Aly asked: I was using a tide pen to get tea out of white cotton dress shirt. A yellow sticky was nearby and the color went into the shirt. Now the tide pen is not taking the color out. Ekkk!
When unwanted dyes transfer onto your clothing, there are a couple of different things you can do to fix it. Since these dyes are not absorbed into the fibers like the permanent dyes on the shirt, they are known as “loose dyes” and can be treated and removed. If the shirt is white, the treatment is even easier. Follow the guidelines below to remove the unwanted color.
You Will Need:
- A dye remover (choose one):
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Clorox or Clorox 2 (color safe bleach)
- RIT Dye Fixative or
- RIT Dye Remover
- A cloth
Steps to Remove the Unwanted Dye:
*When working with color removers, it is always best to test the cleaner on a small hidden area to ensure there are no unwanted effects to the material.
- Begin by checking the care instructions on the shirt for any cleaning substances that should be avoided. Cotton is typically tolerant of many cleaners making it a great fabric to work with.
- The easiest way to remove the color is to first try blotting with some isopropyl alcohol. To do this, wet a cloth with the alcohol, then wring it out so it’s not dripping. Press the cloth onto the dye stain gently, then ‘peel’ it back up. As the dye is transferred to the cloth, rotate the cloth to a clean area.
- If the stain is stubborn, there are two more options to remove the dye: remove it with a dye remover or bleach it out. Either will remove the color without damaging the shirt.
- To bleach the color out, fill a bucket with water and add a small amount of Clorox for white garments or Clorox 2 for colored garments.
- Place the garment in the bucket and allow it to soak for several hours.
- The color safe bleach should remove the loose dye without affecting the other colors, but be sure to test a small area beforehand.
- If the dye that has bled out is not removed, try a special dye remover.
- RIT Dye Fixative is designed to bind to loose dyes and reduce color bleeding. It is designed specifically for this purpose and can be found at most drugstores and department stores along with the other RIT dyes. If the garment is white, you can also use RIT Dye Remover that will essentially bleach the entire piece.
- For either product, follow the manufacturer’s directions on the packaging for use.
- Avoid drying the item in the dryer until the unwanted dye is completely removed, just allow it to air dry. The heat from the dryer will set the dye making it nearly impossible to remove.
Additional Tips and Ideas
- Avoid using too much bleach as it can weaken the fibers of the fabric over time.
- If the dye is fresh and light, you may be able to remove it by spraying it with a stain treatment and washing immediately. Again, do not dry it in the dryer until you are sure the dye is removed.