The dye transfer method is an effective spot removal technique due to its ability to interact with the dye receptor sites. A dye receptor site is not a pocket or a hole in the fibre that would allow the entrance of an unwanted dye. A dye receptor site can only be viewed on a microscopic scale. It is an area along the molecular chain of the fibre which allows the adherence of part of the molecular chain making up the dye.

So man made fibres, nylon for example. Have more places along its molecular chain that allow the attachment of dye molecules than do other fibres, such as polypropylene, which are much more crystalline in nature. This is why polypropylene, olefin fibres are inherently more stain resistant. A drawback to a more crystalline molecular chain is that the resulting fibre is also more crystalline, thus less elastic, and less resistant to crushing. 

When nylon fibres are dyed, the major elements present to set the dyes are heat, moisture and pressure. When a foreign dye substance is spilled, we need to attempt to duplicate the dye set environment in order to remove more of the dye substance. The dye transfer method introduces the heat and moisture necessary to facilitate the stain removal but the pressure environment present in dye setting cannot be duplicated on location.

Most problematic dye spills are acid sided on the pH scale an anionic (-) in molecular charge, therefore, most through removal is obtained by introducing the moisture in the form of a high alkaline, non-ionic solution such as Cleancare’s Energizer: 

The dye transfer technique procedures.

Materials needed:

  • Trigger sprayer bottle
  • High alkaline solution (Energizer)
  • 2 white absorbent towels (cotton nappies work great)
  • Steam iron (pre-heat to about 70% capacity)
  • Extractor set up with detergent solution
  • PreKleen enzyme soil lifter. (if spill is protein related)


STEP 1: Pre-treat spot with PreKleen (if protein related) to facilitate removal of sugars and other protein bonded substances. Extract thoroughly to remove as much of the substance as possible.

STEP 2: Fill trigger sprayer with concentrated solution of Energizer. Thoroughly wet-out the stains fibres. For some spots, it may be necessary to let the fibres soak for a few minutes).

STEP 3: Fold towel into ½’s or ¼’s. Place towel over saturated stain. Place the pre-heated steam iron on top of towel and press lightly for about 5 seconds.

STEP 4: Remove iron, lift towel and watch for 2 things.

  1. Look at towel. If the stains is transferring, the process is working.
  2. Inspect the area of carpet just outside the stain’s perimeters. If any loss of the carpets’ original colour is evident, stop immediately!

STEP 5: As long as the stain is transferring to the towel and no original colour loss its evident, continue steps 2 – 4 (applying a clean, dry towel surface to the stain each time).