We know it — hair dye stains are frustrating. And regular washing simply doesn’t work on them. But what does? How can you save your favorite shirt from dye-induced demise?
In this article, we’ll discuss how to get hair dye out of clothes for good. Whatever color and “freshness” of the stain, we have a solution.
So, read on and find out how to restore your clothes’ previous glory.
Before the Stain Removal Process
Some hair dye found its way onto your garments. Now what?
If this is your first time dealing with a hair dye mess, remember the following:
The sooner you treat a dye stain, the better. If you let it set in, it’ll be much harder to remove later.
Read the Care Label
The first thing you should do is check your clothes care label.
If the label says “dry clean only,” there won’t be much you can do. In other words, you’ll need the help of a professional dry cleaner.
If it says “machine washable,” this is the green light you need to proceed to the next step and pretreat the stain with one of the cleaners that’ll help you remove hair dye from clothes for good.
If you can’t read the label (or there’s no label), do the following test:
Dampen a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and rub it on a small, hidden area of your clothes.
If the color transfers from the garment to the cotton swab, then the clothing item isn’t colorfast, and you’ll need to take it to a professional dry cleaner. If the color doesn’t transfer, you can likely safely treat the stain.
How to Remove a Hair Dye Stain — Fresh Stains and Temporary Dye Stains
Those of you that have used a temporary dye at least once are familiar with the fact that they can easily color everything and anything around you.
They’ll bleed into your clothes and towels, leave stains all over the place, and even color the skin on your scalp if you aren’t careful enough!
Luckily they’re relatively easy to remove.
Here are a couple of methods that can help you get rid of the temporary dye stains:
Use a Color Remover
If you’re using temporary or semi-permanent hair dye, your best bet is to treat the stain with a color remover before washing it as usual. This can also be very useful if you’re trying to get black hair dye out of clothes.
There are a few different types of color removers on the market, and you can find them at most drugstores or beauty supply stores. Then, just follow the instructions on the package.
Tip — You may need to repeat the treatment a few times before the dye is completely gone.
If you’ve been wondering how to get hair dye out of clothes without bleach or other harsh chemicals, the answer is laundry pretreatment.
There are many laundry pretreatments on the market that are more than effective. Again, all you have to do is follow the instructions on the product label.
Enzyme-Powered Laundry Detergent
If you don’t have any color remover on hand, you can try using a heavy-duty laundry detergent with stain-lifting enzymes. Enzyme-powered detergents are designed to break down tough stains, so they’re also able to remove hair dye from your clothing.
Use this type of detergent alone (or after you’ve treated clothes with color remover).
Be sure to follow the instructions on the package for the best results. To make it work, you’ll likely need to wash your clothes at the hottest water temperature your clothes can withstand.
The best thing about temporary dyes is that you don’t have to do anything special to get rid of them.
The easiest way (aka the lazy way) to deal with temporary dye stains is to simply wait for them to fade on their own. This can take a few washes, but it’s usually the safest and cheapest method to bid the stains goodbye.
How to Get Permanent Hair Dye Out of Clothes
Just like dried-up dye stains, permanent dye stains require special (harsher) treatment.
As first aid (if you feel confident enough to do it without damaging the item), you can start by scraping as much of the dye as you can.
If there’s still residue on the clothes, rinse them and try one of the following methods:
Baking soda helps loosen the stains from any material, from the smooth cotton on your clothing to your fuffy synthetic carpet.
To remove hair dye, dampen the stained area with water and pour a tablespoon of baking soda powder. Alternatively, you can make a paste using baking soda and water and apply it to the stain.
Let it work overnight, brush it off, rinse, and wash your garment.
Put some oxygen-based bleach in a large enough container filled with cold water. This color-safe bleach can remove hair dye stains in as little as a few hours. And it also works on brighter colors.
So, just leave it overnight and get purple hair dye out of your clothes.
Commercially available 3% hydrogen peroxide is safe enough to use on your colored clothes to remove hair color stains.
Just dab the clothing with a cotton ball soaked in hydrogen peroxide until the pigmentation gets loose enough. Then use a soft-bristle brush to remove the stain and rinse thoroughly.
Quite effective and safe for your clothes (children and pets away), rubbing alcohol can be the magic cure for any hair dye stain. All you need to do is soak your shirt overnight and repeat the process several times.
Tip — You can do the same with most household cleaners that contain over 90% alcohol.
Acetone is a powerful solvent for various chemicals, including hair dye.
Before you apply it, make sure your nail polish remover is made of pure acetone, with no additional oils or other chemicals to avoid staining or damage to the fabric.
Depending on the severity of the stain, you can either rub the stain with a clean cloth soaked in acetone or soak the stained garment in acetone overnight.
Hairsprays typically have a high content of alcohol (25%–50%). This makes them effective stain removers and allows them to remove everything from ink to paint out of your clothes.
All you need to do to get hair dye out of clothes with hairspray is to spray the stain with hairspray and put a paper towel on each side of it. Then leave it like that overnight and repeat the process if necessary.
How to Remove Hair Dye Stains — Final Tips
Wash the Garment on a Hot Cycle
After pretreating the stain, wash the garment at the hottest temperature your clothing item can withstand.
Repeat the Process
Before you put the garment in the dryer, check to see if the stain is still there. Bear in mind that you may need to wash it more than once to completely remove the stain (and you can also add some borax for an extra clean effect).
Removing Dye From Clothes: Hardcore Stains
If you’re dealing with particularly tough stains, you’ll need hardcore cleaners to get rid of them.
Here’s what you can use:
Chlorine bleach can do wonders for your white clothes, especially if you’re trying to get hair dye out of white clothes.
Mix a gallon of chlorine bleach with four cups of water and soak the stained garment in the mixture for a maximum of 15 minutes and see the stain disappear. Rinse well with cold water and launder as usual.
If all other methods fail, this is your best bet to get red hair dye out of clothes, as well as other hardcore dark dye stains.
Ammonia is an incredibly versatile cleaner that can help you with virtually anything — from cleaning mold off wood to stain removal. But you have to be extra careful when using it.
To remove hair dye from your garments, simply soak the stain in a mixture of dish soap and ammonia. To make the solution, combine two cups of water, one tablespoon of ammonia, and one tablespoon of dish soap. Then rinse the fabric well with cold water.
Tip — Don’t use ammonia on wool, as it can cause irreversible damage to this kind of fabric.
You don’t have to abstain from having fun and changing your hair color because you fear you’ll ruin your clothes in the process. As you’ve had the chance to see, hair dye can be removed from clothes in just a few simple steps.
Just follow these tips, and you’ll have no trouble getting the dye out.
Will hair dye eventually wash out of clothes?
If you’re using a semi-permanent or temporary hair dye, it’s likelier that the color will fade after a few washes, especially if you use an enzyme-powered detergent. However, if you’re using a permanent hair dye, the stain is there to stay unless you take some proactive steps to remove it.
Does acetone remove hair dye?
Yes, pure acetone can dissolve hair dye stains from clothing.
Just rub the stain with a clean cloth soaked in acetone, and the dye will transfer to the acetone-soaked cloth. Soak larger stains overnight and wash them in the washing machine to get rid of any acetone residue.
If the first washing doesn’t remove the stain, repeat the process and soak the stain with acetone again. Make sure not to dry your clothes until the stain is gone so as to prevent setting the stain.
How do you get dried dye out of clothes?
First, take a butter knife, spoon, or a similar dull tool and try to carefully scrape as much of the dried-up die from your garments as possible.
Then pretreat the stains with one of the suitable cleaners (cleaners that contain over 90% alcohol, pure acetone, and hairspray are usually up for the job).
Finally, wash your clothes with a laundry detergent containing enzymes to make sure the stains will be gone for good.
How to remove hair dye from clothes with hairspray?
Just spray the hairspray directly onto the stain and dab with a clean cloth until the dye is gone. Once most of the dye has been eliminated, treat the area with water and laundry detergent to remove any residual hairspray.
Will vinegar take the color out of your clothes?
This mainly depends on the severity and freshness of the stain.
Try soaking stained garments in a mix of hot water and vinegar (a quart of water and 1/4 cup of white vinegar) for about half an hour and then laundering them.
If this doesn’t work and you’re still wondering how to get hair dye out of clothes, try one of the harsher removal methods described above (after you’ve made sure the clothes can withstand it).