Home > Ask Our Experts > How Do I Remove Dye That's Run Into a Garment?

How Do I Remove Dye That's Run Into a Garment?

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 14 Sep 2015 | comments*Discuss
How Do I Remove Dye That's Run Into A Garment?

Q.If colour from the edging of a garment has run and has dyed the rest of the garment, how do you remove the dye?

(Mrs Kim Reid, 11 September 2008)


Unfortunately, dye stains are very difficult to remove and in some cases, stain removal may not be possible. Garments are often designed with contrasting colour trims or piping's and while attractive, can pose a headache in the laundry. Although the garment may be labelled as “washable”, the colours from the edges will often “run” into the rest of the fabric, causing the garment to end up with streaks of colour from the trims.

Occasionally, this can be resolved by washing the garment again using a heavy-duty detergent and very warm or hot water. This is because the excess dye that came off the trim may not be firmly deposited in the new areas either and there is some hope that a repeat washing will cause the excess dye particles to be lifted off and rinsed away.

Sometimes bleach is recommended for dye stains but use this with extreme caution. Remember, bleach may not only change the colour of the trim but also the appearance of the rest of the garment as well – and bleaching damage to coloured garments is irreversible. There are certain bleaches which are specially formulated as being “safe for fabric” so these may be worth investigating. Pre-treat the stain with a heavy-duty liquid detergent and rinse thoroughly, before following the instructions for the bleaching solution. It is a good idea to test a small, inconspicuous corner first. If the stain has not been removed after 15 minutes then it is unlikely that further bleaching will make any difference and may actually weaken the fabric fibres.

A safer approach might be to look for a colour dye remover and to use this in conjunction with washing soda to try and remove the excess dye stain. Soak the garment in a solution of washing soda dissolved in cold water – this will help to avoid setting the colour. Then wash the garment again, using the colour run dye reversal product.

At the end of the day, the best solution may be to simply avoid buying clothes with extreme colour contrasts on the same garment. Or if such a garment is already in the wardrobe, to always use a cold wash or even a hand wash to tackle soiling in specific areas, rather than taking the risk of washing the entire garment.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
@nu, you could either use a bit of bleach (if they are cotton) and re-wash the whites, or go to your local supermarket and buy a specific product designed to remove accidentally dyed whites. I think to be ion the safe side, I'd do the latter.
Jen - 15-Sep-15 @ 11:37 AM
i have just put four designer tahirts in the wash together a long with two normal white shirts ,one tahirts was pink and it's has stained everything how can I get this colour out
nu - 14-Sep-15 @ 9:43 AM
I washed a black ans white woollen jacket with a brown coat and it has turned the white a beige colour can this be fixed thank you
Tinkerbell - 29-Aug-15 @ 12:13 AM
@milo - I saw a fab navy and white top the other day and thought it would look lovely with a pair of jeans. However, I was stopped short of buying it as I remembered all the other nightmares I have had when buying two-tone coloured clothes especially when there is white involved. You really can't ever avoid colour run and it's the white that ends up looking miserable. Either try it on a hot wash if the green can take it, or if you don't mind the green fading slightly use a bit of bleach, or a Vanish colour run product, otherwise you might have to put it down to experience like I have. Good luck.
Nina - 10-Apr-15 @ 11:59 AM
Green/white top washed with black sock! !!! Now white areas are grey help!!!!!!
milo - 8-Apr-15 @ 12:39 PM
@meela - apart from the information in the article it is quite difficult when colours run as if you bleach it you will also bleach the red and it could make it worse. Perhaps it may be a case of in future to avoid buying clothes with extreme colour contrasts on the same garment as this can always be a problem when washing.
StainExpert - 27-Jan-15 @ 2:22 PM
pls help me, i need to remove color dye that has run thru my garment. its my traditional punjabi. the red had ruin all the white of it. what can i use. the fabric is cotton and gorgette.
meela - 26-Jan-15 @ 3:59 PM
Ive got hair dye on my blue jumper it might be cotton or wool don't know but the dye has been on it for a bit ,it happened when i was dying hair anyone got any tips how i can get it out ,its dried up as i recall it has been there a while
lillielou - 10-Aug-14 @ 9:50 PM
I have a tartan kilt made of 100 percent wool. The red colour in the kilt has run into the white square of the kilt pattern. Is there anyway I can remove the red colour from the white areas. Hope you can help.
Flora - 16-Jul-14 @ 5:49 PM
Please help!!!! I'm devastated! Just picked up wedding dress from bridal shop. It was in black fabric dress bag. It was put in car for couple of hours; it's boling in car; 30++ degrees! Got it home, out of bag, and there are huge due stains on back of dress, Dress is made of one layer lace and delicate beading and second layer satin. The stains have gone through both layers and are BIG!!! Please tell me these stains can be removed? Will it damage dress?? Please help, it's 4 weeks till my wedding and now I have no dress!!
Seb - 1-Aug-13 @ 5:16 PM
The colour runs all over my clothes and also an American cloth tablecloth from my red leather bag.Nothing seems to remove it.Is there anything I can do to the bag to stop the colour coming out?
Caro - 31-Aug-12 @ 2:19 PM
My brown leather man bag has rubbed on my beige trousers and and made dirty marks. What's the best way to remove them, I have tried normal commercial stain remover that you spray on clothes before washing them but to no effect. I guess this is the same as removing polish stains? many thanks
Trevor Jones - 3-Jun-11 @ 8:51 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Karen
    Re: Removing Pollen Stains
    I managed to get Lilly pollen into cream carpet, tried to remove it with a wet cloth, now it's even worse! What do I do?
    13 April 2017
  • StainExpert
    Re: Removing Tippex Stains
    Thepassey - Your Question:I googled this because my son can back from school with it all splattered across his blazer. I washed it then…
    17 March 2017
  • Thepassey
    Re: Removing Tippex Stains
    I googled this because my son can back from school with it all splattered across his blazer. I washed it then while it was wet I picked…
    12 March 2017
  • StainExpert
    Re: Removing Tippex Stains
    dalila - Your Question:Nail Polish Remover.It did work perfect!! ThanksOur Response:Great. We're
    18 January 2017
  • dalila
    Re: Removing Tippex Stains
    Nail Polish Remover.....It did work perfect!! Thanks
    18 January 2017
  • janine
    Re: Removing Tippex Stains
    How to get tip ex off wall paper
    3 January 2017
  • Mum
    Re: Fruit, Vegetable and Food Colouring Stains
    Please can anyone tell me how to remove a pollen stain from the silicone in my kitchen. Thanks
    25 November 2016
  • StainExpert
    Re: Removing Tippex Stains
    Simpledalrymple - Your Question:Thank you - I used the above WD40 tip. My son's dark green blazer was liberally splattered with Tippex, so…
    8 November 2016
  • Simpledalrymple
    Re: Removing Tippex Stains
    Thank you - I used the above WD40 tip. My son's dark green blazer was liberally splattered with Tippex, so my husband scrubbed it with…
    5 November 2016
  • Nat
    Re: Removing Pollen Stains
    Hi, I managed to get Lilly pollen around the plastic sealant on my sink at home! It's gone yellow! Any ideas how to remove it? Thanks and…
    21 October 2016
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the StainExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.