Dye from shirt accidentally transferred to hair!

Name: dnp


Set Dyes in Commercial Clothing


Extra Strength Hair Dye Color Remover

Message: My friend has a bright pink shirt that has been washed numerous times.  She was wearing the shirt the other day and fell asleep with a wet head on her shoulder.  Her blonde hair turned pink at the area where it was touching the shirt.  Is it really possible that because her body tempature was high and she had a wet head of hair that it would turn her hair pink in the contact area?  If she were sweating, would the shirt turn her white sheets pink too?

It is certainly possible that dye from the shirt transferred to your friend's hair.  This is something that should never happen, but inadequate dye fixing sometimes does occur. It is the fault of the manufacturer, and the garment should be returned to where it was purchased for a refund and possibly enough money to pay for the removal of the pink dye from the hair.

The best test for dye permanency is to dampen a piece of dyed fabric and place it between two piece of white cloth, one made of cotton and the other made of wool, then press it with a hot iron until it is dry. Some inadequately washed dyes will transfer to wool but not to cotton (or vice versa). It is possible that the dye in this shirt will run only onto protein fibers such as human hair and wool, but not onto cotton, because of the chemical differences between protein fibers and cellulose fibers.

If your friend is unable to return the shirt and wants to continue to wear it, the best way to rid dyed clothing of excess unattached dyes is to wash it in HOT water, 140°F or higher (that's 60°C or higher). Some dyes are naturally not very firmly bonded to fabric, but will continue to bleed or crock even after many washings. It is possible to fix most of these dyes in place, after removing excess dye by washing, by applying a commercial dye fixative, such as Retayne or its generic equivalents. It is hard to find this product in local stores. If you have a local quilting supply shop, ask for Retayne there. Otherwise, you have to buy it by mail-order. Most good dye suppliers will carry it, and some will carry more than one brand. Retayne is applied in the washing machine, in hot water. See my page on "Commercial Dye Fixatives".

Your friend should try hot water first to remove the dye, as hot as she can stand without danger of scalding. Hot water always removes loose dye better than cold water will. If her hair is naturally blond, it will not have absorbed as much dye as if it has been bleached and color treated. The color treatment process makes hair more porous and able to accept loose dye. (This is no excuse for the mistake made by the manufacturer of your friend's shirt!)

If hot water does not remove the pink dye from the hair, there is a product available that can be used to remove dye. It is called something like "Color Oops", and it is based on the exact same chemical that is found in  Rit Color Remover, which is used for this purpose on clothing. Do not use Rit Color Remover on your hair, because the related product that is made for hair will be formulated to be much kinder to the hair. I would advise getting a professional hairstylist to help remove the pink dye. If your friend's hair is dyed, the color might be stripped out, leaving it white. (See the forum post "Color Remover for hair!".)

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Posted: Wednesday - September 03, 2008 at 07:49 AM          

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