Removing Red Dye Stains

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Stain Removal

A glass of red wine spilled on a surface can leave a stubborn stain. Red dye is known for its strong staining power, making it difficult to remove. However, there are steps you can take to deal with this issue.

The first step is to identify the affected material, whether it’s a washable or non-washable fabric, household surface, stone surface, grout, leather, suede, or wood. Then, follow the appropriate instructions:

  • Non-washable fabrics include Acetate, Carpet/Synthetic, Carpet/Wool, Fiberglass, Rayon, Silk Triacetate, and Wool. To remove red dye from these, sponge the area immediately with water to dilute the spill, carefully use a spot remover, apply a wet spotter and a few drops of ammonia, cover with an absorbent pad dampened with the wet spotter, change the pad as it picks up the stain, keep both the stain and pad moist with wet spotter and ammonia, flush well with water, and repeat if necessary. If the stain persists, mix a little color remover according to package directions, flush it through the stain to an absorbent pad, rinse well with water, and allow to dry thoroughly.
  • Washable fabrics such as Acrylic Fabric, Cotton, Linen, Modacrylic, Nylon, Olefin, Polyester, and Spandex can be treated by soaking in a solution of warm water, liquid dishwashing or laundry detergent, and ammonia for 30 minutes, and then rinsing well. If the stain persists, soak in a solution of warm water and white vinegar for 1 hour, and then rinse well with water and allow to dry. Be careful when using white vinegar on cotton and linen.

If the stain is set, it may be more difficult to remove.

To remove red dye stains, try applying rubbing alcohol and tamping the area. Blot the liquid and stain with an absorbent pad, keeping both moist with alcohol and changing the pad as needed. Allow to dry. If any stain remains, mix a color remover and apply it to the stain after testing on a hidden place. Flush the solution through the stain and rinse well with clear water.

For household surfaces like acrylic plastic, aluminum, bamboo, ceramic, glass, tile, glass paint, flat paint, plexiglass, polyurethane, vinyl clothing, and vinyl wallcovering, immediately wipe up the spill with warm sudsy water. Rinse well and wipe dry.

For alabaster and marble, follow the same steps as above. If the stain persists, soak an absorbent pad in rubbing alcohol and place it over the stain. Wait 5 minutes and apply an absorbent pad soaked in ammonia. Alternate the alcohol and ammonia pads until the stain is removed.

For flooring surfaces like asphalt, cork, linoleum, and vinyl tile, wipe up any excess with warm sudsy water, rinse well, and wipe dry. If the stain remains, cover it with an absorbent pad soaked in rubbing alcohol and let it sit for several minutes. Wipe the area with a cloth dampened with ammonia, except for linoleum or vinyl floor tile. Rinse well with warm sudsy water and rewipe with a cloth dipped in clear water. Allow to dry.

For stone surfaces like bluestone, brick, concrete, flagstone, granite, limestone, masonry tile, sandstone, slate, and terrazzo, wipe up excess dye and wash with a solution of washing soda or detergent and water. Rinse thoroughly with clear water and allow to dry.

For grout, wipe up excess with warm sudsy water. If the stain persists, dip a wet toothbrush into baking soda or powdered cleanser and gently scrub the stain. Rinse well with water and wipe dry.

For leather and suede, once the dye has made contact with the hide, there is no way to remove the color.


Follow these instructions to eliminate red dye marks from wooden surfaces:

  • Create suds by mixing hot water and dishwashing detergent.
  • Apply the foam using a cloth.
  • Use a clean cloth dipped in clear water to rinse the area and wring it out.
  • Polish or wax the surface as soon as possible.

Originally posted on March 23, 2006.

FAQ on Removing Red Stains

How can I remove red dye from my countertop?

If your countertop is made of limestone, granite, sandstone, flagstone, brick, bluestone, or concrete, start by wiping away any excess dye. Then, create a solution of detergent or washing soda and water. Wash the area with it and then use a soft toothbrush or cloth to scrub. Rinse and let it dry.

How do I remove dried red wine stains from my carpet?

Mix a tablespoon of white vinegar and dishwashing liquid each. Sponge the carpet with this mixture. Blot and then sponge with cold water to rinse and aid in drying.

How can I eliminate red dye from wool carpeting?

Add a cup of white vinegar to two cups of warm water. Spritz the stain with this solution. Do not use apple cider or balsamic vinegar as they contain dyes.

How do I get rid of red carpet stains using baking soda?

Create a paste with three parts baking soda and one part water. Spread this paste over the stained area. Once it is completely dry, vacuum it up.

How can I remove old, red stains from carpeting?

Pour club soda onto the stained area and blot with a dry, clean towel. Repeat until the stain disappears.


1. What causes red dye stains?

Red dye stains can occur from a variety of sources, including red wine, tomato sauce, fruit juice, and even red-colored clothing or fabric. The dye in these substances can easily transfer onto other surfaces, leaving behind an unsightly stain.

2. How can I remove red dye stains from clothing?

To remove red dye stains from clothing, start by soaking the garment in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Then, apply a stain remover or a mixture of baking soda and water to the affected area. Let the solution sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing with cold water and laundering as usual.

3. Can I use bleach to remove red dye stains?

No, using bleach to remove red dye stains is not recommended. Bleach can actually set the stain further into the fabric and make it more difficult to remove. Instead, try using a stain remover specifically designed for colored clothing.

4. How can I remove red dye stains from carpet?

If you have a red dye stain on your carpet, start by blotting up as much of the stain as possible with a clean cloth or paper towel. Then, mix a solution of 1 tablespoon of dish soap and 2 cups of warm water. Dip a clean cloth into the solution and blot the stain, working from the outside in. Rinse with cold water and repeat until the stain is gone.

5. Can vinegar be used to remove red dye stains?

Yes, vinegar can be used to remove red dye stains. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water and apply to the stain with a clean cloth. Let the solution sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing with cold water and laundering as usual.

6. How can I remove red dye stains from my skin?

If you have a red dye stain on your skin, try using a mixture of baking soda and water to gently scrub the affected area. You can also try using a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to remove the stain. Be sure to rinse the area with water afterwards to remove any residue.

7. Can I prevent red dye stains from occurring?

Yes, there are a few things you can do to prevent red dye stains. Avoid wearing red clothing or using red fabric around light-colored surfaces or fabrics. Use a stain-resistant spray on fabrics to help repel stains. And, be sure to clean up any spills or stains as soon as possible.

8. When should I call a professional to remove red dye stains?

If you have tried multiple methods to remove a red dye stain and it still won’t come out, it may be time to call a professional cleaning service. They have specialized equipment and products that can effectively remove even the toughest stains.

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