Will fabric dye stain my pot, sink or bathtub? & how to fix (2023)

My favorite dyeing containers are plastic tubs and metal dyeing pots. I have also dyed fabric in bathtubs, kitchen sinks, laundry rooms, and often use my washing machine to wash dyed fabric. In most cases, I use fiber and acid reactive stains instead of box stains. Box dyes like Rit and Dylon are more of a "generalist" dye, so they contain a wider variety of dyes. The risk of box dyes staining something unexpectedly is greater than the risk of fiber-reactive and acid-reactive dyes.

The safest dye containers to use are plastic buckets and metal dye canisters. Plastic buckets are easy to replace, and paint cans are nearly impossible to stain. Fabric dye can stain bathtubs, the plastic components of washing machines, and some types of sinks, so the safest option is to avoid dyeing these things. If you're having trouble with a dye stain, there are a few cleaners you can try to remove the stain.

Will fabric dye stain my pot, sink or bathtub? & how to fix (1)

Content list:

  • Will fabric paint stain my sink?
  • Will it stain my stainless steel sink?
  • Will it stain my kitchen?
  • Will it stain my washing machine?
  • Will it stain plastic containers?
  • Will it stain the pans?
  • Will it stain my bathtub?

Will fabric paint stain my sink?

The probability of staining the sink depends on the material from which it is made. If your sink is made of porcelain, fiberglass, acrylic, "composite" (the molded plastic variety), or stone, it's best to avoid directly staining the sink. These materials are more likely to absorb the dye. If your sink is stainless steel, you can stain the inside because it is a difficult surface to stain. Watch thesection “stainless steel”below for more details.

I recommend purchasing a sink bucket or other plastic container that will fit inside the sink for staining.

A small splatter of paint that is cleaned up right away is less likely to stain than a bath of paint that is left in the sink for hours.

How to fix an ink stain in the sink:

If you stain an item in your sink and find the stain just won't come off, start by scrubbing with Dawn Dish Soap to gently remove the stain. If that doesn't work, you can try a kitchen cleaner that contains a little bit of bleach or a mild abrasive like Bar Keeper's Friend or powdered Ajax.

Will fabric dye stain my stainless steel sink?

Stainless steel, as its name suggests, is one of the most difficult surfaces to stain. These sinks are a great place to experiment with staining, especially if you're working in a small space or without buckets. And even if you dye your item in a bucket, you'll still need to pour the dye out somehow.

In most cases, if you see stain residue on your stainless steel sink, you have stained things.stuckto the surface instead of the metal itself.

How to fix a dye stain on your stainless steel sink:

To avoid staining, give the sink a good clean before you start staining. If you notice residue in a sink after staining or pouring stain, it can usually be removed with abrasive cleaners like Bar Keeper's Friend, a baking soda paste, or a cleaner that contains a little bit of bleach.

If you are going to stain a stainless steel sink, be very careful with the rubber seal on the sink stopper as it is very likely to stain (see“plastics” sectionbelow for details).

Will fabric dye stain my kitchen?

Sinks aren't the only thing that can accidentally get dirty in your home. Areas around your workspace are also at risk. Keep an eye on the countertop, tile and grout (or linoleum), and silicone caulk that may be sealing the sink-to-countertop connection.

stone benches

If you have stone countertops, be very careful with the stain. Lay down a layer of plastic (I like to open a garbage bag) followed by newspaper to absorb any spills. Clean up unintentional spills immediately and follow the installers cleaning instructions, as some stone countertops are sensitive to different types of cleaners.

laminate countertops

If you have laminate countertops, I've found that they're actually more durable than you might think. In my experience, acid stains and fiber-reactive stains will stain laminate countertops immediately, but the stain can be easily removed by pouring a small puddle of bleach onto the stain, letting it sit for a few minutes until the mark is gone, then cleaning it. Our laminate countertops are off-white in the yellow direction, so proceed with caution if yours are bright white.

baldosa or mortar

Your tile is probably protected from stain staining, and any that don't clean right away can probably be removed with a powder mop (although you do have to watch out for chips).

However, grout can permanently absorb paint stains, especially if it is old or unsealed grout. If the grout is stained, you can try scrubbing it with a stiff-bristled brush and an abrasive bathroom cleaner (preferably one that contains bleach), but you may need to turn to specialist grout cleaners.

silicone caulking

Silicone caulk should be replaced at regular (albeit infrequent) intervals. As silicone caulk nears the end of its useful life, it can begin to flake off the surfaces it's attached to, and liquids like paint can seep through the cracks. While the paint won't stain the silicone, it can get under the silicone and add color where it shouldn't.

In my experience, the best way to fix this is to pour a little bit of liquid bleach over the area and cross your fingers that it works its way through the same cracks to neutralize the color. If you do this, don't leave it on for more than ten minutes at a time. This works most of the time, but ultimately if your caulking does this, it might be time to replace the seals around the sink.

Will fabric dye stain my washing machine?

As a dry cleaner who learned in a professional context, I feel the risk of damage is too great to dye fabric in a washing machine. I've talked to a handful of professional dyers, and none of the ones I know use a washing machine to dye fabric. But it's important to know that the dyes we use (including fiber-reactive and acid-reactive dyes) don't follow the same processes as box dyes like Dylon and Rit, so it's a bit of an unfair comparison.

That being said, we often wash freshly dyed garments in the washing machine to remove excess dye. The nice thing about this is that the intensity of the chemical reaction happens outside of the washing machine (in the bucket, usually) and then the machine washes away the residue.

The professional dry cleaners I know use a separate washing machine to wash dyed items, so there is no risk of them transferring to the rest of the clothes. While stains can be a problem with washing machines, the real risk is that the dye will remain in your machine, resulting in accidental dyeing of future loads of laundry.

Rit and Dylon recommend that you thoroughly clean your washing machine after a dye session. While the risk of the case paint staining the metal is negligible, the plastic parts of your machine are at risk of staining. For example, the agitator flaps and the rubber seal. This is especially true if the stain has been left on these surfaces for an extended period of time. In fact, the Dylon website states that staining is to be expected on plastic surfaces.

Ink is more likely to stain plastic when colors are particularly dark or rich. If you're dyeing multiple items, say baby blue, the washing machine method might be safer for you.

How to fix an ink stain in the washing machine:

If you notice stains after dyeing your fabric in the washing machine, some people have mentioned that doing one or two hot washes with an empty machine and a little bit of bleach can help remove stains.

Regardless, running a hot wash after you've finished dyeing with your machine is a good idea to make sure future loads of clothes won't stain.

Does fabric dye stain plastic containers?

Plastic is one of the most affordable containers to stain, but it is also the easiest to stain. I've dedicated bins of paint that I don't mind staining, but there are a few things you can do to keep plastic looking new for longer.

When selecting a container, you can choose a darker color that will help hide stains. However, if you plan to mix colors in the container, avoid colors that may affect the appearance of the stain. In that case, choose a white or clear container with a smooth glossy finish rather than a matte surface. The matte finish on some containers can help trap paint and hold it against the surface. This will give the dye a higher tinting power.

If your bin is partially plastic, be sure to focus your cleaning efforts on the plastic areas first. While stain behavior varies from brand to brand, in my experience, a stain will only stain plastic if it's left on a surface for an extended period of time and dries. Cleaning well and promptly is the best way to avoid stains.

In general, I do not recommend dyeing in any plastic container that you are not willing to risk dyeing. Plastic buckets are my preferred method of dyeing fiber-reactive dyes for fabrics like cotton, rayon, and bamboo. I have like 6 cubes of different colors and sizes, and although the inside is very clean, the outside is stained with stains because I never bother to clean them. I bought these at the dollar store for 99 cents each and they work great for my purposes.

Will fabric dye stain my cookware?

After using a pot of dye, it is no longer a pot of food. The tincture introduces chemicals into the pot that you don't want inside your body. Even if we can remove all visual evidence of the dye, ingesting chemical dyes isn't worth the risk.

That said, it's pretty rare to see paint leave a permanent residue in a paint bucket. In some cases, you may see a ring mark. This can happen when the dye sits in the pot for a long time, so some of the dye evaporates and dries on the upper edges of the dye bath.

This can usually be cleaned with a mild abrasive like Bar Keeper's Friend or a kitchen cleaner that contains a little bleach.

My favorite dye jar for acid dyes (used to dye wools, silks, and nylons) is an inexpensive soup jar that I bought for under $10. I keep it separate from the other jars in my kitchen so no one accidentally uses it. I've had it for over a decade and although it does have a few dents, it still hasn't stained.

Will fabric paint stain my bathtub?

Modern bathtubs are made from materials such as thermoformed acrylic, fiberglass, and ceramic. If you live in an older home, yours might be porcelain-enameled cast iron. Each of these materials has different care requirements and different degrees of risk when staining.

If you are dyeing in aporcelain enamel bathtub or a modern ceramic bathtub with a gloss finish, it is highly unlikely that the stain will stain your bathtub.Although, if the tub is chipped, there's a chance the stain will find that chip and suck it under the surrounding surface.

if you have oneFiberglass or thermoformed acrylic bathtub, I suggest testing your tint on an inconspicuous surface in your bathtub before you begin, if possible.Tubs are coated with a stain-resistant finish, but on some less expensive tubs, these finishes can wear off over time, leaving the surface more susceptible to ink absorption.While these tubs are unlikely to stain (less likely to stain than plastic ones, by a considerable margin), it's worth proceeding with caution, especially since tubs are much harder to replace than a plastic bucket! !

How to fix an ink stain in your bathtub:

If you find dye residue in your bathtub after a dye bath, try cleaning it up with dish soap first. This is the gentlest on surfaces but excellent for lifting paint. If that doesn't work, you can try a lightweight scrubber like Bar Keeper's Friend or Ajax Cleaning Powder.

What to read next:

  • The best fabric dyes for 23 fabrics
  • How to dye silk from start to finish(4 shapes)
  • How to dye silk fabrics with natural dyes(Step by Step)
  • – 5 Methods
  • How to dye jeans black– Complete guide for beginners
  • – the complete guide
  • 18 realistic things to dye at home(+ Advice from a professional)

This article was written by Kat Waters and edited by Sara Maker.

Kat Waters (author)
Kat has been sewing for as long as her feet could reach the pedals, starting with quilts she made with her mother and then moving on to clothing. She now makes everything she wears, occasionally teaches classes and shares her projects on social media. Her highlights include her wedding dress, shoe making, and love for almost every fabric that comes in hot pink!See More information…


These sources were referenced in March 2022.


How do you get fabric dye out of a bathtub? ›

If you find dye residue in your tub after a dye bath, try cleaning it up with dawn dish soap first. This is the gentlest on surfaces and still great at lifting dye. If that doesn't work, you can try a light scourer like Bar Keeper's Friend or Ajax cleaning powder.

How do you remove Rit dye from pots? ›

Is Rit safe to be used in a container used for food? Rit is not a food-grade dye so we do not suggest using a container that is also used for food. However, if you must reuse the container for cooking, it is recommended to clean the container with chlorine bleach or a powdered cleanser after dyeing.

Will Rit fabric dye stain my bathtub? ›

Do not use fabric dye in porcelain or fiberglass bathtubs due to the strong possibility of staining. Use the right amount of product for your fabric type and weight. Prepare fabric.

Does vinegar remove fabric dye? ›

Alternatively, it's possible to use white vinegar to remove the color stain. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into a bucket of cold water, stir thoroughly and then rinse the stained garment.

Will Rit dye stain a plastic sink? ›

Most household surfaces are actually resistant to tie-dye and won't get stained. Plastic, metal, and glass can be wiped clean. Porous surface like raw wood and fabric can become stained if they come in contact with dye.

Can fabric dye be removed? ›

Take a white cloth and dampen it with a commercial stain remover, rubbing alcohol, hairspray, or any clear solvent that is 90% alcohol. Dab the stain with the white cloth repeatedly, and the dye should keep transferring from your garment onto the white cloth. Afterward, rinse in warm water. Proceed with normal wash.

Can you get dye out of a sink? ›

Use hydrogen peroxide on colored porcelain sinks.

Hydrogen peroxide has the cleaning power of bleach without stripping off color. Pour hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle, then spray down the stained area. Leave the peroxide for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then come back and rinse with clean water.

How do you remove fabric dye from a stainless steel sink? ›

Add ~1/2 cup of baking soda to a bowl. Slowly add hydrogen peroxide until the baking soda turns into a paste. Rub the paste all over the sink using a microfiber cloth, caking it over areas that are especially soiled.

Can I use fabric dye in a pot? ›

We recommend using a stainless steel or enamel pot. Aluminum pots can also be used, but the aluminum can become scratched and pitted from the salt in the dye so using an old pot you no longer care about might be the best course of action in this case.

Does peroxide remove fabric dye? ›

However, a cause of concern is whether it will also remove and bleach out the color of your clothes. Hydrogen peroxide is an oxygen bleach that is usually considered safe for colored clothes. Moreover, many of the prominent color-safe bleaches also mainly consist of hydrogen peroxide.

How do you reverse Rit dye? ›

  1. Pre-wash item in warm, soapy water.
  2. Fill a stainless steel pot with enough water for the fabric to move freely. ...
  3. When water begins to simmer, add one packet of Color Remover. ...
  4. Keep temperature at a low simmer.
  5. Wet the item you are going to be removing the color from and add it to the bath.
  6. Stir occasionally.

Can I dump Rit dye down the sink? ›

Can you Pour Dyes Down the Drain? You might be unsure whether it is safe to pour your dyes directly down the drain. No one wants to harm the environment if they can help it. You can safely dispose of your leftover dye in the sink or the bathtub.

How do you get Rit out of a bathtub? ›

Removing Hair Dye Stains from Bath Tub
  1. Plug the tub and fill it with hot water until the water covers the stained area completely.
  2. Wear rubber gloves. ...
  3. Add half a cup of baking soda to the water. ...
  4. Let the mixture of vinegar and baking soda remain in the tub for 10 minutes.
  5. Drain the tub and rinse it with warm water.

Will food coloring stain a bath tub? ›

Play With Colors

When it's bathtime, put the ice cubes in the tub and let your child play with them as they melt (and don't worry, food coloring agents won't stain your tub). It's fun to watch kids discover what happens when colors meld together.

How long do you leave Rit dye in a bath? ›

It really depends on the desired shade and fabric. To achieve the color on the box or bottle, we suggest 30 to 60 minutes with continuous stirring. For lighter shades, we suggest 10 to 20 minutes.

Does rubbing alcohol remove fabric dye? ›

Just as the alcohol can work well for removing dye stains like ink or marker from fabric, it can also loosen or remove the fabric dye. Since the fabric dye has been removed, the only way to repair the problem is to replace the dye.

Does baking soda remove fabric dye? ›

But what's a quick, easy and cheap way to remove colour run from clothes? Simple: Use baking soda. Baking soda, aka bicarbonate of soda, is a non-toxic odour neutraliser that can also brighten white laundry. So, it's the ideal product to work with when trying to remove a colour run issue.

Does acetone remove fabric dye? ›

Acetone may effectively reduce or even remove many difficult stains such as paints, adhesives, glues, nail coatings, and some melted plastics. But acetone pulls the color in some fabric dyes and it dissolves acetate fibers readily.

How do you remove color stains from plastic? ›

Forte's recipe for stain removal: 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach to 1 cup of water. Pour to just above the level of the stain or put the solution into a container large enough to hold your plastic item. Soak for 30 minutes or until the stain is gone. Then, rinse in warm soapy water.

Can vinegar remove color bleed? ›

So, how do we really set the dye and stop it from bleeding? Here's how: Salt and vinegar won't do the trick. Although there is a popular belief that using salt and white vinegar to set dyes in your fabrics work, it actually does not.

How do you fix color bleeding? ›

How do I remove color bleeding stains from clothes? You can remove color bleeding stains by dissolving oxygen bleach in hot water and then allowing the mixture to cool down. Add the garment and soak it for 15 minutes and then rinse. The stain should be gone.

Will oxiclean remove dye? ›

Try Oxi Clean or other oxygen-based stain remover.

Oxi Clean removes a plethora of stains, and I've had it resolve mild cases where dyes have bled. Try using the soaking method for stain removal.

Can you remove discoloration from stainless steel? ›

Simply wash your pan with vinegar and rinse with water to remove discoloration. Additionally, vinegar can be used to rid your pan of white calcium build-up stains. Make a mixture of one part vinegar to three parts water and boil in the affected pot or pan. Allow the mixture to cool, empty the pan, and wash as normal.

How do you get stainless steel color back? ›

Take some diluted white vinegar and scrub with a non-abrasive sponge. Then after thoroughly working the vinegar into your cookware, you just need to rinse and dry. The acidity of the vinegar will work to break down the oxidized rainbow layer to keep your stainless steel pots looking their silvery best.

Will Rit dye stain metal? ›

Nonetheless, we can promise you Rit won't permanently stain any metal component on your machine. Rit has been used in washing machines for decades, dating back to the time when the electric washing machine was invented in the 1950s.

Can you rinse tie-dye in bathtub? ›

Rinse items in your designated tie dye sink, bathtub, or even shower! Some of our friends have shared that rinsing tie dye in the bathtub or shower with kids is a great way to include them in the fun of the tie dye “reveal” while keeping the watery dye contained to an easy-to-clean space.

Does food dye stain pots? ›

Food coloring will stain your pot and spoon. Do not use food coloring dye on synthetic fibers -- it likely won't take.

Does Hairspray remove dye? ›

One of the reasons why hairspray successfully removes hair dye from clothes is due to the alcohol base. It helps break up the color and absorb it into the material. You will need to spray over the stain and cover the entire area. After spraying your clothes, soak them in a bowl of cool water for 30 minutes.

What happens when you mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda? ›

By reacting together, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda produce carbon dioxide and chemicals which are excellent in removing bleaches. And thus, they make a fantastic couple together!

How do you fix Rit dye splotches? ›

Vinegar and lemon juice both remove excess dye from fabric, while sealing in the remaining dye. This can help fix uneven dyes.

Why do you add vinegar to Rit dye? ›

To enhance the color: (1) add 1 cup of salt when dyeing fabrics containing cotton, rayon, ramie or linen; (2) add 1 cup of vinegar when dyeing fabrics containing nylon, silk or wool.

Can you fix Rit dye with vinegar? ›

You cannot use vinegar. However, if you are using an all-purpose dye such as Rit, neither vinegar nor soda ash will set the dye. The only way to set Rit dye on cotton, so that it does not bleed badly in the laundry, is to buy a commercial dye fixative such as Retayne.

Does vinegar remove red stains? ›

White Vinegar and Laundry Detergent (Another great trick for clothes) Cover the stain in white vinegar, which neutralizes purple and red pigments. Immediately after applying the vinegar, rub in liquid detergent, then launder in hot water. The stain should lift.

Does vinegar remove red? ›

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, soak in a solution of 1 quart warm water and 1 tablespoon white vinegar for 1 hour.

Are red stains permanent? ›

Fortunately, most red stains aren't actually permanent; they just require expert care to remove or minimize.

Where do I dump Rit dye water? ›

Rit products may be safely flushed through both sewer and septic systems.

Does tie dye come out of a bathtub? ›

Can Tie-dye Stain my Bathtub? No, bathtubs and showers are non-porous and waterproof. They are usually made of acrylic or porcelain, both of which cannot be stained by tie-dye. You can safely rinse tie-dye in your bathtub or shower.

Does Magic Eraser remove hair dye from tub? ›

All in One Solution – Magic Eraser Works for All Surfaces

All you have to do is wet the Magic Eraser and rub the hair dye stain. The stain should start to disappear immediately.

Can I pour Rit dye down the drain? ›

Yes! Rit products may be safely flushed through both sewer and septic systems.

Can you save dye bath? ›

4. Dye baths may be reused as well. It's best to let the dye bath cool to about 100 degrees, recharge it with dye, or use it as is, and then heat it up slowly. 5.

Can I rinse tie-dye in my sink? ›

If your washing machine has a rinse setting, even better! Your second option is to do this step by hand, by rinsing your tie-dye shirt under cold running water in a large utility sink (the kitchen sink will do just fine, as well!).

How do I stop hair dye staining my tub? ›

Also, line the tub with a thin layer of petroleum jelly to prevent stains. Remember to wash and scrub your bathtub immediately after rinsing your color to thoroughly remove the excess dye and petroleum jelly to prevent slipping. Run the water while your hair hovers the sink or bathtub to prevent the dye from setting.

How do you get dye out of porcelain? ›

"Reader's Digest" recommends a mixture of 1 cup borax to 1/4 cup lemon juice to remove stubborn stains in a porcelain sink. Apply the mixture using a sponge and wipe gently before rinsing the solution away. Try rubbing the dye stains with a clean wet rag that has been dipped in lighter fluid as a last resort.

Can sanitizer remove dye? ›

If stubborn dye stains are still present after scrubbing, hand or body scrubs, nail polish removers, and even hand sanitizers are also great ways to help remove hair dye marks.

How do you keep fabric dye from rubbing off? ›

Add 1 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle or one-half cup salt to the wash to help hold in colors. Use color-catcher sheets, which trap extraneous dyes during the wash cycle to prevent bleeding.


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