Removing Dye Transfers from Clothing

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

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April 18, 20110 found this helpful
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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.

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April 20, 20110 found this helpful
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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.

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The products to use are Amway fabric bleach and Tri-enyme laundry pre-soak and detergent booster.

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April 20, 2015

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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April 21, 20150 found this helpful
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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, 2015

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.

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By Jo-Ann from Sarnia, ON

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January 23, 20150 found this helpful
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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.
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  8. Spin out in washer, dry as usual.

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June 2, 2012

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.

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June 7, 20121 found this helpful
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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.

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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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Solutions

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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.


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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 leiner from Buffalo, NY

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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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November 3, 2011

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

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November 3, 20110 found this helpful
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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!

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November 4, 20110 found this helpful
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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.

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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

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April 26, 20060 found this helpful
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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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April 26, 20060 found this helpful
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Rit dye remover works great.

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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.

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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

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March 25, 20150 found this helpful
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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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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

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February 16, 20150 found this helpful
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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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April 16, 2015

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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April 17, 20150 found this helpful
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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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October 24, 2014

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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January 23, 20150 found this helpful
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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.

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December 4, 2011

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

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December 5, 20110 found this helpful
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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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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 Shanitra Sha J.

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February 19, 20130 found this helpful
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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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