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how to remove colour stains from clothes
Clothing Care

How to remove colour stains from clothes

Whites and colours can easily mix in the wash. Read how to remove colour stains from clothes and salvage your clothes from accidental colour runs.

If you’re not careful, you can easily mix your whites and colours in the wash. Sometimes you might get away with it, but other times you’ll need to know how to handle the situation. This article will outline how you can salvage your whites after colours run in the wash.

How to remove colour stains from clothes

  1. Never put the clothing onto which colour has transferred, into a tumble dryer. This sets the colour into the fabric, making it much harder to remove.
  2. Make sure the piece of clothing that caused the colour run is removed from the rest. Separating the clothing will stop additional dye transferring while they are in a wet pile together.
  3. Before attempting to remove colour stains from clothes, read their labels carefully. They will tell you whether it is safe to use certain products such as bleach, and what temperatures are best.
  4. If you need to know how to remove colour stains from white clothes, soak them in bleach or vinegar. Put the white clothing into a roomy sink, or a bathtub. Add 235ml or one cup of white vinegar. If the labels on your garments say bleach is okay to use, replace the vinegar with 60ml or ¼ cup of non-chlorine bleach. Soak for half an hour with 3.8 litres or one gallon of cool water.
  5. Once the clothing has been soaked for a half hour, rinse with cool water and wash on a cool setting with an effective laundry detergent such as Omo. Leave to air dry.
  6. If soaking and washing does not remove colour stains from clothes, try a colour remover. They should be available in your grocery store or supermarket. This is a tip for how to remove colour stains from white clothes, as these products could strip colour from non-white clothes. Always check the label to make sure the product is suitable for your fabrics and circumstances.
  7. If you’re removing colour runs from coloured clothing, and the stains are still present, try rewashing with a detergent such as Omo.
  8. If rewashing the coloured garments does not clear them of transferred dye, try soaking them in bleach that is colour safe. Always test a small patch of the item first, for colourfastness. Soak for eight hours minimum, rinse and launder before air-drying.
  9. In future, try using a colour catcher in your laundry. It is a product that has been devised to catch running dye while in the washing machine. Place it in the washing machine drum, then wash the clothes according to the packaging instructions and your clothing labels.
  10. Another tip for avoiding colours running in future is to wash all new clothes before wearing them. This will flush out some unstable dyes and will stop dye transferring from one item of clothing to another, or onto items of furniture.

So, there you have it – now you’re armed with handy tips for how to remove colour stains from clothes. Put them into action next time a red sock sneaks its way into a white wash!

Top Tip


Immediately separate the item of clothing that has caused the colour run from the rest of your wet washing – this will prevent it from doing any further damage.

Key points:

  • Resist any urge to dry your clothing in a tumble dryer before addressing the stains – this could set the new colours into your clothes for good.
  • Before you set about removing colours from your clothing, read the labels to find out which products are safe for that particular fabric.
  • Natural products such as vinegar can help you to remove colour runs from clothing. Read on to find out how to use them.