How to Remove Red Dye Stains

By: Editors of Consumer Guide  | 

Spilled glass of red wine. Uh-oh!
Spilled glass of red wine. Uh-oh!
Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images

Red dy­e has an intense staining capacity, and because of that the stains can be a hassle to deal with. Here are stain removal steps you can take when you experience a red alert.

First, identify the affected material. Then use these tips on these pages so you don't have to see red after a household mishap:

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Non-washable Fabrics

Follow these steps to remove red dye stains from Acetate, Carpet/Synthetic, Carpet/Wool, Fiberglass, Rayon, Silk, Triacetate and Wool:

  • Sponge (the method of using light strokes with a dampened pad working outward from the center of the stain) the area immediately with water to dilute the spill.
  • Carefully use a spot remover.
  • Apply a wet spotter and a few drops of ammonia. (Use ammonia sparingly on silk and wool.)
  • Cover with an absorbent pad dampened with the wet spotter.
  • Let the pad remain as long as any stain is being removed.
  • Change the pad as it picks up the stain.
  • Keep both the stain and pad moist with wet spotter and ammonia.
  • Flush (the method of applying stain remover to loosen staining materials and residue from stain removers) well with water and repeat if necessary.

If, after allowing to dry, a stain still persists:

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  • Mix a little color remover according to package directions.
  • After testing on an inconspicuous place, flush it through the stain to an absorbent pad. When dealing with carpet, sponge it on the stain and blot with an absorbent pad.
  • Rinse well with water and allow to dry thoroughly.

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Washable Fabrics

Follow these steps to remove red dye stains from washable fabrics such as Acrylic Fabric, Cotton, Linen, Modacrylic, Nylon, Olefin, Polyester and Spandex:

  • Soak the item in a solution of 1 quart warm water, 1/2 teaspoon liquid dishwashing or laundry detergent, and 1 tablespoon ammonia for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse well.

If stain persists:

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  • Soak in a solution of 1 quart warm water and 1 tablespoon white vinegar for 1 hour. Use white vinegar with care on cotton and linen.
  • Rinse well with water and allow to dry.

If stain is set:

  • Try applying rubbing alcohol to the area and tamping (the method of bringing a brush down with light strokes on stained durable fabrics and materials).
  • As stain loosens, blot liquid and stain with absorbent pad.
  • Keep both the stain and pad moist with alcohol and change pad as it picks up stain.
  • Allow to dry.

As a last resort for any remaining traces of stain:

  • Mix a color remover according to package directions and apply to stain.
  • After testing on a hidden place, flush the solution through the stain.
  • Rinse well with clear water and allow to dry thoroughly.

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Household Surfaces

Follow these steps to remove red dye stains from household surfaces such as Acrylic Plastic, Aluminum, Bamboo, Cane, Ceramic, Glass/Tile, Glass Paint/Flat,

Paint/Gloss, Plexiglas, Polyurethane, Vinyl Clothing and Vinyl Wallcovering:

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  • Immediately wipe up the spill with a cloth or sponge dipped in warm sudsy water.
  • Rinse well and wipe dry.

Alabaster and Marble

Follow these steps to remove red dye stains from Alabaster and Marble:

  • Immediately wipe up the spill with a cloth or sponge dipped in warm sudsy water.
  • Rinse well and wipe dry.

If a stain persists:

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  • Soak an absorbent pad in rubbing alcohol, wring dry, and place over the stain.
  • Wait 5 minutes and apply an absorbent pad soaked in ammonia and wrung out.
  • Alternate the alcohol and ammonia pads until stain has been removed.
  • Wipe surface with cloth dampened with clear water, then wipe dry with clean cloth.

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Flooring Surfaces

Follow these steps to remove red dye stains from Asphalt, Cork, Linoleum and Vinyl Tile:

  • Wipe up any excess with a cloth or sponge dipped in warm sudsy water.
  • Rinse well and wipe dry.

If a stain remains:

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  • Cover it with an absorbent pad soaked in rubbing alcohol.
  • Let it remain in place for several minutes.
  • Wipe the area with a cloth dampened with ammonia. Do not use ammonia on linoleum or vinyl floor tile.
  • Rinse well with cloth dipped in warm sudsy water and rewipe with a cloth dipped in clear water and squeezed almost dry.
  • Allow to dry.

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Stone Surfaces

Follow these steps to remove red dye stains from stone surfaces such as Bluestone, Brick, Concrete, Flagstone, Granite, Limestone, Masonry Tile, Sandstone, Slate and Terrazzo:

  • Wipe up excess dye.
  • Wash with a solution of washing soda or detergent (not soap) and water.
  • Use a cloth or soft-bristled brush to help scrub.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clear water and allow to dry.

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Grout

Follow these steps to remove red dye stains from Grout:

  • Wipe up excess with a cloth dipped in warm sudsy water.

If any stain persists:

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  • Dip a wet toothbrush into a little baking soda or powdered cleanser.
  • Gently scrub the stain.
  • Rinse well with water and wipe dry.

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Leather and Suede

Dye will immediately act on the color of the hide. Once contact has been made, there is no way to remove the color.

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Wood

Follow these steps to remove red dye stains from Wood:

  • Mix dishwashing detergent in hot water and swish to make a great volume of suds.
  • Dip a cloth in only the foam and apply.
  • Rinse with a clean cloth dipped in clear water and wrung out.
  • Polish or wax as soon as possible.

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Originally Published: Mar 23, 2006

Red Stain Removal FAQ

How do I get red dye off my counter?
For counters made of limestone, granite, sandstone, flagstone, brick, bluestone and/or concrete, start by wiping away excess dye. Next, make a solution containing detergent (or washing soda) and water. Wash the spot with it, then go ahead and scrub using a soft toothbrush or cloth. Rinse and let dry.
How do you remove dried red wine stains from the carpet?
Mix a tablespoon of white vinegar with a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. Sponge the carpet with this mixture. Blot before sponging with cold water to rinse and help dry.
How do you get red dye out of wool carpet?
Add a cup of white vinegar to two cups of warm water. Spritz this solution on the stain. Make sure not to use any other kind of vinegar like apple cider or balsamic because they contain dyes.
How do you remove red carpet stains with baking soda?
You will need to make a paste using three parts baking soda and one part water. Spread this paste on the colored spot. Once it's completely dry, vacuum it up.
How do you get old, red stains out of carpet?
Pour club soda on the stained spot, then blot with a dry, clean towel. Repeat until the stain is gone.

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