Whether you are interested in nonpermanent body art or you are following your culture, there are plenty of reasons why you might find yourself encountering henna. Most people refer to henna solely to the henna tattoos that many people get.
However, the term “henna” itself refers to the dye that is used to make the tattoo. This means that there are plenty of other uses for henna.
No matter what you are using henna for, there might come a time when an unfortunate accident occurs and you end up with henna on your clothing. If henna is known for staying on the skin for long periods of time, then you might begin to worry about whether or not henna will ever come out of your clothing. It is a strong dye, right?
While it might be more difficult with some fabrics compared to others, there is a way to remove henna from your clothing. With that being said, understanding what henna is and where it comes from may help you know what to prepare for so that you can minimize the chances of getting henna on your clothes.
Even if you do get henna on your clothes, you will have a good idea of how to remove it, knowing where it comes from.
What Is Henna?
The term henna (Mehndi), is a type of dye that is prepared from a select type of tree. The three trees that are capable of producing the henna dye are the henna tree, the mignonette tree, and the Egyptian privet.
These trees are usually found in subtropical zones of Africa, southern Asia, and the islands between mainland Asia and Australia. What makes it so effective is a specific type of pigment known as Lawsone.
Naturally, this dye comes out as a ruddy orange that comes from the leaves of the plant. To produce the dye, the leaves are milled into a fine powder.
Once that powder is mixed with both water and fresh air, it will activate, turning into a henna paste that is used for nonpermanent body art and eyebrow enhancements.
Henna works well for the aptly named henna tattoos because Lawsone dye molecules are known to safely bind to both skin and hair for a set amount of time. Once they bind with the skin and hair, they begin to darken, giving the appearance of a tattoo.
Because the molecules are bound to your skin and hair, the tattoo or eyebrow enhancements will naturally last for a couple weeks at a time.
What Is Henna Commonly Used for?
Henna is best known for its use in henna tattoos. These tattoos are a form of body art that is nonpermanent, as it will wash out after a couple weeks.
It has been used since the Bronze Age to dye skin for body art, among other things. By technicality, henna tattoos are not actually tattoos, but are classified more as a body art.
However, henna can do more than just paint the skin. People have been known to use henna as a way to dye eyebrows and hair. People who have thinner eyebrows may want to get their eyebrows enhanced with henna as a way to naturally dye the hair in that area.
People will often use henna as a hair dye, as it produces a rich copper color that many people appreciate in hair.
What Will You Need to Get Henna Out of Your Clothes?
Now that you know where henna comes from, you may have a better idea as to what you will need to remove henna from your clothing.
First things first, it is important to remember that you should remove a henna stain as soon as possible, as they do have the tendency to darken over time if left alone. The sooner you begin removing the stain, the better chance there is that you will be able to completely remove it.
You are going to need a place to wash your henna-stained clothing, of course. You should have an area where you can let your stained clothing soak before you put it into the washer, although a bucket on top of the washer can often suffice. You will also need a cloth to blot the stain with, if you catch it early enough.
Another thing to note is that since henna stains are considered to be a tannin stain (the same type of stain as coffee and tea), if you have a tannin stain remover, you can also try that on your henna stain to see if that will remove it.
How Do You Remove Henna From Clothing?
There are a few different methods you can try to remove the stain from your clothing. This method is simple, although time consuming.
First, you will want to blot the stain when you first spill the henna. Gently dab the stain with a dry washcloth to remove excess moisture and do not rub the stain, as you can potentially spread it.
Next you should take some laundry soap, drip a little bit onto the stain, and begin scrubbing in small circular motions with a toothbrush. A new, clean toothbrush is the best idea for this.
You should continue doing this until the stain has faded as best as you can get it. Once you have done this, rinse the clothing under cold water.
If you couldn’t get the entire stain out, you can heat up half a cup of milk in a saucepan until it is about lukewarm. Pour that milk into a bowl and put the stained part of the clothing into the milk bowl.
Keep the stain there for half an hour. Once you have done this, repeat the previous step until you get more progress on removing that stain.
If that still doesn’t work, you can resort to using a harsher chemical, such as hydrogen peroxide. A small amount on the stain should suffice. From here, you would keep scrubbing with the toothbrush.
Keep in mind that this should be a last resort, as hydrogen peroxide can also take the color out of your clothing.
Some people might consider using diluted bleach as well, and while this has the same risk of removing color from your clothing, it can do a good job at removing the stain as well.