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How to remove pink stains from white clothes

It's hard to hide a pink stain on white clothing! Follow these useful tips to get rid of those pink stains for good!


Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Cleanipedia Team

how to remove pink stains from white clothes
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Ever accidentally tossed a red shirt in with a load of white clothes? If so, you may have found your load of whites distinctly pink after that wash. This kind of accidental colour-run can be fixed with the right steps. Here’s a handy article on how to remove colour-bleeding from white clothes, as well as treating other kinds of pink stains on clothes, such as lipstick or rouge. Just make sure to treat the stains as quickly as possible.

Don’t panic if a red sock has found its way into your white washing! Bleach is your ‘accidently dyed’ white shirt’s new best friend! Add non-chlorine bleach to your wash with your normal detergent (we like Persil), to help return your white clothes to dazzling white.

How To Remove Pink from White Clothes: Accidental Colour-Bleeding

If your load of whites is now pink, it’s important to follow these steps for the best chance of restoring your clothes to their previous whiteness. Do this before you tumble-dry any of your load, as heat will only further set the colour-bleeding.

  1. Remove the non-colourfast item, and pick out the garments that need to be fixed. This should be easy enough to do. Compare the load to another white cloth, to determine which clothes have been affected by the colour-bleed.

  2. Re-wash the stained garments in the washing machine with one cup of non-chlorine bleach, in addition to the standard detergent dosage. When handling bleach make sure that you wear protective gloves and follow all guidelines listed on the product. Run a full cycle with as much agitation as possible. You can also use one cup of white distilled vinegar instead of the bleach.

  3. If the colour-bleed remains, repeat Step 2.

  4. If the stain is still there, soak the stained garments for eight hours in a solution of oxygen-based bleach and cool water.

  5. If the stain persists, repeat Step 3 and launder again in a washing machine.

  6. Do not tumble-dry any garments until the colour bleed has been removed.

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Remember to check your garment care tags first, as some fabrics may be damaged by excessive soaking. Oxygen-based or non-chlorine bleach is much safer and less harsh than chlorine bleach for laundry-related tasks, but using it too much can also damage certain fabrics.

Image of a pink t shirt

How to Get Pink Stains Out of Clothes: Make-up and other Direct Stains

Colour-bleeding is one thing, but if you’ve accidentally lipsticked your sleeve that’s a very different kind of stain. Thankfully, removing direct pink stains on clothes is a much faster process than removing colour-bleeding. Here are some handy suggestions.

  • Using a white cloth or tissue, first blot away as much of the stain as you can, before treating the fabric.

  • Makeup stains respond well to alcohol-based solvents. Try applying rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer to the back of the stain, and blot away with a cotton ball until the stain is gone. Or you can spray on hairspray and blot away the pink stains. Remember to always test any products on a small area of the garment first.

  • Berry stains do not require an alcohol-based solvent. Often, you just need to pour very hot (just-boiled water) directly onto the stain in a rapid stream. Take care when handling hot water to avoid injury. Adding some dishwashing detergent may help.

  • Commercial stain removers can also be very effective. Just follow the directions on the label, and test the product in a small area first.

  • Another approach is to wet the stained area and rub in a small amount of dishwashing detergent, using a towel and a circular motion. After enough rubbing, the stain should be gone.

  • If a faint stain still remains, cut a lemon in half, rub the juice into the stain, and let the white fabric sit in direct sunlight. This is another effective way of removing stains from white clothing.

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How to prevent pink stains?

Preventing pink stains requires a few proactive measures. Firstly, sort your laundry properly by separating whites from coloured items to prevent dye transfer. When washing coloured garments for the first time, it's a good idea to wash them separately or with like colours to minimize the risk of bleeding. Avoid overloading the washing machine, as this can increase the chances of dye transfer. If you notice any color bleeding during the wash, promptly remove the affected item and rewash it separately. Additionally, follow the care instructions on clothing labels and use appropriate laundry products, such as colour-safe detergents or colour-catching sheets, to help prevent pink stains.

With these tips, you no longer need to ask: “How do you get pink stains out of white clothes?” Whether it’s an unlucky colour-bleed from a laundry wash, a makeup accident, or a strawberry pie, pink stains can easily be removed from your white clothes with these tips.

Originally published