How to remove colour stains from clothes

We all know the shock when you open the door of your washing machine and realise your white garments have now turned pink. Sometimes it only takes one rogue dark item in your white load to transfer dye from one fabric to another. If you experience this, there’s no need to panic. Don’t let the fabric dry, and simply follow our tips and tricks on how to remove colour stains from white and coloured clothes!

How to remove colour stains from clothes

What causes colour bleeding?

Colour bleeding happens when your fabric comes in contact with water, and its dye starts to leach, colouring the water and potentially everything in it. This can happen because of poor dyeing techniques or if there’s excess dye in your garment, for example.

5 steps on how to remove colour stains from clothes

No matter how bad it looks, a dye transfer disaster is not the end of the world. By following Ariel’s step-by-step guide on colour stain removal from clothes, you can get rid of those unsightly colour stains for good!

  • 1


    First, fill a bucket or your sink with warm water, and create a soaking solution by adding Ariel Matic Liquid. Let your garments sit in this solution for an hour.

  • 2


    Add Ariel powder or Ariel liquid detergent to your washing machine based on the instructions on your detergent’s package.

  • 3


    Put your garments into the washer with other similar items, and don’t rinse them beforehand. The soaked-in washing liquid will give you that extra boost of cleaning power during the wash. Use the palm trick to determine whether your load is the right size.

  • 4


    Wash the clothes on the usual cycle, on the hottest water temperature indicated on the garments’ fabric care label.

  • 5


    When the wash cycle is complete, unload the garments immediately, or within 2 hours for optimal freshness.

    If any dye transfer stain is still there, repeat the steps, but let your garment sit in the soaking solution for a longer time. Then, rewash in warm water with Ariel before drying, preferably under partial shade.


Extra tips for removing colour stains from white clothes and shirts

It always seems extra worrying whenever your white clothes or shirts get colour stains, but thankfully, with the help of Ariel, you can easily tackle the issue at hand. Just take your white garments, pour some Ariel Matic Liquid directly onto the stain, and let it sit. Without rinsing the liquid off, put your clothes into the washer, and wash them as usual.

How to remove dye transfer stains from coloured clothes

To keep the bright colours of your clothes and to get rid of the dye transfer stains on them, simply soak them in a solution of water mixed with Ariel washing powder. Let them sit in this solution for an hour, then put them in your washing machine, and wash them as you normally would.

How to remove colour stains from different fabrics

Different fabrics require slightly different steps to undo the effects of dye transfer. Whether you’re interested in learning how to remove colour stains from a white silk shirt or a chiffon dress, you can find all the answers below:

Silk: First of all, make sure you check the fabric care label to see if your silk garment with a colour stain can be treated at home. If yes, pour 3-4 drops of Ariel liquid detergent directly onto the stain, and gently rub the detergent into the fabric using your fingers. After letting it sit for 30 minutes, wash the garment by hand, then dry it under partial shade. If the stain is still visible, repeat the process before letting the garment dry.

White cotton and chiffon: Soak your white cotton and chiffon clothes in a solution of chlorine bleach and water for 30 minutes, then wash as usual with Ariel detergent to get rid of colour stains. Dry under natural sunlight.

Coloured cotton and chiffon: You can remove colour stains from your coloured cotton and chiffon clothes by adding 3-4 drops of Ariel liquid detergent directly onto the stain and gently working it into the fabric with your fingers. After letting it sit for 15 minutes, rinse the stained area under cold water, then wash the garment as usual on the hottest water temperature recommended by the care label. Remember, always wash your darks and lights separately.

Polyester & nylon: The best way to remove colour stains from your polyester and nylon garments is to place a colour catcher into your washer’s drum along with your laundry. Colour catchers are available at most supermarkets, and they work to absorb any bleeding dyes during the wash cycle. Add detergent, and wash as usual on the hottest water temperature recommended by the care label. Unload your washer as soon as the cycle is finished, and dry your garments in partial shade.

How to treat spots of discolouration

When dealing with only a few spots of dye transfer, you can try soaking the garment in a solution of water and oxygen bleach. First, dissolve some oxygen bleach in hot water, then cool the mixture with cold water. Let the garment soak in the solution for about 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. If the stain persists, fill your sink with lukewarm water, add two tablespoons of chlorine bleach, and soak the garment for 30 minutes before running it through the wash cycle.

What to do to if the full load becomes discoloured

If you’re dealing with a fresh load of laundry that’s become completely discoloured, simply remove the culprit(s), and run the affected garments through another wash on the hottest water setting recommended on the care labels, using Ariel washing detergent.

Tips on how to avoid dye transfer stains

Do you know what’s better than knowing how to remove dye transfer from clothes? Avoiding it altogether! Here are some tips on how to avoid getting dye transfer stains on your clothes in the first place:

Sort your clothes properly. An important rule of thumb when it comes to preventing dye transfer is to wash your darker (greys, blacks, navies, reds, and dark purples) and lighter fabrics (pinks, lavenders, light blues, light greens, and yellows) in separate loads, as washing light and dark coloured clothes together increases the risk of dye transfer. For a more in-depth look at the topic, check out our guide on sorting your laundry.

Check for hidden items. Before placing your clothes into the washing machine, make sure to check all pockets, pant legs and sleeves for coloured items such as mittens, scarves, post-it, hats, and socks.

Check if your washing machine is empty. Check the washing machine for stray clothing items hiding inside the drum before adding another load, and make sure that you have removed every piece of clothing from the drum after each wash.

Dye transfer can easily happen to anyone, but at least now you know how to remove colour stains from white and coloured clothes in just a few steps, using Ariel for outstanding stain removal results from the first wash.