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As every lab technician knows, methylene blue really is blue. And not the kind of blue you’d gladly sport on your jeans! Or shirt, just because it soaked through the labcoat.
To get rid of methylene blue, you can use a bit of bleach on the stain. Or some isopropyl alcohol. Or lemon juice. Or – brace yourself – live yeast!
Check out all of these methods below, plus how to get rid of this deep blue stain when it lands on your skin or, god forbid, your carpet.
How to Remove Methylene Blue from Clothing (4 Methods)
1. Bleach It Out
- The first step to getting rid of methylene blue stains is to reduce the chemical by diluting it with bleach. When you reduce methylene blue using bleach, the chemical becomes clear. Keep in mind that when the stain gets exposed to air, it will turn blue again.
- Next, you need to treat the stain. Pour a heavy-duty laundry detergent onto the stain. (I’m NOT happy to say that my favorite non harsh chemical detergent alternatives probably won’t work here.)
- Allow the laundry detergent to soak into the fabric for a few minutes.
- Once the time is up, take a bristle brush and rub the spot.
- Next, rinse the stain with clean water. Rinse until the water runs clear.
- If the stain is still visible, reduce the stain, treat it with laundry detergent, soak it, and rinse the stain again.
- Now, wash the clothes in the washing machine using the same detergent from step two. This is important because it reduces the stress on your clothing’s fabric
- Then, allow the clothing to air-dry.
- If you still see the stain, you can repeat the above steps until the stain is completely gone.
2. Alcohol Might Help
If bleach doesn’t work (which it often won’t), take some 70% isopropyl alcohol and several cotton pads.
Dip a pad into the alcohol and rub it against the stain as pre-treatment.
The rest of the steps are identical as in method #1 above! Soak it in water with a tough laundry detergent, brush or scrub it, rinse it, and toss it into the washer.
3. The Answer’s In Your Pantry
I have to admit that this one’s my favorite. If the process has to end with harsh laundry detergent, the least I can do is kick it off with common household items!
Get a lemon and squeeze out the juice. That’s your cup of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) right there! And it’s known to work quite well on dissolving methylene blue.
If you don’t happen to have a lemon, some other acidic substance such as white vinegar will do.
4. Let’s Get (More) Nerdy
I owe this one to my husband, who is a chemist and has quite a lot of experiments up his sleeve. Some of them quite practical, as it turns out!
One of the classics, often performed in school labs, is the “live yeast meets methylene blue” experiment. The gist is that live yeast cells will cause methylene to lose its color. It’s actually quite cool when you observe the methylene slowly changing from luscious blue to colorless!
What may happen here is that some of your yeast cells could be dead. In that case, they’ll actually absorb the blue. But chances are, there won’t be too many.
Talk about a genuinely hands-on approach to learning!
When most of the blue comes out, treat the stain with laundry detergent. Then put it through a regular wash cycle, as in all other methods above.
How To Get Methylene Blue Off Your Skin
If you get methylene blue on your skin, you need to use a slightly different process. Luckily, this one’s not nearly as tricky as getting it off clothes!
- Start by washing your skin immediately with strong soap and water.
- Make sure to thoroughly rinse your skin. You should spend at least 20 seconds washing your skin to ensure the residue is off your body
- Finally, dry your skin.
You can also wash your clothes, even if you don’t notice methylene blue on them.
How to Get Methylene Blue Out of Carpet
You can use the same method as you would for treating clothing. Apply a treatment to the methylene blue and reduce it with some white vinegar, isopropyl alcohol, or lemon juice. Or bleach, if your carpet’s white!
You can also get methylene blue out of the carpet by using paint thinner, chemical strippers, and hydrogen peroxide. Sometimes, a combination of these methods is what it takes to get the substance out of your floor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you get blue dye out of colored clothes?
Methylene blue isn’t like other blue dyes. If you get other blue dyes on your clothes, you can use rubbing alcohol, hairspray, or another clear solvent that’s 90% alcohol to get rid of the stain. Dab it with a white cloth and you should notice that the stain slowly disappears. Wash the clothing after you use this method to get rid of the dye.
What can you dissolve methylene blue dye in?
Methylene blue dye dissolves in warm water and organic solvents, as well as alcohol. Insoluble chloroform and bleach are also agents that dissolve methylene blue and can get it out of your clothing and carpets.
What stains methylene blue?
Methylene blue is commonly used to stain animals, bacteria, and blood tissue in science experiments. You’ll rarely find the substance outside of a laboratory or medical setting.