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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Removing Red Dye

By Dr. Laundry March 23, 2010

Q. I had a favorite white cotton (casual) blouse. I just washed it in cold water. But, my husband’s red bathing suit was also in the wash, and I now have a pink blouse. It is not uniformly pink – it has splotches of darker pink throughout. What would you suggest? Pre-soaking in Clorox? If so, in what proportions? I did not put the blouse in the dryer, I just left it as it was.

A. Thanks for your question and sorry about the blouse. It’s a good thing that you didn’t dry the blouse, as that would have made your job harder.

Since it’s a white cotton blouse and it has a blotchy dye pattern, I would try the following:


  • I would do a quick liquid bleach soak (1/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach in a gallon of cool water for 5 minutes), then wash the item immediately in the hottest water recommended on the item’s care label using detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach. Check for success after the wash cycle and before dryer drying. It might require multiple treatments to get the desired result.

  • If more drastic action is needed, you may have to consider using something like Rit Color Remover.