How to Remove Red Dye Stains From Clothes

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This shirt can wreak havoc on a load of laundry.
This shirt can wreak havoc on a load of laundry. (Image: little boy in a red shirt image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com)

Red clothing is the bane of launderers everywhere as it tends to bleed onto other clothes if not washed separately, especially when it is new. Removing red dye stains can be frustrating, as not a single method is guaranteed to work. Whether a method works depends on the color of the garment, its fiber content and how long the stain has had to set. White garments that can be soaked in bleach are the easiest to remove red stains from, while multicolored clothing can present a formidable challenge.

Things You'll Need

  • Bleach (if item is white)
  • Laundry detergent
  • Color remover

Wash the garment again, as the red dye may not be set into a permanent stain at this point. Use a heavy-duty detergent. If the dye bled onto the clothing while being washed in hot water, try washing it in hot water again so the dye will have a chance to migrate out of the clothing. Do not wash in hot water unless the original stain was caused by a hot water wash, as heat can cause stains to set.

Soak out a red dye stain in all-white clothing by putting clothes in a cold-water/bleach solution for half an hour. Good Housekeeping recommends using ¼ cup bleach per gallon of water. Rinse the clothes well after soaking, and then run them through the wash cycle again.

Buy color remover if the previous solutions have not been effective. Follow the directions for the specific product that you buy. This product may also remove the original color of the fabric—use with caution.

Take the clothing to the dry cleaners if it is marked as “Dry Clean Only.” Clothing that has particularly resistant dye stains can also be taken to the dry cleaners, as they have access to solvents that are not available to the general public. Point out the stain and ask them to treat it. There is no guarantee of success, but the dry-cleaning solvents may do the job.

Tips & Warnings

  • Go to the laundry aisle of the grocery store or discount store to find color removers. They are often located near the fabric dyes.
  • Do not soak wool or silk in bleach solution, as this will weaken the fibers and likely cause yellowing of the fabric.
  • Do not put the clothing in the dryer until the stain is out, as the heat from the dryer will set the stain.

References

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