henna ink stain on clothes

How to Get Henna Out of Clothes

Getting henna on an outfit is incredibly frustrating! It can be challenging and time consuming to get rid of, and if you get the dye on a delicate piece, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to remove the entire stain.

That being said, with quick action from you and the right cleaning technique and products in tow, you can treat most of your garments and restore them to their former glory.  

It doesn’t matter how you got the henna mark on your item – a henna tattoo, an experiment gone wrong, or an attempt to dye you hair – follow the steps below to rid your clothing of henna right now.

 

Does Henna Come Off Clothes?

henna ink in container

Henna will come off most types of clothing, provided you react quickly to the stain and treat it as soon as it splodges onto your garment.

If you do this, you stand a good chance of removing the dye from the material, and nobody will ever know it was there! Follow the steps below to remove the henna from your outfit.

However, if you allow the henna to age and dry, it will grow darker and may be more challenging to remove. That said, it’s not impossible to remove aged henna stains. They just need a little more input from you, and you might have to experiment with different stain removal treatments to find one that works. 

In some of the worst cases, the dye may permanently stain an item. But even in this case, you should be able to reduce the henna stain’s appearance and fade it a little.

 

Things to Know When Removing Henna from Clothes

black ink stain on white shirt

Keep these points in mind when treating a henna stain:

  • Always act fast! If you react quickly to the stain, you stand a good chance of removing it properly from your clothes.
  • Don’t dry a henna-stained item of clothing until you’ve removed the dye. For example, avoid tumble drying your item because the heat from a dryer will set the stain, and it will become difficult to remove.
  • Test your chosen cleaning solution before you use it. Find a discreet patch of material and dab some solution onto it. Then, wait and watch what happens. If there is a negative effect, like discolouration or physical damage, stop using the product and find an alternative solution. Some products mentioned below will have a bleaching effect, so use them with caution.
  • Don’t worry if you have to treat your item of clothing more than once to remove the whole stain. Some methods will have to be treated multiple times depending on the size of the blemish and how old it is.
  • Stick to using cold water to treat the henna stain. Hot water can set the stain, making it harder to remove.
  • Don’t rub or scrub the henna stain, as that’ll drive it deeper into the material’s fibres.
  • When you blot your henna stain, remember to use a new piece of cloth each time you dab so you don’t reapply the dye to the fabric.

 

Home Remedies for Removing Henna

Steps to follow:

  1. Stuff an old, neutral-coloured cloth up behind the back of the stain to catch any drips.
  2. Blot the henna stain with a damp, neutral-coloured cloth to remove excess dye from the surface.
  3. Pour some washing up liquid or biological liquid laundry detergent into a shallow dish.
  4. Grab a soft toothbrush and dip it into the soap/detergent.
  5. Gently massage the soap/detergent into the henna stain using the toothbrush. Use small circular movements.
  6. Repeat Step 5 until the stain disappears or fades considerably.
  7. Rinse the item clean with cold water. 
  8. If the stain persists, continue with the steps below.
  9. Stuff an old, neutral-coloured cloth up behind the back of the stain.
  10. Pour some white vinegar or rubbing alcohol directly onto the henna stain.
  11. Wait about an hour for the solution to get to work.
  12. Wash your garment as normal or rinse the white vinegar/rubbing alcohol off the item by holding it under the cold water tap.
  13. Dry your item of clothing when it is free from henna dye.

Alternatives methods

Milk

boiling milk

In addition to the above, bring a cupful of milk to the boil and then soak the henna-stained patch of clothing in the hot liquid for half an hour. You can then launder the item and check your progress.

You may have to repeat this alternative method more than once. And you will likely need to combine this treatment with the steps outlined above so that you actually remove the henna stain in its entirety.

 

Bicarbonate of soda

baking soda for stains on clothes

Mix bicarbonate of soda and water in a shallow dish until you get a paste. Then spread the paste over the whole henna stain. Carefully work the bicarb paste into the stain with a soft toothbrush, wait a few minutes and then rinse the area clean.

 

Lemon juice

lemon juice and chopping board

Soak the henna stain in an acid, like lemon juice, and it will start to break down, making it easier to remove.

Simply saturate the entire henna stain in lemon juice, wait a few minutes for the juice to work, and then rinse the garment with cold water. Assess your progress, and repeat this method or try something else.

 

Hydrogen peroxide

hydrogen peroxide in white bottle

Hydrogen peroxide is a strong chemical that will likely strip the colour from your garment, so use this as a last resort.

Flush the stain as you did above, then apply a small amount of 3% hydrogen peroxide to the henna-stained site.

Work the chemical into the material using a soft toothbrush, wait a few minutes, then blot the item with a damp, neutral-coloured cloth.

After blotting the material for a few minutes, rinse your item of clothing and launder it as usual.

Assess your progress, and repeat this method if need be.

Note: Hydrogen peroxide will have a bleaching effect.

 

An official stain remover

It’s also possible to use an off-the-shelf stain remover to remove henna stains. Ideally, you need to buy a product that is good at lifting dye/tannin-related stains. A solution(s) designed to remove tea and coffee-related blemishes on clothes would be a good place to start.

However, you must remember that the effectiveness of commercial stain removers depends on several factors, including the type of material the product is used on and age of the henna stain.

Some cleaners cannot be used on delicate fabrics, for example. And some cleaners cannot get rid of old stains.  

 

Professional cleaning

dry cleaning

If you cannot remove the henna stain using the methods above, or you need to treat a delicate or vintage piece of clothing, it would be better to ask a professional cleaner for advice.

Dry cleaners have access to different cleaning chemicals and tools, so they can treat and care for your item of clothing differently.

Find a suitable company by doing an online search. Just remember to ask questions beforehand and to get a price for the cleaning work! You don’t want to end up with a horrible bill at the end.

 

How to Remove Dried Henna Dye from Clothes

black stains on clothes

Henna stains will darken as they age and become trickier to remove.

That being said, you should be able to remove most henna stains from your clothes, even if they have aged a little. You’ll just need to be patient and accept that removing dried henna from your clothes will take a little longer.

However, keep in mind that in some extreme cases, the aged henna may leave a permanent stain on your garment. Even so, you should be able to dampen down how intense the stain looks, even if you can’t remove it properly.

Steps to follow:

  1. Use a dull knife or the edge of a credit card to scrape off any dried henna from the material.
  2. Stuff an old, neutral-coloured cloth up behind the back of the stain.
  3. Blot the henna stain with a damp, neutral-coloured cloth to try and lift the dye from the material.
  4. Apply one of the treatments discussed above to the stain (white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, milk, bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide or a stain remover).
  5. Wait for the time stipulated.
  6. Rinse the product and assess your progress.
  7. Re-treat the garment – use the same treatment or try a different one.
  8. Assess your progress again. Then, re-treat your item or launder it as usual.

Don’t be too disheartened if your dried henna stain doesn’t come off after one treatment. You will likely have to treat the stain multiple times to remove it effectively. Plus, you may have to swap between the treatments mentioned until you find the one that’s right for you!