Tanya said, “Does anyone have a suggestion for removing dye that has transferred from clothing to my cloth upholstery? My daughter got a new pair of pants for Valentine’s Day, and the color transferred from the pants to my very nice cloth ottoman.”
The term “stone-washed jeans” didn’t become well-known for nothing; jeans are notorious for losing their dye. Most jeans usually only shed their dye in the wash, but some have been known to transfer the dye onto nearly anything they touch from purses to cloth ottomans. Follow the steps below to clean the dye from your upholstery.
Always test a cleaning solution, including plain water, on a small, hidden area of your upholstery first to look for any adverse effects.
Removing the Dye Stain
You Will Need:
- Mild dish liquid
- White vinegar
- A cloth
- Rubbing alcohol
Steps to Remove the Stain:
- Stir a tablespoon of mild dish liquid and another tablespoon of distilled white vinegar into a glass containing two cups of cold water. Moisten a white cloth with the solution and blot it onto the stain. Reapply the solution every few minutes for about half an hour, not rinsing between applications.Use a clean cloth moistened with plain water to sponge the area clean, turning the cloth regularly as the dye is transferred to the cloth.¹
- If the above method does not work, try using undiluted white vinegar. Blot the vinegar onto the stain, then use a cloth moistened with plain water to rinse the area.²
- Another option is to use rubbing alcohol. Moisten a cloth with the rubbing alcohol and sponge the area with the cloth. Turn the cloth regularly as the dye is transferred to the cloth. Sponge the area with cold water to rinse.¹
- If the stain hasn’t been removed by the above methods, pour about two cups of cold water into a glass and add a squirt of dish liquid (about a teaspoon) and a tablespoon of ammonia. Use a clean cloth to sponge the mixture onto the stain every few minutes for about half an hour, then rinse with a clean cloth moistened with plain water. Turn the cloth regularly as the dye is transferred to the cloth.¹
Additional Tips and Advice
- Commercial spot removers for upholstery, such as Goof Off, can be effective at removing dye stains.³
- Always use a white cloth or paper towel when cleaning upholstery to prevent dye from transferring onto the fabric from the cleaning cloth.⁴
- Always ventilate the area well when working with ammonia. For more ammonia safety information, see Wikipedia.
- Stain Rescue! by Anne Marie Soto
- The Cleaning Encyclopedia by Don Aslett
- Clean it Fast, Clean it RIGHT by Jeff Bredenberg
- The Cleaning Bible by Kim Woodburn and Aggie MacKenzie