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How to Remove Colour Stains from Clothes

Just one stray red sock can cause your white clothes to end up pink! Learn these simple tips on how to get rid of colour stains & prevent future incidents here.

With a few of these handy tips, it is possible to shift a stubborn colour stain. Read below these tips to help you get rid of those pesky colour stains from clothes.

What Causes Colour Run in the Wash?

Clothing colour bleed problems are annoying but can be easily avoided. You get colour run in the wash because the dye is loose and not colourfast. The problem is also exacerbated if you’re washing at a high temperature, so whenever possible, wash dark and bright clothes at a lower temperature. Some dyes, like reds and other strong colours, are difficult to fix. If the garment carries a manufacturer’s warning to ‘wash dark colours separately’, then beware it might run when you wash it. Always sort washing carefully, placing strong colours together, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the care labels.

How to Remove Colour Stains from Clothes

If you accidentally end up with the colour bleed on your clothes, though, don’t panic. These simple tips should help get your whites and light colours clean and fresh.

1) Remove the offending item and rewash the load with a good detergent – we like Surf excel Liquid Detergent. Regardless of your chosen brand, be sure to read and follow the dosing instructions, and always use a detergent suitable for your fabric.

2) If rewashing does not remove the dye, try soaking the affected garments in a bucket of cold water with a cup of distilled white vinegar added (remember to test this on a small area of the garment first, before proceeding), then wash again as above.

3) If you’re still wondering how to get colour stains out of clothes, another system for removing colour run is to use oxygen bleach. When this handy product meets water, it reacts, and oxygen bubbles are created – making it very good at removing stains. To remove colour run, follow the directions on the label, testing the solution on a small area first. It really is important to check the advice on the label of any cleaning product you use – some will advise leaving the garments to soak for a set period. Then, rinse thoroughly with cool water and wash as normal.

4) Commercial stain removing products can also be used to remove colour stains from clothes. Remember to read the directions on the label and to test it on a small area first. Soak according to the instructions on the packet and then wash, rinse, and air dry as normal.

So, if you’ve been concerned about how to remove stains from clothes when the colour runs, worry not. While it’s important to sort your washing properly – prevention is always better than cure, there are several ways to restore your clothing to its original glory in the unfortunate event of a colour run accident.

Key Steps:

1. Remove the stain from the affected area and rewash the load with a good detergent like Surf excel Liquid Detergent.

2. If rewashing does not remove the dye, try soaking the garment in a bucket of cold water with a cup of distilled white vinegar.

3. Another system of removing colour stains out of your clothes is to use Oxygen Bleach.

4. Commercial stain removing products can also be used to remove colour stains from clothes.

Top Tip


Colour bleed is most noticeable when you wash bright or dark clothes with paler garments, but it can happen in any wash. If you wash darks and lights separately you’re less likely to get colour run, but you will notice that the garments fade over time. Prevent this by setting the dye just after you buy your clothes – just run it through a regular wash using vinegar instead of laundry detergent. Allow to dry, and then wash as usual.