How to Prevent and Remove Run as Dye in the Laundry

Have you ever experienced the frustration of finding your white clothes turned pink or your dark clothes faded after a wash cycle? This is a common problem caused by run as dye, which happens when some fabrics bleed their dye onto other clothes. Run as dye can ruin your favorite garments and make them look dull and dirty. Fortunately, there are some ways to prevent and remove run as dye in the laundry. Here are some tips and tricks to help you keep your clothes looking bright and vibrant.


What Causes Run as Dye?

Run as dye occurs when clothing manufacturers use ineffective dying techniques or cheap dyes that are not permanently set in the fabric. Some dyes are simply unstable or not colorfast, which means they can easily wash out or fade. Other times, manufacturers overdye clothes to make them appear more attractive in the store, but then they lose their color after the first wash. According to The Spruce, some warning signs that a garment may bleed dye are labels with instructions like “Color May Wash Down”, “Color Rubs Off”, “Do Not Use Detergent”, “Turn Inside Out to Launder”, “Wash Before Wear” or “Use Cold Water”.

Some fabrics are more prone to run as dye than others. For example, cotton, linen, and rayon are natural fibers that absorb more dye and may release it during washing. Synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon, and acrylic are less likely to bleed dye, but they may still pick up dye from other clothes. Dark and bright colors, especially red and orange, are also more vulnerable to run as dye than light and pastel colors.

How to Prevent Run as Dye?

The best way to prevent run as dye is to sort and wash your clothes properly. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Before washing new clothes for the first time, test them for colorfastness. You can do this by spraying a small area of the fabric with water, then pressing a white cloth or paper towel to it. If any color transfers to the cloth, the garment is not colorfast and may bleed dye in the wash.
  • Separate your clothes by color and fabric type. Wash whites, lights, darks, and brights separately. Also, wash natural fibers separately from synthetic fibers, and delicates separately from sturdy fabrics.
  • Use cold water for washing and rinsing. Cold water helps preserve the color of your clothes and prevents dye from bleeding. Hot water can weaken the dye and make it more likely to run.
  • Use the right amount and type of detergent. Follow the instructions on the detergent label and the garment label. Avoid using too much detergent, as it can leave residue on your clothes and attract more dye. Also, avoid using bleach or fabric softener, as they can damage the fabric and the dye.
  • Do not overload the washing machine. Leave enough space for the clothes to move freely and rinse well. Overcrowding the washer can cause more friction and rubbing, which can lead to more dye transfer.
  • Do not leave wet clothes in the washer for too long. Transfer them to the dryer or the clothesline as soon as possible. Leaving wet clothes in the washer can cause them to soak up more dye from other clothes.

How to Remove Run as Dye?

If you notice that some of your clothes have been stained by run as dye, do not panic. There are some ways to remove the unwanted color and restore your clothes to their original state. Here are some methods to try:

  • Rewash the stained clothes with oxygen bleach. Oxygen bleach is a product that contains hydrogen peroxide or sodium percarbonate, which releases oxygen when mixed with water. Oxygen bleach can remove dye stains from most fabrics, except silk, leather, and wool. You can find oxygen bleach in powder or liquid form, under brands like OxiClean, Nellie’s Oxygen Brightener, and Oxo Brite. According to The Spruce, you should rewash the stained clothes with oxygen bleach and your regular detergent, then check for any remaining stains. If the stains are still there, you should soak the clothes in a solution of oxygen bleach and water for at least eight hours, then wash them again.
  • Use rubbing alcohol to blot the stain. Rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, can be used to remove dye stains from some fabrics, especially synthetic ones. You can find rubbing alcohol in the medical section of any drug or general store. According to wikiHow, you should moisten a cotton ball or a cloth with rubbing alcohol, then dab it on the stain until you see the dye transfer to the cotton ball. Then, cover the stain with a small amount of laundry detergent and gently scrub it with a toothbrush. Rinse the clothing in warm water, then wash it as usual.
  • Use a color run remover to strip the dye. A color run remover is a product that contains sodium hydrosulfite or sodium dithionite, which are chemicals that can remove dye from fabrics. You can find color run removers in the laundry aisle of most supermarkets, under brands like Carbona Color Run Remover, Rit Color Remover, and Dylon Run Away. According to wikiHow, you should follow the instructions on the product label, which usually involve dissolving the product in water, then soaking the stained clothes in the solution for a few minutes. Then, rinse the clothes well and wash them as usual. Be careful when using color run removers, as they can also remove the original color of your clothes and make them look faded or bleached.

Run as dye can be a frustrating and annoying problem, but it can be prevented and removed with some care and attention. By following these tips and tricks, you can keep your clothes looking fresh and colorful for a long time.

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