How to Remove Hair Dye

How to Remove Hair Dye from Fabrics 

Here at Fresh Clothes, we know that accidents can happen, especially when working with hair dye. Hair dye is one of the toughest stains to get out of fabrics. Luckily, we have a few methods to make sure your clothes look clean again. 

The first step is to always check the label. If a label says dry clean only, take the garment to a dry cleaner as soon as possible. The label may also have specific instructions on what chemicals you should not use. For example, chlorine bleach should not be used on many washable fabrics, and washable wool requires special care. Unless specified on the care label, these cleaning solutions are safe for most washable fabrics. 

How to remove brown, black, or blue hair dye: 
  1. Rinse the stain with cold water or rubbing alcohol. 

Some hair dyes are thick and gloppy. Before you do anything else, hold the stained area under running water, or pour rubbing alcohol over it to remove any excess dye goop. If you still see goop, try scraping with a dull knife or credit card to remove any excess. 

2. Spot treat with liquid laundry detergent. 

Apply a good quality liquid laundry detergent or stain removal pre-treatment that contains stain-lifting enzymes and scrub with a clean white cloth or soft-bristle brush (a toothbrush is ideal). Let sit for 5 – 15 minutes. 

3. Soak in oxygen-based bleach. 

Fill the sink or a large bowl with cool water and add color-safe oxygen-based bleach according to the package directions. Soak the garment at least eight hours. 

4. Repeat steps 2-3 as necessary. 

How to remove red hair dye: 
  1. Rinse the stain with cold water or rubbing alcohol. 

Start with step one outlined above to remove any hair dye goop. Rinse the stained area with running water or alcohol, and/or scrape off any visible goop. 

2. Soak in dishwashing liquid and ammonia solution. 

Mix a solution of 1 quart of water, 1/2 teaspoon liquid dishwashing liquid, and 1 tablespoon of household ammonia in a non-metal container. Soak the stained area for 15 minutes. 

3. Scrub the dye stain with liquid laundry detergent and soak again. 

Remove the garment from the soaking solution and rinse well. Still there? Scrub with an enzymatic liquid laundry detergent on a clean cloth, then soak it in the same solution again. 

4. Soak in white vinegar and water solution. 

If the stain persists, try using a different solution in a different container (any kind) or sink. Mix 1-quart warm water and ¼ cup white vinegar. Soak for 30 minutes. If the stain is still there, move to step 5. 

5. Soak in oxygen-based bleach and water solution. 

Fill a clean container or sink with cool water and add all-fabric oxygen bleach according to package directions. Soak for at least 8 hours. 

When working with hair dye stains, the faster you work, the better. If you see the stain happen, pull the garment tight over the sink with the stained side down and run cold water or pour rubbing alcohol over the spot immediately to help keep the stain from setting and rinse off any excess dye. Don’t give up too soon. You may need to repeat these steps several times to get the stain out. When in doubt, head over to Fresh Clothes and one of our laundry experts can help you with your stain.