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How to Get Hair Dye Out of Towels

Don't throw away your towels because of hair dye stains. Learn how to remove hair dye and hair color from towels whether they're colored or white towels.

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Question

While using an at-home hair dye, I accidentally got some of the hair dye on my bathroom towels. What can I do to remove the stains?

Answer

I am really hoping the towels are white—for starters let’s just assume they are. For really concentrated stains like hair dye, you can try a bleach soaking solution of ¼ cup Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach per gallon of water. The towels should be fully submerged — weighting them down with a couple of dishwasher-safe dinner plates on top also helps. Allow the towels to soak for up to 5 minutes and then wash them in the hottest water recommended on the care label using detergent and ⅓ cup Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach. Air dry and check for success—hair dye is pretty concentrated so it’s actually pretty likely that you may need to repeat the treatment for complete removal, and keeping the towels out of a hot dryer will increase your chances of getting the stain all the way out. It’s also important to note that rather than go with a stronger bleach solution, it’s better to repeat the soak.

If your towels are colored, you may still be able to use the bleach soak if the dye used for the towels can be safely bleached. You can check first with a bleachability test: add 2 teaspoons Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach to ¼ cup water and apply a drop of this solution to a discreet part of the towel; wait 1 minute and then blot dry; no color change means you can safely bleach the towel.

If the towels don’t pass, then you could try pre-treating with Clorox 2® For Colors 3-in-1 Liquid—apply a little of the liquid directly to the fabric and wait 10 minutes before washing with detergent and more Clorox 2® For Colors 3-in-1 Liquid. Note that you don’t want the product to stay on the fabric too long or be allowed to dry on the fabric so set a timer to keep track of the time. It’s better to repeat the treatment when you are working on a super concentrated stain rather than cause damage from prolonged contact. Finally, remember to keep them out of the dryer until the stain is all the way out!

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