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Removing Dye Transfers from Clothing

Picture of a red striped shirt in a washer.
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

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.

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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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By 0 found this helpful
May 8, 2013

Have the garment either dry or damp with cold water, rub in methylated spirits, undiluted. Rinse well in cold water, then wash as normal.

I had a red emblem on the top front of my blouse run into the neckline and as well as the hemline of the skirt being soaked in the same container. I knew methylated spirits worked on Biro ink, so I decided to try with the colour run. It disappeared as I rubbed.

Editor's Note: Methylated spirits are also known as denatured alcohol.

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May 26, 20170 found this helpful

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.

White shirt with red collar.

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April 17, 20110 found this helpful

My teenage son washed his favorite 100% white cotton shirt with his new blue jeans in hot water. The shirt turned a light blue. What should I do to make the shirt white again? Please help this single dad.

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By Charlie from Chicago, IL

Feedback:

Diluted Bleach Soak

Use a half cup of bleach to a sink of water. Leave shirt to soak and turn frequently so all is immersed. Do remember that many stains will not come out once it has been placed in the clothes dryer.

Rule of thumb: Sort clothes by colors per load, whites, colors, and darks. Many new red clothing items will bleed onto other clothes, so wash in cold water separately.

By Lorelei

Bleach for 100% Cotton

There are dye transfer products available, but with a 100% cotton shirt you can just bleach it with household bleach. Follow the directions on the container. And next time no jeans with whites!

By pamphyila

Rit Dye Remover

Get the Rit Dye Remover and run it through the wash. It will come out white. This is usually found with the Rit Dye at any Walmart.

By firefly57

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Questions

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By 0 found this helpful
April 17, 2011

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

Answers

April 18, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

There is a product called Shout Color Catcher Sheets, available in the laundry aisle of the supermarket. Wash the shirt by itself with a few of them and if the shirt has not been through the dryer, the color should be gone. If it has been through the dryer, it may not work. Since the shirt is unwearable as is, give it a try. This product has worked for me.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
April 20, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

One should never let the item dry out after the dye has spread. Contact Amway, they have 2 products you 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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

April 20, 20150 found this helpful

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

Answers

April 21, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

There is an old product called bluing. It doesn't damage clothes like bleach but it whitens whites (only whites). It is a little tricky since it stains stuff, so follow it's directions. You add a little to your washer water (to turn it light blue) then add the whites.

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January 19, 20150 found this helpful

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

Answers

January 23, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

  1. Wet the pants
  2. Add 1/4 cup of bleach to a bucket of warm water
  3. Stir
  4. Lower the pants into the bucket slowly, so they are not getting crinkled before they are soaked in the bleach solution.
  5. Check and stir by swishing up, down and sideways every few minutes, set your timer!
  6. You will notice the pink leaving.
  7. When gone, rinse, rinse, rinse, put 1/2c. white vinegar in the 2nd rinse.
  8. Spin out in washer, dry as usual.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

June 2, 20120 found this helpful

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.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

Answers

June 7, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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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.

Answer Was this helpful? 2

Answers

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.

Reply Was this helpful? 2
September 4, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

I washed a khaki shirt my husband had just bought to go fishing in with my new blue dress from Indonsia. I washed it three more times and still that blue dye was all over the shirt. I happened to have some Oxiclean and I soaked it in that with boiling water and instantly the water turned blue! Thank you so much for saving me from having to tell him about his new shirt being ruined!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

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

Answers

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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July 3, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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November 3, 20110 found this helpful

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

Answers

November 3, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Here in Australia, Dylon makes a product called Colour Run Remover, just put in wash with affected clothes and it removes all the unwanted dye; brilliant stuff!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
November 4, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
April 26, 2006

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

Answers

April 26, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

We had very good luck with Oxiclean getting red out of a white shirt. Soak the clothes in hot water and Oxiclean.

Susan from ThriftyFun

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By guest (Guest Post)
April 26, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

Rit dye remover works great.

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

Answers

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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Anonymous
August 4, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

Buy some Rit Dye and dye the entire dress black in a plastic tub. When you are done with the dye process buy an aplique at the fabric store and put it in an appropriate place or use some iron on rhinestones.

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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

Answers

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?

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Anonymous
April 21, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

Boil lemon in water and then while still hot soak the shirt.

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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?

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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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April 16, 20150 found this helpful

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

Answers

April 17, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

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!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

December 4, 20110 found this helpful

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 Rachel

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

Answers

December 5, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try a product called Shout Color Catcher Sheets, available in the laundry aisle at the supermarket. Wash the coat by itself with 2-3 of the sheets. Let air dry. Repeat if needed. If the coat was dried in the dryer, the color may be set.

Since you probably don't want to wear the coat as is, this is worth a try. Another thing to try is soaking the coat in a solution of powdered dishwasher detergent and warm water. In a container large enough to submerge the coat in, (maybe your washer) fill with warm water, and mix in at least 2 cups of powdered dish washer detergent.

After the detergent is dissolved, soak the coat overnight. Rinse well, and let air dry. Again, if dryer dried, the color may be set. If you do not have a dishwasher, the el cheapo brand from the dollar store works well for this. Both of these methods have saved clothes for me. Hope one of them helps you with your coat.

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October 24, 20140 found this helpful

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

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January 23, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 15, 2013

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!

By Sha

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February 19, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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By 0 found this helpful
October 27, 2011

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

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October 28, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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By 5 found this helpful
March 9, 2011

How do I remove the colour stains of another colour shirt?

By Nityasri from R.A. Puram, Chennai

Answer Was this helpful? 5

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March 11, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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February 26, 20130 found this helpful

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.

By Jenna

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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