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Green, blue, yellow and red t-shirts hanging on a washing line.

How to Get Dye out of Clothes

When dye runs in the wash, don't panic – it can be removed! Read on for tips on how to remove dye from white and coloured clothes.

Whether it’s a tie-dyeing project gone wrong, or a red shirt unknowingly washed with a load of whites, a case of accidental dye can seem like a headache to remove! But even though the dye may seem widespread, it’s actually not that difficult to get rid of a dye stain. We’ve found that with some speedy action and Persil Biological Washing Powder for whites, or Persil Small & Mighty Colour for coloured clothes you can tackle those troublesome dye stains and rescue any laundry casualties.

How to Remove Dye from Clothes: Basic Tips

Before you start, be sure to follow these basic tips for removing a dye stain, regardless of your clothing’s fabric. You’ll find specific instructions for treating different types of clothes listed later on in this article.

  1. Always act as soon as you notice a dye stain. The longer a stain has to set, the more difficult it is to remove.

  2. Read the garment’s care labels. These should indicate the correct water temperature and method for washing your clothing.

  3. Before you try to remove a dye stain, spot-test your stain remover solution on a hidden area of the stained fabric.

  4. Do not tumble-dry any stained clothes before you treat them, as the high heat can set the dye stain.

  5. If the dye stain was caused by a non-colourfast item in the load, make sure to remove that item and hang it to dry. Keep it separate from other clothing so it won’t stain again.

How to Get Dye Out of White Clothes

White clothes may appear temporarily ruined by a dye stain, but the good news is that the solution for treating white clothes is simple. Dye stains respond well to hot water, so check the garment care labels first to find out the hottest temperature you can use.

  1. Mix a solution of Persil Bio Washing Powder and the hottest water possible for your fabric.

  2. Soak your clothes in this solution for at least 30 minutes up to a few hours.

  3. Rinse in hot or warm water.

  4. Wash as normal in your washing machine.

  5. If the dye stain remains, repeat Steps 1 to 3.

  6. You may also want to try a commercial colour run remover. Be sure to follow both the product instructions and the garment care labels.

  7. For particularly stubborn stains, you can also try a non-chlorine bleach (or oxygen bleach) – but only if the garment care labels allow this, as bleach can damage certain fabrics. Mix a solution of cool water and non-chlorine bleach, and soak your garment for a few hours in this. Remember: use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

  8. After you’ve soaked your item, wash as normal.

How to Remove Dye from Coloured Clothes

For colour fast clothes, you may be able to follow the steps as for white clothes. However, we do not recommend this unless you are sure your garments are colour fast – try our simple colour fast test to check. If you discover that your garments are not colour fast, follow these steps:

  1. Take a white cloth and dampen it with a commercial stain remover, rubbing alcohol, hairspray, or any clear solvent that is 90% alcohol.

  2. Dab the stain with the white cloth repeatedly, and the dye should keep transferring from your garment onto the white cloth.

  3. Afterward, rinse in warm water.

  4. Proceed with normal wash.

  5. If the dye stain persists, repeat Steps 1 to 3.

  6. If the dye stain is still there and your garments original colour hasn’t faded, you can try soaking it in a solution of Persil Small & Mighty Colour and the hottest water possible (according to garment care labels). Soak for at least 30 minutes (checking that the garment’s original color isn’t fading whilst soaking).

  7. Afterward, rinse and launder as normal in the washing machine.

To prevent accidental colourbleed in the future, remember to always sort your laundry according to colour. However, sometimes you just can’t predict a dye stain – at least now you’ll know how to get dye out of clothes! You can also find out how to keep your coloured clothes looking vibrant with our guide on colour care here.  Have you experienced a colour run nightmare? Share with us your suggestions on how to remove dye from clothes.