How to Remove Dye Transfer Stains from Colored Clothes

Dye transfer stains are one of the most common stains that people have to deal with. They are caused when a garment comes in contact with another article of clothing, either by touching it or rubbing against it. For example, this can happen if you accidentally put your shirt inside out and then wear it for the day without realizing what you did.

It also happens when two different colored shirts rub together during washing or drying or while being worn under a coat. The dye from one color is transferred onto the other, leaving behind an unsightly stain that will not come out quickly.

How to Remove Dye Transfer Stains from Colored Clothes

Dye transfers are notoriously tricky to remove because there is no way to tell which side has been stained until after they are washed and dried again.

Related: How to Get Oil Out of Clothes After Drying

How to Remove Dye Transfer Stains from Colored Clothes

If you have a shirt with dye transfer stains, getting the stain out as soon as possible is essential. That way, you don’t end up with a faded and ruined shirt and won’t be left with stains that will never come out no matter what you do.

1. Rewashing with detergent

The first thing you can do to remove dye transfer stains is to rewash the clothes with detergent.

  1. Fill the washer with water and add detergent, then put in your stained clothes.
  2. Wash the fabric according to the garment label instructions

2. Stain Remover

This is another excellent method for getting dye out of clothes

  1. Damp a white cloth into a stain remover such as OxiClean (depending on how tough the stain is); you might also use rubbing alcohol or hairspray.
  2. Dab the stained clothes in and let them soak. It would help if you waited until all of the dirt had come off the fabric.
  3. Once they are clean, you can rinse them under warm water to remove any excess stain remover, then wash the clothes in the washer as usual.

Note: This method can damage colored fabrics and should only be used if other methods don’t work.

3. Soak in color bleach

You can also use color-safe bleach to get dye transfer stains out of colored clothes.

  1. Place 1 c (240 mL) hydrogen peroxide in a clean half-gallon container.
  2. Fill the rest of the space with water.
  3. Soak the stain in the color-safe bleach for about 10 hours
  4. Rinse, wash as usual, and air dry.

4. Try a color catcher

Another way to get dye out of clothes is to use a color catcher. A color catcher is a piece of absorbent material placed in the washer to catch any loose dyes during the wash cycle. It will help prevent fabric colors from bleeding onto other colored fabrics and helps maintain the brightness of your white clothes.

Put the color catcher in the washing machine and then wash the clothes as directed on the package.

Related: How to Remove Color Bleeding from Colored Clothes

How to Remove Dye Transfer From Clothes with Vinegar

One of the most effective dye transfer stain removers to remove dye transfer stains from clothes is Vinegar. You can either use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, but make sure that you dilute it with water before you try to wash the garment.

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You might also want to use this process on oily stains or stains made from something other than dyes. You should dilute Vinegar enough to avoid ruining the fibers in the clothing. It’s best to test out an inconspicuous spot first to ensure that it won’t affect the colors of your clothes.

  1. To remove dye stains on clothes, we need to mix a tablespoon of Vinegar with one dishwashing liquid and two cups of warm water.
  2. Then place the clothes in the solution and let them soak for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes of soaking, rinse our clothes with cold water to remove any remaining residue.
  4. Then wash as usual and air dry.

Related: How to Remove Detergent Stains Out of Clothes

How to Get Dye Out of White Clothes

Washing white clothing in cold water may cause them to appear discolored for a short time, but the good news is that cleaning white clothes is simple. The best method to remove dye stains is with hot water, so check the garment care labels first to discover whether you can use them.

Using Heavy-Duty Laundry Detergent

  1. To remove dye from the fabric, combine the heavy-duty laundry detergent and boiling water in a mixie.
  2. Then soak the stained garment for about 2 – 5 hours
  3. Fill a sink with hot or warm water. Rinse in the basin.
  4. Wash as usual in your washing machine.
  5. You can repeat the 1 – 3 steps if stains remain

Non-Chlorine bleach solution

you should use this method for stubborn stains and if it is allowed on the garment care labels to be used.

  1. Mix a solution of cool water and non-chlorine bleach
  2. Soak the garment in the solution for a few hours, and then launder as usual.
  3. The bleach will help break down the color and get it out of your clothes or fabrics

How to remove dye transfer stains from white clothes after drying

When you wash white clothes and get a dye stain, you can use these tricks to remove the stains.

  1. Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (such as OxiClean) with cool water.
  2. Then soak the stained garment and let it sit for 7 hours.
  3. On silk or wool, do not use oxygen bleach.
  4. If the stains are gone, wash the garment and let it dry.

Tips for Removing Dye Transfer from Clothes

Thankfully, you can do a few things to reduce or eliminate dye transfer stains from your clothes.

  1. When you see a dye stain, promptly act. The longer a stain sits, the more difficult it is to remove.
  2. Before you attempt to remove a dye stain, test the stain remover on an inconspicuous area of the damaged cloth.
  3. Do not tumble-dry any stained garments before applying the treatment, as the intense heat might set the color stain.
  4. Read the garment’s care instructions listed on the label.
  5. If the color ran due to a non-colorfast item in the load, ensure it’s removed and hung to dry. Keep it separate from other clothes so that it doesn’t reoccur.
  6. If the two articles of clothing are not going to be worn simultaneously, keep them separate and wash them separately. Avoid mixing colors because this increases the likelihood of creating a dye transfer stain—different colors by turning one shirt inside out or placing them in separate wash bags. Wash the articles of clothing separately, allowing at least 15 minutes between loads for the water to settle.
  7. If you can’t avoid having two different colors touch during washing, place more detergent into the washer. The amount that you use should be enough to produce a thick, frothy mixture. For top-loading machines, the standard detergent cap is for lightly soiled clothes. So use two or three capsful of liquid detergent or one scoopful of powder detergent instead. For front-loading machines, use one cup instead of the usual half cup.
  8. If using more detergent is not enough to get rid of the dye transfer stain, you should switch to a detergent that contains enzymes. These naturally occurring proteins help break down stains, which they’ll do for your clothes. Look for a liquid laundry detergent or a powder detergent with enzymes listed as one of the first five ingredients.
  9. Use a Stain Remover – A final method you can try is to use a stain remover immediately after removing your clothes from the dryer. Follow the directions for treating stains with enzymatic cleaners or pre-treaters.

Can Vinegar remove color bleed?

“Yes, Vinegar is an effective method to remove color bleeding. In addition, it is an eco-friendly method instead of some of the other remedies.”

Can Vanish remove dye stains?

“Yes, Vanish will remove it if it’s a dye stain. However, you do need to treat the stain as soon as possible because the longer it sits, the more difficult to remove it becomes.”

Can Vinegar remove dye transfer?

“Yes, dye transfer can be reduced or eliminated with Vinegar and water. Apply a mixture of white Vinegar and water to the fabric, then rinse the garment until all the residual color has been removed.”

Will Vinegar fade clothes?

Vinegar will cause clothes to fade. However, Vinegar is a natural fabric softener and can be used to remove stains and odors from clothing.

Does OxiClean remove color bleeding?

I think OxiClean is an excellent color remover for removing color bleeding. You could also use bleach or Tide with Bleach to get the same effect.

Can I soak clothes in Vinegar overnight?

“Yes, you can soak clothes in Vinegar overnight to remove stains. Pour the Vinegar on the soiled area and scrub with a brush or sponge. You can leave it on overnight or for a few days in a bucket of water before washing it.”


Your clothes should be safe from dye transfer stains if you follow all of these steps. The key is to do all you can before the article of clothing comes out of the washer and dryer. This way, you can avoid treating a stain after it happens.

It’s always best to wash different-colored clothes together in cold water because

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