Red dye on clothes is never a good look. And while you might think that the horrid stains will stay there forever, you’d be wrong. There are multiple ways you can get rid of red dye marks from your clothes.
Follow the steps below to get rid of the red dye that’s bothering your laundry!
Tips When Removing Red Dye Stains from Clothes
Here are a few points to keep in mind when treating red dye stains on laundry:
- Read your item(s) of clothing’s care tag before you treat it. On the tag you’ll find specific washing and drying instructions that you need to stick to.
- Act fast! If you treat the stain quickly you should be able to remove it with ease and entirely. Leaving dye stains to sit and stew makes them harder to remove.
- Test your chosen treatment out before you use it. Find a discreet section of clothing, like the seam, and do a quick test with your cleaning solution. A test like this will tell you if the product will clean up the stain, or will cause more damage to your garment.
- If a red sock is to blame for your mini catastrophe, make sure you remove the sock as soon as possible from the washing machine. This’ll make sure it doesn’t affect any other items in the meantime.
- Wear gloves when treating dye-stained clothes.
- Don’t dry your item(s) of clothing until you’ve removed the red dye. The heat from a tumble dryer will set the stain even more so. In turn, it’ll be harder to remove.
- Keep kids and pets out of the way when treating dye-stained clothes. You don’t want to make the stain worse or spread it anywhere else.
- It’s worth checking the inside of your washing machine for any red dye residue, if the dyeing took place in there. You should clean any dye up before washing any other items.
Find out how you remove red dye from clothes next!
How to Get Red Dye Out of White Clothes
Biological detergent and colour run remover
Tools you’ll need:
- Biological detergent
- Colour run remover
- Washing machine
Steps to follow:
- Read the tag(s) on your item(s) of clothing to find out what temperature the garment can be cleaned on.
- Fill a clean bucket up with water (up to or less than the temperature on the tag).
- Add a biological detergent like Persil Bio Washing Powder to the water.
- Soak the item(s) in the soapy water.
- Leave the item(s) for a few hours but keep any eye on the item(s) during this time.
- After a few hours, rinse the item(s) under clean water (no hotter than the temperature listed on the tag).
- Pop the item(s) into the washing machine. Make sure the appliance is clean and free from red dye.
- Add your normal dose of detergent.
- Select an appropriate setting, as per the instructions on the care tag(s).
- Run a cycle.
- Inspect the item(s), and repeat the steps above if the item(s) is still dyed.
- If the item(s) is still looking red, you will need to use a colour run remover to treat it – something like Dr. Beckmann Colour Run Remover would do the trick.
- Follow the instructions on the colour run remover’s packaging. And make sure the product you choose to use is safe for your item(s).
- Once you’ve finished treating your item(s), you should launder it as usual.
Alternative methods for removing red dye from white clothes
White vinegar and bicarbonate of soda paste
If you’d prefer to go down the natural route, you could create a paste from equal parts of white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.
You’d then need to spread the paste over the red dye stain, wait an hour, and then rinse the item(s) clean.
Please be aware, this treatment may not be suitable for all clothes, and you may need to repeat it a few times.
White vinegar and water soak
You could also soak your red dyed laundry in a bucket filled with white vinegar and water for a little while! Just fill a bucket up half way, add two cups of white vinegar, soak the laundry, then launder it as normal.
It’s also possible to soak some white garments in a mixture of water and oxygen bleach for a few hours/overnight.
Just follow the instructions on the packaging, so you add the right amount of bleach to water!
But before you go ahead with this treatment, make sure your item(s) of clothing can be bleached, always wear protection, and never mix cleaning chemicals together.
For tough red dye stains found on white cotton clothes only, you can use chlorine bleach to treat them. This type of bleach should not be used to treat other materials as it could ruin and discolour them.
How To Get Red Dye Out of Coloured Clothes
For colourfast clothes
If you’re absolutely sure that your clothes are colourfast, you can use one of the same methods recommended for white clothes listed above, except for the chlorine bleach method, as this will damage your coloured clothing!
Not sure how to tell if an item is colourfast? No problem, just follow these steps to test it:
- Grab your item.
- Soak one patch of it with water – the inner seam.
- Grab a clean, dry white cloth.
- Dab the wet patch of clothing with the cloth.
- If you see the cloth changing colour and picking up dye as you press it onto the wet patch, your item is not colourfast.
- Items that are not colourfast should be laundered on their own.
If you’re a tad weary about using the Method above, you can follow Method 2 below to remove the red dye from your outfit.
For non-colourfast clothes
Tools you’ll need:
- Stain remover or isopropyl/rubbing alcohol
- Washing machine
Steps to follow:
- Grab a cleaner of your choice. It could be an off-the-shelf stain remover, like Ace Stain Remover For Coloured Clothing, or isopropyl/rubbing alcohol (don’t use alcohol on delicate fabrics like silk and wool though).
- Apply the stain remover to the red dye stain as per the instructions on the packaging. Or pour a small amount of isopropyl/rubbing alcohol onto a clean cloth, and blot at the stained area repeatedly (swap the cloth around regularly, so you always use a clean patch).
- Rinse the treated item(s) under water.
- Check it over for red stains.
- Repeat the steps above if needed.
- Launder the item(s) as normal, with detergent and on an appropriate setting.
- Check the item(s) again and repeat the steps above, if need be.
Getting professional help
If you’ve dyed an item of clothing that is ‘dry clean only’, you need to take your garment to a dry cleaning store, so they can hopefully treat and remove the red dye for you.
Trying to clean a ‘dry clean only’ item at home can be a little tricky at the best of times. And treating a stain on such an outfit can be even harder. So, it would be worth getting professional help with this issue!
In addition to this, if you’ve tried the treatments above and you’ve not had much luck removing the red dye, you could pop into a dry cleaning shop to get their advice on the matter.
You might not need to have your clothes dry cleaned per se, but they may be able to offer you some extra advice.
As a last resort
If there’s no hope for your item(s) of clothing, but you can’t bear to part with them, you could always try and dye your garments red. This would mask the red dye mishap you had, and you’d end up with a sort-of-nearly-new outfit!
How to Prevent Red Dye Stains
Below you’ll find a few tips on how to stop red dye stains:
- Separate your laundry properly. Take your time and check the pile of laundry for any rogue socks/t-shirts/pants before placing it into the drum.
- Make use of colour catchers. Dylon Colour Catchers are great at limiting colour runs in the washing machine.
- If you’re handling red dye, wear an apron to protect your clothing.
- Wash your washing machine out to remove any red dye from it.
Are Red Stains Permanent?
Red stains almost always look permanent when they appear on clothes. However, if you act quickly and use the right tools to treat the red dyed patch, you stand a very good chance of removing the stain entirely. In turn, there shouldn’t be any permanent dye damage.
On the flip side, if you don’t remove your stain in a timely manner, and you don’t treat it correctly, you could make the stain worse. In this case, the stain may set into the fabric, will be harder to get rid of, and may cause permanent damage.
How to Get Red Wine Out of Clothes
If you’ve had a little mishap with a glass of red wine, don’t fret about it. There are multiple ways you can remove red wine from clothes! Here are some methods you can look into:
- Bicarbonate of soda
- Lemon and salt
- White vinegar and liquid detergent
- Hydrogen peroxide and washing up liquid
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Off-the-shelf stain removers
In general, you’ll need to apply a treatment to the affected area, wait a few minutes, and blot the surface clean with a cloth. The quicker you start treating the stain, the better it’ll be for your outfit!
Bethan has a passion for exploring, reading, cooking and gardening! When she’s not creating culinary delights for her family, she’s concocting potions to keep her house clean!