How To Get Hair Dye Out Of Carpet

Hair dye is awesome when it’s in your hair – you feel powerful, expressive, and like yourself. But when it’s in your carpet? You feel powerless and downright frustrated. Not only did you spill (likely expensive) hair dye, but you just gave your carpet an unwanted makeover. Luckily, those of us at DreamyHome have been there and done that – so we know how to get hair dye out of carpet from experience.

The best way to get hair dye out of carpet is with either a) combination of liquid dish soap, rubbing alcohol, and vinegar, b) ammonia, c) hydrogen peroxide, or d) hairspray and astringent.

That’s a lot of information all at once, so let’s break it down, shall we?

How To Get Hair Dye Out Of Carpet: 4 Different Ways

First things first – the method you use will vary on the type of carpet and hair dye. Second, always clean the stain ASAP and ensure you aren’t going to damage the carpet by testing your chosen cleaning method on a discreet spot first. Let’s start with the holy grail of cleaning – vinegar.

#1: Vinegar & Friends

This will always be my favourite method of cleaning. Vinegar is just so versatile and it always blows me away at how well it works. To clean hair dye from carpet with vinegar, do the following:

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and liquid dish soap each with ~500 mL water.
  2. Dry the stain with a sacrificial rag by blotting, not scrubbing. Scrubbing will rub the dye further into the carpet fibres.
  3. Dab again with a different sacrificial cloth that’s been dipped in your cleaning solution. Press it gently into the carpet, allowing the mixture to seep into the carpet.
  4. Rinse the carpet with cold water and allow it dry. You could also soak it up with a sponge if you’re in a hurry.
  5. Repeat until the stain lifts up, using a small amount of rubbing alcohol on the cloth on subsequent attempts (after testing it to make sure it doesn’t damage your carpet).
  6. Rinse and dry the carpet. While you’re at it, give it a good vacuum.

#2 Ammonia

Ammonia will remove most hair dyes rather quickly, but it’s important that you don’t use it on wool carpets. Ammonia will damage wool, staining and weakening it. Here’s how to clean non-wool carpets with ammonia:

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of both ammonia and liquid dish soap along with ~500 mL of water.
  2. Apply it to the carpet using a sacrificial white cloth. Dyed cloth will bleed onto the carpet, making the stain worse.
  3. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Add a few drops of the solution every 5 minutes until the stain lifts.
  4. Rinse the carpet with cold water and air dry it. You might as well vacuum while you’re waiting.

#3 Hairspray and Astringent

This is rather simple, but it works surprisingly well. To remove hair dye from carpet with hairspray, simply:

  1. Liberally spray hairspray onto the stain, fully covering it.
  2. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes, rinsing with cold water once you’re done waiting.
  3. Apply astringent to the stain and allow it to sit for just as long.
  4. Dab at the stain gently, allowing the cleaning solutions to seep into the carpet fibres. Leave it for another five minutes.
  5. Rinse it with cold water and pat dry with a towel, repeating until the stain is gone.

#4 Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide will remove most stains, but it will also bleach many cloth materials – so use it sparingly and test, test, test before using it. This is best on a white carpet. We’re not talking beige, or eggshell, and definitely not a coloured carpet – but pure white. If you use it on a nonwhite carpet, you’ll have a white carpet pretty soon. (Though that’s a nice lifehack – buy coloured discount carpet and bleach it white for the cost of a few bottles of hydrogen peroxide!)

Here’s how to clean hair dye from carpet with hydrogen peroxide:

  1. Cover the stain with hydrogen peroxide using a blotter or small spoon to avoid spilling it everywhere.
  2. Leave it for 24 hours, keeping pets and kids off of the carpet. That includes your annoying roomate Jerry who simply can’t stay off things you’re cleaning.
  3. After it dries, dab it with a towel or sponge soaked in cold water.
  4. Dry again and vacuum, repeating the process until the stain is gone.

Can I Remove Old Stains, Too?

Remember when I said to clean the stain as soon as possible? Yeah, I said that because the longer it sits, the harder it’ll be to clean. You won’t be able to lift a hair dye stain from last month up with any of the above methods unless you’re planning to fully bleach your carpet and cause serious damage to it.

If it’s an old stain, you have two options:

  1. Baby shampoo allegedly works, though I’ve never let a stain sit so long that I needed to try it, so attempt at your discretion.
  2. Rent a carpet cleaner or hire a pro.

To clean a hair dye stain with baby shampoo, do the following:

  1. Apply cold water to the stain.
  2. Drop a teaspoon (or so) of baby shampoo on the affected spot, rubbing it into the carpet gently.
  3. Rinse and dry the carpet, repeating until it’s gone or you give up and hire a pro.

Final Thoughts

Hair dye is, understandably, difficult to remove from a carpet. After all – it’s a dye. It’s not meant to come out of anything easily, otherwise that would defeat the whole purpose, no? If you make the fateful mistake of spilling hair dye on a carpet, don’t panic – just treat it right away. The longer it sits, the harder your job will be.

Begin by trying each of the above steps, testing them on a discreet part of your carpet first to ensure you won’t damage it further. If none of them works (or you let it sit for too long), you’ll need to rent a carpet cleaner. You can also hire a professional, but that’s expensive, and rentals aren’t nearly as pricey.

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About the Author Harry Thompson

Involved in home renovations throughout his life, Harry is an expert in everything to do with home and garden DIY. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and tending to his garden.