Will Fabric Dye Stain Stainless Steel? And How To Fix It?

When it comes to dyeing your fabric, you want to ensure that you’re using the right tools for the job. One important consideration is what kind of container you’ll be using. Some people like to dye in their stainless steel sinks or containers.

But will fabric dye stain stainless steel? The answer is yes, but only on the surface. The stains don’t penetrate the metal.

fabric dye stainless steel

This blog post will explore that question and give tips for avoiding staining problems.

Fabric Dyeing Vessels

dyeing process
Dyeing in a plastic bucket. Credit: canva

There are a few standard options for vessels for dyeing your fabric. One popular choice is plastic buckets or bins, which are inexpensive and easy to clean. Another option is enamel pots, which can be easily cleaned and won’t react with the dye chemicals.

But some people prefer using their kitchen stainless steel sinks at home. These are usually large, have good drainage, and are practical.

Will Fabric Dye Stain Stainless Steel?

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Dyeing in a stainless steel container. Credit: canva

Yes, fabric dye will stain stainless steel. Almost any kind of dye can tarnish stainless steel. That’s because stainless steel is very porous, and dyes can quickly soak into its surface.

You can avoid staining your stainless steel surfaces by using a sealant before the dyeing process begins. The sealant creates a barrier between the metal and the dye, so the color won’t seep in and discolor the surface.

However, even if you do use a sealant, there’s still a chance that some dye will get through and leave a mark. So always be sure to test an inconspicuous area before applying the dye to any large surfaces.


As the name suggests, stainless steel is difficult to stain because it doesn’t have a porous surface.

But it is not entirely stain-proof, and fabric dyes contain pigments that can leave behind stains on the surface. It can still become coated with dye, especially if left to sit for a long time.

How to Clean the Stains

dye stain
Dyeing and dye stains. Credit: canva
  • Running hot water and vinegar through the stainless steel before and after dyeing can help remove any potential residue that could cause staining.
  • You can also use a mild detergent or baking soda to clean the stainless steel afterward.
  • Abrasive cleaners or cleaners that contain a bit of bleach can also work but use them carefully to prevent scratches on the stainless steel surface.

How to Prevent Staining

  • Use a barrier between the stainless steel and the dye, such as lining it with plastic or using a separate container within the stainless steel vessel.
  • It’s best to use a vessel for dyeings, such as enamel or plastic, to avoid staining problems.
  • But if you use stainless steel, clean it thoroughly and quickly after each use.


What are some of the best ways to prevent fabric dye from staining stainless steel?

The best way to prevent fabric dye from staining stainless steel is to use a color catcher sheet or to rinse the item in cold water immediately after dying.

You can also try using vinegar and water to remove residual dye from the stainless steel surface.

How can you remove fabric dye from stainless steel if it does happen to stain? 

You can also try scrubbing the stained area with a soft toothbrush or cloth. If the color is still visible, you may need to sand the area lightly with a fine-grit sandpaper.

What are some of the most common items people dye in their homes? 

Some of the most common items that people dye in their homes are clothing, bedding, and curtains. Fabric dye can also color hair, nails, and other materials.

Are there any fabrics that you would not recommend dyeing with household products?

Some fabrics you would not recommend dyeing with household products are those made of delicate materials such as silk or wool. You should avoid fabric dye on porous materials such as wood or leather.

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