Red dye remains one of the most popular coloring agents for clothing items like knitwear and swimwear. It’s common in manufacturing components, too, like cotton, polyester threads, and wool. However, every year, thousands of people search the internet for instructions regarding how to get red dye out of clothes.
Red became one of the most prominent colors in the clothing of many ancient cultures, and it still remains popular today. Unfortunately, it’s also famous for bleeding over into other pieces of clothing during wash cycles, and every day, hundreds of people fish pink underwear out of their washing machines because of a rogue red scarf or glove they accidentally put in the mix. Some people find that their blue shirts suddenly turn maroon, or their beige curtains now have the hue of raspberries.
Removing dye from clothing can be a protracted and labor-intensive battle, especially when dealing with reds. So, in this explainer, our hygiene technicians from Martinizing Dry Cleaning will give you the low-down on how to get red dye out of clothes.
We will also throw in a few tips and tricks regarding how to get dye out of clothes with home remedies if you don’t have access to some of the industrial cleaners we will recommend. Whether you want a straightforward solution, like using dye remover on your clothes, or have the time and patience to get red dye out of clothes through multiple washes, we have you covered.
Before you learn how to get red dye out of clothes, you need to understand why your clothes look the way they do today. Clothing manufacturers use different chemicals to dye their products, and some of them can stain forever.
Dyes and other coloring additives may wash out quickly on materials like denim and wool. However, designers preplan a base color that will stay on for years during the manufacturing process, no matter how many washes you put your clothes through. Red dye is usually a product of multiple substrates of coloring materials from natural sources, like beets, blackberries, tomatoes, and even insects.
Most of the clothes people wear today have synthetic red dyes, which imitate the hues from the natural sources you can find above through synthetic chemical bonds with chlorine. Synthetic and organic reds are famous for bleeding over in the wash. Your red clothing items may bleed on their first wash or after a few cycles, depending on the chemical composition of the dyes used on them.
If you find cautionary statements on the labels of your red clothes, such as “do not use detergent” or “color may wash away over time,” expect color bleeding. Even colorfast clothing items will fade over time as it brushes against other clothes in the wash or gets exposed to bleach, ultraviolet light, and hot water. If you want to remove dye from clothing and minimize fabric dye bleeding in the future, follow our tips below.
Most clothes feature a combination of cotton, polyester, acrylic fabric, linen, nylon, and spandex. Eliminating red stains from these materials can be challenging but not as arduous as removing them from carpets and curtains.
Dry cleaners have been using ammonia to remove dyes and other stubborn stains from clothes since the ’60s. It’s no industry secret that ammonia ranks as the number one countermeasure we most likely recommend for anybody looking to remove red dye from clothes.
You will need:
- A quart of warm water
- Half a teaspoon of fluid detergent or dishwashing liquid
- A tablespoon of ammonia
Mix the half-teaspoon of detergent and ammonia into a quart of water and soak your red-stained clothes in it for half an hour. Never apply the ammonia directly onto your clothing items.
If the red dye persists, put one and a half tablespoons of vinegar into a quart of warm water and soak your stained clothes in it for an hour. Vinegar is acidic, so we don’t recommend it for linen and cotton items.
Red stains can be nearly impossible to remove after they set in, so you need to act quickly.
If you have a set stain, dip a brush in rubbing alcohol and run it through the area with light strokes. As dye fragments and separates from fabric, remove them with an absorbent pad and blot the liquid. Keep the stained area moist until the removal process is complete.
We generally don’t recommend using dye remover on clothes as it can affect their color when the stain is gone. Reserve this measure as a last resort.
Use tried and tested dye removers, like variants from Rit, Nakoma, or DeColourant. Mix their different components, following the instructions on the packet, and apply the mixture directly onto the red stain. Rinse the once-stained area with water and let dry.
If you want more information regarding how to get red dye out of clothes, contact our dry cleaning team, and we’ll give you a free consultation. Call Martinizing Dry Cleaning today at (925) 938-5000, and we’ll restore your clothes to brand-new condition.