Hair Dye on Clothes

How to Remove Hair Dye from Clothes

Getting a gigantic blob of hair dye on your top isn’t exactly the look you were going for. And there’s usually only one thing for it—you have to remove the dye from the top before it creates even more havoc.

Removing hair dye from clothes can be quite a tiring task, and it’s not necessarily the easiest of jobs to carry out. But if you’ve got the right tools, a ton of patience and plenty of time, you’ll be pleased to hear that a lot of hair dye stains can be removed from clothes.

Follow the methods below to get the dye out of your outfits!


Tips Before Removing Hair Dye from Clothes

How to Remove Hair Dye from Clothes

Below you’ll find a few tips to consider before you start removing hair dye from your clothes:

  • Act fast! Try and remove the blob(s) of hair dye before it has a chance to set into the fibres of your clothes. Aged stains can be trickier to remove.
  • Don’t dry a dye-stained item of clothing until all the dye has been removed from it. The intense heat from a tumble dryer will set the stain and will make it harder to remove.
  • Test your chosen treatment out first! Always find a discreet patch of clothing (like a seam) and dab some cleaning solution onto it. A simple test will tell you if the treatment is going to damage and/or discolour your garment, so don’t skip this stage!
  • No scrubbing! If you scrub a dye stain it will be driven deeper into the material’s fibres and will become difficult to remove.
  • Read clothes tags first! Before treating and cleaning any item of clothing, you should read the care tag. There’ll be instructions on this label that tell you how to wash the time, how not to wash/treat the item, and how to dry it. You need to adhere to this information.
  • ‘Dry clean only’ really means dry clean only! So, don’t waste time trying to clean your dry clean only outfit at home, take it straight to a dry cleaning shop and ask them for help.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable treating an item of clothing, whether it be made from a delicate material or not, you can always take your outfit to a dry cleaning shop to see if they can help you out.
  • Be prepared to repeat some of the methods listed below more than once. Hair dye can sometimes be tricky to remove, and, in some cases, you have to apply more than one treatment to the stain to remove it completely.
  • The best way to avoid getting hair dye on your clothes in the future is to prevent the problem in the first place! In short, don’t wear your favourite outfit when you’re getting your hair dyed!
  • Wear protective gear when handling chemicals and treating hair dye stains. Hair dye is pretty dirty stuff and it almost always finds a way of getting onto every surface. So, protect yourself from the hair dye and any cleaning products you intend on using.
  • Try and scrape off blobs of hair dye before they have a chance to dry onto your clothes.


Method 1: Laundry Detergent

remove hair dye from clothes

One of the simplest ways to remove hair dye from clothes is to use laundry detergent. For this to work well you’ll need to act as fast as possible, and you’ll need to use a biological detergent that is packed with enzymes.

Steps to follow:

  1. Using a teaspoon, scoop up as much hair dye as you can from your outfit.
  2. Continue to do this until you can’t pick up any more dye.
  3. Hold your item under the cold water tap, and flush water through the stain.
  4. Fill your sink up with warm water and add a normal measure of laundry detergent to the water (if the tag on your items says ‘Wash in cold water’, use cold water instead).
  5. Pop the item in the water and allow it to rest like this for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the item and rinse it under cold water again.
  7. Cover the dye stain with some more detergent – you can work the product into the stain with your fingers.
  8. Add the item to the washing machine’s drum but don’t wash the detergent off it.
  9. Select an appropriate cycle – choose a water temperature that is suitable for the garment you’re washing.
  10. Add a normal dose of detergent to the washing machine.
  11. Start the cycle.
  12. When the cycle has ended, inspect the item and dry it if the hair dye is gone. If there is still dye present, you will need to repeat the steps above or try one of the other removal methods below.


Method 2: Stain Remover

stain remover for hair dye

There are a number of stain removers that can help you remove hair dye from clothes. But with so much choice it can be difficult to decide which product to try out.

We’d recommend Vanish Gold Oxi Action Stain Remover. It’s very easy to use and not only takes out stains for you, but also brightens colours and removes pesky odours from outfits too.

You don’t need to use a huge amount of this product to remove marks from clothes, so you’ll get plenty of uses from a single bottle.

Plus, Vanish can also be used on a wide variety of materials, including silk and wool, which is an added bonus because treating delicate materials can often be tricky!


Method 3: Oxygen Bleach

Before you use bleach to treat an item, you must always run a patch test. Bleach has been known to damage and discolour items, so running a quick test will tell you if this kind of treatment is right for your outfit!

Steps to follow:

  1. Fill a clean bucket up with water and add a measure of oxygen bleach to it. Read the bleach’s packaging to see the exact dose you need to put in.
  2. Pop the dye-stained item in the water.
  3. Make sure the item is submerged under the water.
  4. Leave the oxygen bleach to work its magic for about eight hours or so.
  5. Remove and rinse the item under cold water.
  6. Inspect the item for dye stains, and if there are still marks present, repeat the steps above.
  7. If the item is clean and there are no hair dye stains left, you can launder the item as usual.


Method 4: Chlorine Bleach

remove hair dye with chlorine bleach

To remove hair dye from white coloured clothes only, you can use chlorine bleach.

But remember, this method is only suitable for clothes that are white, and for materials that can withstand this type of treatment. You shouldn’t try this method out on coloured laundry or delicate materials.

And before you begin, make sure you read the care label on your item and do a patch test!

Steps to follow:

  1. Fill a bucket up with water and add a dose of chlorine bleach to it – read the bleach’s packaging to see how much water to bleach you need to use.
  2. Pop the dye-stained item in the water.
  3. Make sure the item is submerged under the water.
  4. Leave the item in the water for 15 minutes – don’t leave the item in the water for too long because the material’s fibres will start to weaken.
  5. Remove and rinse the item under cold water.
  6. Inspect the item for dye stains, and if there are still blemishes present, repeat the steps above.
  7. If the item is clean and there are no hair dye stains left, you can wash the item as usual.


Method 5: Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide can be particularly useful when it comes to removing hair dye stains from clothes and carpets. However, you’ve got to be careful when using this product as it can discolour coloured clothes, and can cause severe damage to fabrics.

So, if you’re going to try this method, don’t use it on coloured outfits, and make sure you don’t leave the product on the fabric you need to clean for too long.

Steps to follow:

  1. Pop some gloves on.
  2. Pour a small amount of hydrogen peroxide into a bowl.
  3. Grab a fresh cotton cloth and dip it into the solution.
  4. Start blotting the dye stain with the damp cloth.
  5. Repeat this action until you’ve covered the whole stain.
  6. Wait a few minutes but no more than 15 minutes.
  7. Start to blot at the dyed area again but this time use a new cloth that has only been soaked in water.
  8. Rinse the item clean and launder as normal.


Method 6: Washing Up Liquid and Ammonia

remove hair dye with ammonia and washing up liquid

Tip: This method typically works well on red hair dye stains.

Steps to follow:

  1. Pop some gloves on.
  2. Fill a tub up with a quarter of a cup of water.
  3. Add half a teaspoon of washing up liquid to the water.
  4. Add a tablespoon of ammonia to the tub.
  5. Find the dye-stained patch on your item of clothing and pop it directly into the tub – stain should be covered.
  6. Wait 15 minutes.
  7. Hold the stain up between your fingers and gently start rubbing it – don’t scrub the material!
  8. Continue to do this for a few minutes.
  9. Put the item back into the tub with the stain facing into the mixture.
  10. Wait 15 minutes again.
  11. Remove the item from the tub and rinse it clean under fresh water.
  12. Rinse the item for a few minutes, so you know that it is free from any product.
  13. Launder the item as normal.
  14. Optional: In a new tub mix a quarter of a cup of water with a quarter of a cup of white vinegar.
  15. Pop the stained patch into the cleaning solution.
  16. Leave the item to rest in the solution for 30 minutes.
  17. Launder the item as normal.
  18. Inspect the item after it has been washed in the washing machine. If the hair dye stain is still present, soak the item in a solution of water and oxygen bleach (follow the steps in the ‘Oxygen bleach section‘ above).

Note: Just keep in mind that you should never mix ammonia with bleach. So, make sure that you launder your garment properly, and clean any ammonia residue off any surface(s) you’ve touched before you use bleach to remove the remains of the hair dye.


Method 7: Hairspray

If you’d like to use hairspray to remove hair dye from your laundry, follow the steps below. Just keep in mind that you might have to repeat the steps outlined below many times, this method may not work on older or dried stains, and it often gets mixed results.

Steps to follow:

  1. Scrape off as much fresh hair dye as you can from your item using a teaspoon.
  2. Rinse cold water through the item.
  3. Lay your item flat on a hard surface.
  4. Stuff an old, white cloth up inside the item of clothing. The cloth will act as a barrier between the stain and the back of your item, and will stop the dye from spreading during the treatment phase.
  5. Spray a generous amount of hairspray over the dye – the hairspray must contain alcohol otherwise the treatment won’t work.
  6. Grab a fresh, white cotton cloth and start blotting at the hairsprayed area.
  7. Repeat Step 6 until you’ve blotted the entire stain.
  8. Spray the whole area again with hairspray.
  9. Leave the hairspray to rest on the item overnight.
  10. The next day, repeat Step 8.
  11. Start blotting the stained area with a fresh, white cotton cloth again.
  12. Continue to blot the area until you’ve covered the whole section.
  13. Rinse the item clean with water.
  14. Launder the item as normal.


How to Tackle Different Colours of Hair Dye

different hair dye colors


To remove black hair dye from clothes you can try any of these methods: laundry detergent, an official stain remover, or oxygen bleach and water.

It’s worth testing your chosen treatment out on a discreet patch of material before you treat your item of clothing properly.


To remove brown hair dye from clothing you can try these methods: laundry detergent, an official stain remover, or oxygen bleach and water.

Remember to test your chosen product out before you use it to treat the dye stains officially.


If you need to remove red hair dye from clothes, you can try any of the methods listed above. But the washing up liquid and ammonia method typically yields the best results when it comes to red hair dye.

If you’re going to try the chlorine bleach method or the hydrogen peroxide method, make sure that the clothes you’re treating are white and can withstand the bleaching treatment. (But don’t mix chlorine bleach with hydrogen peroxide – use them separately!)


How to Prevent Getting Hair Dye on Clothes

woman dyeing hair

The best way to protect your outfits from hair dye is to stop them from coming into contact with the dye in the first place. Here are some more ways you can protect your clothes from hair dye:

  • Don’t wear your favourite outfit if you’re going to be dyeing your hair at home or going to the salon.
  • Wear old clothes when handling hair dye.
  • Have dedicated ‘hair dyeing clothes’ – an old pair of jeans and an old t-shirt (things that you don’t mind getting dirty/continuously stained) – and wear them each time you dye your hair.
  • Cover yourself up with a hairdressing cape/bib.
  • If you’re dyeing your hair at home, make sure you cover the floor and any soft furnishings with old towels.
  • Wear gloves when handling hair dye.
  • Have old cloths and paper towels at hand just in case you have a mishap and drop some hair dye onto yourself! You can clean it away quickly, so it doesn’t cause havoc.
  • Clean the surfaces you or the dye has come into contact with, so there’s no chance of you leaning against a blob of dye and getting it on your clothes. (Clean the sink, for example).
  • If you’re concerned about making too much of a mess when dyeing your hair, ask someone to help you out.