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How to get hair dye out of clothes

Whether you have curious teens accidentally staining their clothes with pink hair dye or you experience an unexpected spill while tackling a few stubborn gray hairs, learning how to get hair dye out of clothes is a helpful skill to add to your laundry routine. Messy stains can happen with even the most careful applications. Use this guide to learn what removes hair dye from clothes, step-by-step stain removal instructions and other tips for removing hair dye stains.

What removes hair dye from clothes?

Laundry detergent, oxygen-based bleach and chlorine bleach can be used to potentially remove black, brown or blue hair dye from clothes. For red hair dye, bleach, water, white vinegar, dishwashing liquid or ammonia can all be used to help remove hair dye from clothes. Never use bleach with ammonia or vinegar, as the results can be toxic.

Always consult the item’s care label before using any alternatives to laundry detergent, and test stain removers in a hidden spot to ensure they are safe to use on your clothes. Be extremely cautious when using ammonia, especially when combining it with other ingredients. Never use ammonia on garments containing latex, as it can dissolve the latex.

Will bleach remove hair dye from clothes?

Bleach can potentially remove hair dye from certain fabrics. Bleach that is color-safe and oxygen-based can be used on non-white garments. Chlorine bleach should only be used on white garments. Consult the laundry care label before applying bleach to your items.

Wet clothes in washing machine Wet clothes in washing machine

Removing hair dye from clothes: a step-by-step guide

Hair dye stains may seem like a hassle to remove, but a few tips can help ease the process. Read on below to learn how to remove hair dyes for both lighter and darker colors. Be sure to check your care labels before washing any garment.

  • Detergent, such as Swash® Laundry Detergent1

  • Toothbrush 

  • Cold water

  • Alternative cleaning materials as needed (bleach, dishwashing liquid and others)

Clothing being rinsed with water

Step 1: Brush off stain

Scrape any excess dye off the piece of clothing using a toothbrush. Run under cold water once done. 

Person applying detergent to clothing

Step 2: Apply detergent

Once you have removed the excess dye, cover the stain with a liquid laundry detergent.

Detergent being added to detergent dispenser

Step 3: Pour detergent into machine

Follow your detergent instructions to use the right amount on your laundry load. Pour the detergent either into the drum of your washing machine or the detergent dispenser depending on the guidance of your machine’s owners manual.

Clothes in washer

Step 4: Place items in washer

With the detergent still on the stain, load the garment with the rest of your clothes into the washer.

Wet clothes being washed in washer

Step 5: Run the washing cycle

Wash your clothes on the Normal cycle. Check the care label on the garment before setting the temperature. Use the hottest setting for clothes that can be washed in hot water.

Person removing clothes from washer

Step 6: Remove garments

Remove the piece of clothing and air dry. Inspect the garment carefully after it is completely dry to see if the stain is still present. If the stain is still there, repeat the washing steps. Do not place it in the dryer until you are certain the stain is gone, as the heat can cause the stain to set. 

Tips for removing hair dye from clothes

  • If you notice a hair dye stain, address it immediately. This can make it easier for the stain to be removed.
  • Use rubbing alcohol or cold water to keep the stain moist and remove excess dye from the clothing.
  • Avoid applying heat to the stain. Stains that set after drying are much more difficult to remove.
  • Never place a garment with flammable substances in your washer or dryer.

How do you remove dried hair dye from clothes?

Dried stains can be more difficult to remove than wet ones. However there may still be a possibility to remove the stain from the garment. Taking the garment to your local dry cleaner can be an alternative option since they use powerful chemicals that may be able to salvage the garment.

How do you get hair dye out of fabric?

Hair dye can often be removed from other washable fabrics, such as curtains or small throw rugs. Combine two cups of cool water, one tablespoon of dishwashing soap and one tablespoon of white vinegar.

Apply the mixture to the stain with a cloth and let it sit for up to 30 minutes. Gently dab the stain with cold water until it dissipates. Once done, apply rubbing alcohol and dab to remove the stain.

Explore Whirlpool® Washers

Whirlpool brand offers a range of innovative washers and dryers that help make laundry day a breeze. Select Whirlpool® Washers and Whirlpool® Dryers include Pretreat Stations that let you soak, scrub and wash all in one spot with a built-in water faucet and brush, so you can combat stains without additional trips to the sink. Whirlpool brand also offers Swash® Laundry Detergent that is formulated to help boost your washer’s ability to fight stains.


Get more laundry tips from Whirlpool brand

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1. Swash® products and the recommending brands’ products are all owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.