how to get hair dye out of clothes without bleach
Kristina Davis

Learning how to get hair dye out of clothes without bleach can save you from facing a lot of trouble.

Fans of at-home hair coloring from a box know that the real challenge lies in keeping the dye off of yourself, your clothing, and your belongings.

You should not risk damaging your most prized items by subjecting them to the dying procedure. But no matter what you do, accidents can happen, inspiring you to learn how to get hair dye off clothes.

But, can you get hair dye out of clothes? And how do you do it?

You can remove hair dye by scrubbing the stain, pre-soaking it in a mixture of water and white vinegar, and eventually trying oxygen-based bleach if necessary. 

The Problem of Getting Hair Dye Out of Clothes

washing clothes problems

Stains from hair dye are notoriously difficult to remove due to the chemicals used in the process.

Most people probably do not know how different fabrics would react to the wide variety of chemicals used. And that also makes it rather tricky to get any stain or hair dye out of your clothes.

As difficult as it may seem, rest assured, that removing dye from your clothes is possible if you react quickly and follow the right procedures.

Tip: Wear old tees or sweatshirts you do not mind getting stained and protect any surfaces that could get dye on them by laying down newspaper or a plastic tarp.

Removing Hair Dye without Using Bleach

washing clothes without using bleach

Most people resort to bleach when they have to get rid of any hair dye from clothes. It usually works well on the stain but is not always the best option.

Bleach with chlorine has the potential to alter the garment’s color or cause lasting harm.

A good idea is to check if a secret seam can withstand bleach. If the stain is not removed after 15 minutes of bleaching, it cannot be removed with bleach.

Using a commercial color remover is an option if bleaching poses health risks or fails to remove the stain. Keep in mind that the color of the fabric will be removed along with the stain if you use a color remover.

Tip: No matter what you do, avoid washing synthetic fabrics in water hotter than 160F and use bleach sparingly. 

How to Get Hair Dye Out of Clothes without Bleach?

scrubbing the stain

When you want to handle any hair dye stain, you can try many different options that do not need any bleach.

Here is what you can do:  

Begin by Scrubbing the Stains

Remove any stubborn stains by brushing them away. Be sure the solution is thoroughly lathering the dye stain by working in circular motions.

And then immerse the garment in a tub filled with the hottest water it can tolerate (cold water for wool, silk, and sensitive synthetics). 

Pre-Treat Your Clothes

applying detergent to the clothes

Apply a generous amount of any good liquid detergent to the dye stain. Wrap it up tight and leave it aside for 5 minutes. 

Use the Right Dosage

Get a good quality liquid detergent and use the right dosage. The cap can also be used to control the flow of detergent for precise dosing.

With a high-efficiency machine, fill the detergent dispenser, and then load your clothes into the drum

With a standard machine, you can always pour the detergent directly into the drum. 

Load and Run

You can throw the clothing into the washing machine with other things without first rinsing off the detergent.

The cleansing power of your wash will be increased if you leave the detergent on the spot for a while.

Once done, run a normal cycle wash at the highest recommended wash temperature. Prior to washing or drying an item, do not forget to read the care label. 

Take Out the Clothes

taking out the clothes from washing machine

After the wash is done, quickly remove the clothes from the machine.

Drying will set the stain, so if the stain is still visible after washing, you should repeat the instructions above before drying the item. 

An Important Consideration

The components and the fabric you are treating will determine your procedure.

To treat a stain is to treat the different components that go into making that stain, and a different pH value has a role to play.

To eliminate the stain, it is important to get the pH level back to normal. 

Additional Ways to Get Hair Dye Out of Clothes

ways of washing clothes

Getting rid of hair dye can be a bit tricky depending on what is included in the dye.

But the following tricks may also help.

Rinse the Stain with Alcohol

Not all hair colors are created equal, but alcohol works quite effectively in most cases.

All you have to do is rinse the affected area well under running water or apply rubbing alcohol to dissolve the extra dye goop. If you still find gunk, you can scrape it off with a dull knife or credit card.  

An Important Consideration

Keep in mind that the heat from the dryer can set stains even more firmly into the fabric, so wait to dry in the machine until you are certain any stains have been removed.

Tip: Avoid soaking 'dry clean' items (such as silk and wool) for more than 30 minutes at a time, as this might cause the fabric to shrink or change color.   

Soak in Ammonia and Dishwashing Liquid

using dishwashing for soaking clothes

Take a plastic or glass container. Now, combine one quart of water, half a teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent, and one tablespoon of household ammonia to make a cleaning solution.

Let the affected cloth soak in the solution for 15 minutes. And then wash as you would normally do to get rid of any stains.

Tip: Do not combine ammonia with chlorine bleach-containing soaps or detergents, as this will create a toxic gas. 

Use Water and White Vinegar Solution

Using the mixture of white vinegar and water can also help get rid of hair dye.

One quart of warm water and a quarter cup of distilled white vinegar should be combined in a separate glass or plastic container.

If possible, give the stained area 30 minutes to soak. Do your regular laundry routine with the garment. Do not put it in a hot dryer if there is any remaining dye. 

Soak in Bleach and Water Solution

using bleach for clothes

Okay, so yes, you want to avoid bleach, but sometimes, it is the only option.

But, even if that is the case, you need to stick with oxygen-based bleach to avoid any damage to your clothes.

If the stain persists after all your efforts, you may want to give oxygen-based bleach a try.

Here is what to do:

  • Fill a sink with water.
  • Add some oxygen-based bleach to it.
  • Place the garment in it and let it soak for at least eight hours or overnight.

It should work fine, but if it is not, do it again and wash the clothes normally. 

Getting Rid of Dye Stains from Sheets and Bedding

stains in the beddings

Sometimes, the stain is not on your clothes but it is on a larger portion of your sheets or bedding.

The same method for removing hair color from clothing works for most fabrics.

Ideally, you should do a targeted pre-soak of just the stained area using the sink rather than soaking the entire sheet when dealing with a dye stain.

Wash the affected linen in the hottest water possible once the stains begin to fade. Do not put it in the dryer until the stains have been completely removed.

Tip: You can use similar methods to remove stains from upholstery and carpet but avoid going further if cleaning leaves a mark or you notice any discoloration. 


Discovering how to get hair dye out of clothes without bleach can come in handy in many situations. It really helps when you love dying your hair at home but do not want to use bleach to handle those stains.

Understand that a pre-soak will work wonders in most cases, and you can always be a bit creative here.

Using white vinegar may work better, but sometimes, you have no choice but to go with bleach. If it comes to that, be sure to stick to oxygen-based bleach to get good results.