/01/2013
Saturate the stains with straight rubbing alcohol - then wash as usual. I've used this method several times. It works most of the time, but not always. But it's cheap and won't do any harm. Worth a try...
I washed my blue and white striped bathing suit today and the white turned into like a grey. How can I make it white again?
I brought a black pair of jeans and my partner thought he would try and help by doing some washing for me, but he put these black jeans in with a load of white clothes and now everything has got black stains on it. Any suggestions of how to get it all out?
My daughter's peach color bathing suit has blue on it. Her beach towel bled on it. How do I get it out?
I bought my son a White Assassins Creed Desmond hoodie and they said that I have to wash it by hand. It has red inside the hood of the hoodie. I just washed it again by hand and now the red from the hood has bled on the outside of the hoodie. What can I do or use to get that out?
My sand colored lawn cotton shirt has got ugly green color on it. Please help! How can I get it removed? I live in Karachi so don't know what I can get here.
How do I get rid a black dye on the white collar of my rugby jersey?
By John from Auckland, NZ
I washed my Aeropostale school pants along with a yellow Hollister shirt and a red scarf. tTe red bled onto the shirt and pants and I have no idea how to get it out! Please help. Note: they have not been dried yet>
I washed a new pair of dark blue jeans with a color sheet and a pair of light lime jeans and some other clothes. The blue jeans bled onto the lime jeans. They have been dried. Please help me to get the blue out. Thank you in advance.
By Frugal Sunnie 04/08/2013
If the clothing have been dried in the dryer, you may not be able to get the dye transfer out completely.
But you can try washing the clothing that has been accidentally transfer-dyed separately (nothing else in the washer) at the hottest water setting the garment will take (check the label), it has worked for me on some things. It usually takes a couple of washings to get the transferred dye out satisfactorily, and you may want to try a pre-soak in very hot water if your fabric will take it. Blue jean dye is usually easiest to remove this way but it doesn't always come completely out, though.
There are dye transfer removal products available but it's been my experience those remedies strip ALL colour, so be wary of that.
It was early in the morning with jeans I'd washed a hundred times, so I didn't think they would bleed! The sweater was in with the load prior and wasn't dry so I left it in and added 1 pair of jeans to dry and an orange sweater (why didn't that bleed?). The cream sweater turned into a cream and blue hued sweater. My mom is sooo angry! The sweater was brand new. Please help! Like I said, it was dried in the dryer.
I have a fabric t-shirt with a printed logo. The logo is a red background with white letters saying 'obey'. The red background has stained the white letters. The logo is not fabric, it feels like paint not sure if iron on or painted on. Please help, the shirt cost $80and is from America. The shirt looks worse in person.
I washed some color clothes and I had a pink scarf in them. So now everything is pink. Is there any way to change them back? Especially my gray Bama sweatshirt!
To remove dye stains from your scarf or other clothing just add a few scoops of Oxi Clean to the wash water. It will get it all out.
I bought a white-based dress with blue, yellow, and red stripes on it. I put in the washing machine for the very first time. When I took the dress out from the machine, the red colour at the bottom of the dress faded into the white area and also transferred to the other shirts as well. May I know how can I get rid of colour from the white area? Thank you.
I put purple cotton pants in with the rest of my colors, including a gray sweatshirt which is cotton, it has some purple dye on it. How do I get it out?
By Christie B.
By jean leiner 02/04/2013
Was the item dryer dried or air dried? If dryer dried the color may be set. One thing to try is Shout Color Catcher Sheets, sold in the detergent aisle at the supermarket. Wash the shirt by itself with 1-2 sheets. The directions say 1, but I find 2 works better.
Another thing to try is soaking the item in a solution of powdered dishwasher detergent, 1 cup detergent to enough warm water to cover the shirt. Keep it submerged overnight, weighting it down with a plate if needed. If you do not have a dishwasher, the el cheapo brand from the dollar store works well. Just rinse thoroughly and air dry. Hope this helps.
I have a pair of yellow shorts and when I washed them they got spots of blue dye on them from a blue t-shirt of mine that I accidentally mixed in with the load of clothes. How do I get the blue dye out of my yellow shorts?
By hiphophood 07/30/2012
Unfortunately, I don't think there is anything you can do to reverse that.
I bought a new shirt and wore it before I washed it. I wore a white sweater over it. I noticed the next morning that the dark blue color from the shirt bled on the inside of my white sweater mainly in the armpit area. How can I get the blue dye out of my white sweater?
By Kathryn S.
What can I do if I washed and dried navy blue with pale yellow back to original?
I washed a peach colored tank top with other colored clothing. An item that was turquoise faded into the tank top. I have tried using various cleaning items on the top, but cannot get all of the turquoise color out.
Can someone advise me what I might use? I do not want to remove all color and redye.
By Kay E.
I washed somthing red with my load and it turned all four of my work pants pink, so how can I get the pink out of my khaki pants?
By Sam I.
My white cotton dress has turned grey as I washed it with other clothes and something was pink. What can I do?
By Rhonda from Frankston, Victoria
I did a load of clothes in cold water with both light and dark colors, but I had the Shout color catcher sheet in with the clothes. I had put my daughter's brand new pale pink pants in with blue shorts and some faded denim (not the first time for washing these) and the blue color ran on to the pink pants. Do I have to soak these overnight (as suggested already) or can I just try to wash the pants by themselves with the Shout color catcher and some color safe bleach right away? Will that work?
By Mary S.
By HJ 06/07/2012
If you can find RIT Dye Color Remover, it works great to remove color transferred from one item to another. I recently put a white shirt in the dryer with a red shirt (had washed them separately - so much for being frugal on using the dryer!) and other items for a very few minutes and some red was transferred to the white shirt. Oops! Then I remembered using Rit Dye Color Remover in the past. I didn't have any on hand.
After going to two grocery stores, I found one pack at AC Moore. I used the hot water in a pot method because I only had one item. It worked great. I would like to find more to keep on hand, but haven't run across another pack. I bought a box Shout Color Catcher to have in case I need them. As you probably know, don't put the item in the dryer until you get the unwanted color out. I felt very lucky to get the red out of my white shirt. Good luck to you.
I washed red clothes with black ones. My red clothes have gone black. I don't know how to take the transferred colour off my red clothes.
I washed my clothes (red, blue, and ash) with dark blue colored clothes which accidentally has left ugly stains on them. Can I use Carbona Color Run Remover in this case to remove the stains and get original colors back?
My husband washed my 100% white cotton dress with colors and now it looks tye-dyed. How do I get it white again? Please help!
By J Robinson
Where can I get Rit dye colour catcher sheets in Chennai, India?
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?
By Sandy 01/24/2012
Half cup of Clorox, half cup of Cascade powder in a gallon or so of warm water. Let soak overnnight. (Then wash us usual. It has worked every time for me.
I have a Santa suit; the red bled over into the white fur. The suit is not a throw away. I paid $750 two years ago. I need help for how to get the fur white and not ruin it. Does someone have any help? Please. Thank you.
By Frugal Sunnie 12/29/2011
It really depends on the material the fur part is made of-spot cleaning with the wrong cleaner or application technique could make the problem even worse.
For something that expensive you might want to call around to dry cleaners in your area who have a good reputation (check with the Better Business Bureau and online review sites for businesses in your town).
If someone in your family sews and crafts, he/she may be able to remove the fur to clean it or replace it with new fur.
I've managed to dye my new cream coat, pink, in the washer. How do I get it back to cream? Will bleaching it turn it white? Help if you can please!
By tasana 12/05/2011
I once worked for a lady and and did this same sort of thing. I turned all her whites a pink shade! So embarrassing! I thought she was going to fire me. She didn't. Thank goodness! I don't know how long ago this happened but for me, she said to just re-wash everything on cold (after taking out the red item) and everything turned back to white. Not sure how it worked, but it did.
I usually do this one item by hand, but this particular day it got washed with delicates. It's a sheer blouse with a crocheted vest in front, it's off-white in color, at least it was. When it came out of the washer, the sheer netting at the bottom half was a light blue and the all over color had a blue hue, the crocheted vest had turned a white bluish. Is there any thing or way I can take it back to its original color without losing its original color?
By JoJo from Phoenix, AZ
By Frugal Sunnie 11/04/2011
In the US you should look for Rit Dyes products, they make a dye remover for natural and synthetic fabrics-check your blouse to find out what it's made with so that you get the right product.
I washed this greenish brownish jacket with some colored clothes, and the color from the jacket has bled onto my purple and blue bra, turning it a lime green color. I also have a gray pair of pants that got washed with this jacket and now have a brown tint to them. Is there any way to remove the color that has bled onto the bra and the pants?
By Randa from MO
By Jean L.10/28/2011
Try washing just the bra and pants with several sheets of a product called Shout Color Catcher Sheets, available in the laundry aisle of the supermarket. The box says use 1, but I have found 3 seems to work better. Air dry the clothes, and repeat if needed. This product has saved several pieces of clothing for me. If you dried the items in the dryer, this may not work.
I have a long black dress with white detail around the chest area. I washed it with dark colours and now the white bits have gone blue. It cost a lot of money and I only wore it once. What can I do to get it back to white. The dress hasn't been dried and I've soaked it in hot water
By Karen H. 09/08/2011
OOOHHH-Girl.Hot water is a No-No! You probably set the stain in now.Never put things in hot water unless it's white, & w/bleach & fabric safe for bleach.You didn't say what material the dress was made of either.You could try a cold wash alone w/color safe bleach & color catcher.Other than that -I don't know. Good Luck! : )
I washed a black and white striped dress and the black bled into the white, so now, the white has become grey. None of the other clothes were affected.
Is there anyway that I can remove the grey?
I washed a very expensive grey sweatshirt with a new pair of jeans and the blue bled onto the sweatshirt. Yes, unfortunately, I also dried the sweatshirt.
By Denise T.
By Doris 08/17/2011
I would wash the sweatshirt with some white towels or colorfast items and add a little bleach, like a quarter cup.
I washed a new dress with a load of colored clothes and the dye from the dress faded onto some of the other clothes. How do I get the pink spots out of the other clothes?
By Debi Radcliffe 08/16/2011
I have had great success with the color catcher sheets that you throw into the wash cycle. I usually put one into each load of laundry, but occasionally forget and something bleeds onto something else. Try putting the spotted/color-run clothes in to wash again but use a color catcher sheet to catch the excess dye. Hope you are successful the first time around.
A white blouse got washed with a red one. How do you get the pink out?
By Pat B.
By Virginia T.07/27/2011
Try soaking it in hydrogen peroxide. May take several times.
I have the same problem. I washed some clothes and one of them bled on the others and the other clothes changed in color. I live in Lebanon and I didn't find the products named in the feedback. Could someone help me please?
I put a children's t-shirt in with my wash, by mistake. The t-shirt is white, the front is white and pink, it came out of the wash light blue. I have tried most of the colour removers but no luck. I have to be careful what I use as there is pink in the front of the t-shirt. Please help!
By Karen H. 06/12/2011
Try hot water & a little bleach in a white (hot) wash, alone.That just might do the trick.I've washed items this way in the past, & it worked. Also,sometimes certain fabrics don't bleach out like you think they would-& things come out clean & not even faded,let alone bleached.I put colored prints like pjs & pillowcases in hot wash whites w/bleach & the stains come out but are clean w/no fading.I put them in 1st, then put the Real whites in on top.You can also go to Good Housekeeping or The library & go to Ask Helouise column. She knows everything! She has books out & has been doing this for years- like Dear Abby. Good Luck. : )
A brown shirt faded on several pieces of laundry. I have not dried the load yet. What can I do?
By Patt 05/29/2011
There are dye "catching" cloths you can purchase in a lot of stores now. By now it is probably dry and you can't do much about it though. One time I was doing a load of whites and missed something dark. When I saw the water I threw the cloth in and it captured the dye. The clothes came out perfectly fine. You might want to keep them on hand.
I have a black shirt with white on the sleeves. The black ran into white. How can I remove this on the white cotton material?
By gustafson from Danforth, ME
By Wilma Long 04/20/2011
One should never let the item dry out after the dye has spread. Contact Amway... they have 2 product syou can use if you use it while it is still damp, and they really do a great job. The products to use are Amway fabric bleach and Tri-enyme laundry pre-soak and detergent booster.
How do I remove the colour stains of another colour shirt?
By Nityasri from R.A. Puram, Chennai
By Elaine 03/11/2011
I don't know if you can get it in your area, but Rit has a product that will remove it. Hope you can find it there.
I have a black and white sweater that I washed with a red tank top and now the white on my sweater is pink. Please help! How do I get it out?
By Lisa from Lubbock, TX
I put my black jeans in with my blue jeans. Now they've got black marks on. I've just used a color run. Will it work or make them look washed out now?
I borrowed an off white sweater that is 80% cotton and 20% polyester. I was carrying my black sweater that was completely soaked and it rubbed against the off white sweater and bled into it. So far I've used baking soda and vinegar and it didn't work. Please help!
By Leslie from Seattle, WA
By Lilac 11/09/2010
You might have to take it to a dry cleaner.
I have done a stupid thing and hand washed 100% silk pants that are dry clean only. They are red with white flowers on them. The red dye has bled into the white. I know I can't use Rit on them, being silk.
Is there any way I can do a spot-clean style stain removal on the white flower part? I'm really stuck, and want to fix it. Any advice would be awesome.
By Dorothy 04/30/2010
When washing garments were the dye runs off the fabric add some sea salt and that helps to keep the dye in.
I read about using boiling water and bleach for taking out color bleeding. It appears that these were white clothes. What about green towels that had a red towel thrown in? They are now an awful brown color. Will the boiling water and bleach work on colored items?
By Charlene Richardson 04/28/2009
Try "Dye Grabber". It worked great for me with some similarly stained clothing. One terry-cloth Dye Grabber is good for 30 loads of clothes. I bought mine @ JoAnn Fabrics
I soaked my white shirts along with my red and black shirts. The white shirts have stains of red and black. Can you please give me any suggestions to remove the stains?
By TCook (Guest Post)02/12/2009
My husband bought white satin/silk shorts for his upcoming fight in March and he asked me to wash them before he wore them and I lost my mind and threw a pink shirt in with them and it turned the shorts into a heavy tint of pink. I have tried the Rit and white vinegar and nothing has seemed to work. PLEASE help I need to fix them because there is no way to get another pair in time for them fight.
How do I remove red ash stains from white jeans?
By Pat (Guest Post)06/21/2008
My all-purpose attack for stains on white clothing is this 1) spray with Shout and leave on for a few days. If that doesn't do it then 2) Soak for a day or two in a plastic dishpan with cool water and Tide with Bleach powder. What ever is left over usually comes out with 3) a Clorox bleach pen.
I always use the bleach pen as the last resort as bleach can weaken fibers. That's why I try everything else first to eliminate or at least lessen the severity of the original stain. Using these 3 steps, I can get practically any stain out of any white clothing, assuming it's a fabric that can be bleached.
The only exception is rust stains. On white clothing, even bleach never works. I've found the best thing for that to be Whink.
My daughter has accidentally washed a white jacket with red towels. Now her jacket is blotched pink. How do I get the jacket back to white?
Thanks for any help.
Elymunile from Ely, NV
By (Guest Post)04/26/2006
Rit dye remover works great.
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
My light pink blouse was washed with dark color clothes. Now it looks like it's a different colored pink. How do I remove the unwanted color?
HMoreno from San Diego, CA
I just got a brand new lulylemon hoodie. I pulled it out of the dryer this morning and it has blue dye stains all over it! It is purple and white. How do I get the stains out?
Hailey from Canada
I washed a pair of jeans with a green t-shirt and a pink cotton top. It now has blue blotches. Is there any way to get it out?
By Carol from Kansas City
By Mary T
I wore a black polyester and elasthanne cardigan top over an orange linen knitted sweater and the black material bled all over the under arm area of the orange linen knit sweater. How do I remove this black staining? Any help you can give will be sincerely appreciated.
By bdtcsw from New York, New York
My son is pretty upset with me. Somehow when I washed his very nice yellow shirt something blue apparently bled onto it. Don't have any idea what happened. Nothing else in the load was affected. Somehow I didn't catch it and it got put in the dryer. Is there anything I can do to get the blue stains out or do I owe him a new shirt?
Robin from IN
By Claudia _MD
How do I remove color bleeding onto other fabric?
By GizmoGadget from Los Angeles, CA
By Mary T
I have a mostly white shirt with some appliques that are not white. It is T-shirt fabric. I washed it with some red shorts and now the shirt is mostly pink. How can I get it white again?
By joycedeborah from Corvallis, OR
My granddaughter has a black shirt. I washed it out by hand to remove excess dyes.
My husband washed his red shirt with my clothes and my clothes now have red stains all over them. Is there any way to remove these stains? Thanks.
I left wet, washing together, including a pair of white linen pants with black linen pants. The white linen now has black stains over it. So I want to remove the black splotches before I can wear the white pants again. Please help.