Laundry

How To Remove Colour Stains From Clothes

Just one stray red sock can cause your white clothes to end up pink! Find out 5 simple tips on how to get rid of colour stains & prevent future incidents here.

Key Steps:

Handy solutions for removing colour stains:

Remember to check you are using a suitable solution for your fabric by consulting your garment’s care label.

Just one red sock gone astray can leave your white shirt looking a sad milky pink! With a few of these handy tricks, however, it is possible to shift a stubborn colour stain. This article provides five simple methods for getting rid of colour stains, along with a few useful tips for preventing future incidents.

What Causes Colour Run in the Wash?

Colour bleed clothes 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 on 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 be aware 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 accidently end up with colour bleed on your clothes, though, don’t panic. These simple steps should help get your whites and light colours clean and fresh.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • If you’re still wondering how to get colour stains out of clothes, another method 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 of time. Then, rinse thoroughly with cool water and wash as normal.
  • 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 colours run, look no further. While it’s important to sort your washing properly – prevention is always better than cure – there are a number of ways to restore your clothing to its original glory in the unfortunate event of a colour run accident.

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.