Did you spill permanent hair dye on your favorite rug? Did stubborn stains damage your carpet fibers?
Don’t worry! It’s not as hard as you think to remove stains like hair dye. Plus, you can do it with simple household products.
In a few short steps, we’ll show you how to remove hair dye from carpet. Keep reading for tips and tricks to restore your carpet’s beauty.
Before You Start
Before you tackle the stain, remember that there are different types of hair dye. Because of this, you can’t use the same cleaning technique for all hair dyes.
If you don’t know what kind of stain it is, the best way to start is with a dry solvent. And keep in mind that when you apply water-based cleaners first, they create a barrier that keeps the dry solvent from working.
So, we’ll start with a dry solvent. If you did try using water, let the carpet air dry completely before you follow these steps.
Also, since we don’t know what hair dye you used, test the solvent on just a fiber or two of the hair dye stain. That way, you will have a better idea of whether that product will work on the dye stain.
Keep In Mind
There are also a few safety things to remember when working with chemicals like dry solvents. They are relatively safe, but it’s always good to protect yourself.
First, always work in a ventilated area. And second, try not to touch the cleaning solution with your bare skin.
For more help with carpet stains before you begin, check out this list of tips.
What You’ll Need
1. Remove Any Excess Hair Dye
If your dye stain is still fresh, use paper towels or dry cloth to blot away the extra dye. And if you have a lot of spilled hair dye, you can use a spatula or spoon to remove the excess.
As you do this, work gently. You don’t want to rub too hard because you can spread the dye deeper into the carpet fibers.
If you have dried hair dye stains, you can use a scraper or dull knife to gently chip off or cut away the excess hair dye. However, make sure you don’t cut the actual carpet fibers.
Once you’ve gotten as much dried hair dye off as you can, vacuum over the spot. This will help remove any little particles of dye or other debris that have come loose.
2. Clean the Dye Stain With a Solvent
Before you use a dry solvent, always put a cold water barrier around the dye stain. This keeps the hair dye from spreading as you apply the solvent.
To make a barrier, simply put a light ring of water on the carpet around the spot where you’ll use the solvent. But remember, don’t get any water on the stained part of the carpet, or the solvent won’t work.
Next, you’ll apply the solvent. There are several different cleaning solutions that will work.
D-Limonene: This is a great solvent for oil-based stains, so it will get out the oily part of the hair dye. It also is relatively safe for carpet backing because it doesn’t penetrate deep into the carpet.
However, D-Limonene is fairly expensive. As well, it leaves a residue, so you need to make sure to clean it off very carefully.
Lighter fluid, rubbing alcohol, or naphtha: These solvents are generally much cheaper than D-Limonene, and they’ll rinse more easily. However, they won’t work as well on oily stains.
Once you’ve chosen your cleaning solution, put some on a clean, dry cloth and dab it onto the spot. Let the solvent sit on the carpet fibers for 15 minutes to soak in.
Next, use the back of a stain brush or your scraper and agitate the hair dye stain.
3. Rinse the Solvent and Let the Carpet Dry
When you use a solvent, you need to rinse it off afterward. This is especially important for D-Limonene, so follow the instructions on the bottle.
To rinse, you can dip a clean cloth in cold water and dab the stain. Keep doing this until you can’t feel any oil on the fibers.
Then, let the affected area dry. Once the spot is dry, you can use your vacuum to pick up any last residue.
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If the Stain Is Still Present
If the previous steps didn’t work, don’t worry! There are a few more tricks you can try to get the hair dye out.
It’s pretty common to still see hair color after you use a solvent because the solvent will only remove the greasy part of the stain.
These next two solutions use bleaching agents: ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. Ammonia is a reducer and hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizer.
When you use a cleaning solution like these, you need to be careful. Bleach can take out the color from the carpet itself, and it can also damage natural fibers like silk, cotton, or wool.
In addition, an oxidizer like hydrogen peroxide can actually intensify the color in a hair dye stain. For this reason, always test a cleaning solution in a small, hidden spot on the carpet first.
As well, we’ll first use the reducer, ammonia. This product is an effective hair dye remover. It has fewer risks, and it doesn’t need to soak in for as long.
If an ammonia solution doesn’t work, then try hydrogen peroxide, the oxidizer.
However, keep in mind that it can make the stain worse. Only use this as a last resort if the dry solvent and ammonia cleaning solution don’t work.
- In 1 cup of warm water, add 1 tablespoon of household ammonia.
- Dip a clean cloth in the ammonia solution and blot the stained area. Make sure you do this gently and don’t rub the fibers too much.
- Afterward, use an acid rinse. This will help prevent discoloration.
- For the acid rinse, mix 2 cups of water with 1 cup of white vinegar. Use a new clean cloth or paper towel to blot the solution onto the stain.
- Always make sure to rinse the stain completely to remove all of the ammonia, so there’s no residue left behind.
- If you don’t have any white vinegar, just rinse with plain water.
- Once everything is rinsed, dry the spot by blotting with a dry cloth. After, put a pad of paper towels on top and weigh it down to remove more moisture.
If nothing else has worked, it’s time to try hydrogen peroxide 3%.
- First, mix 3 tablespoons of lukewarm water with 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide.
- Then, dip a clean cloth into the hydrogen peroxide solution and dab the stain. Next, use a thick towel to cover the stain so that light can’t come through.
- Let the solution soak into the fibers for at least 30 minutes, but more time is better.
- As you wait, check the stained area every so often. If the carpet color starts to fade, rinse the solution immediately.
- Once the stain itself has faded, gently dab the spot with water to rinse off the hydrogen peroxide.
Never use baking soda to try to clean a carpet. Baking soda is very abrasive, and it can damage the carpet fibers.
For more information, check out this article on the dangers of using baking soda on a carpet.
Also, we don’t recommend using dish soap or baby shampoo – as this is suggested by many websites. It won’t be effective for this type of stain.
When to Call Professional Carpet Cleaners
If you still see the stain after you’ve tried this method, it’s time to call the professionals.
Also, if your carpet is made from a delicate material like silk, wool, or nylon, it’s a good idea to check with a professional before you try any cleaning method.
Professionals have a lot of experience with tough stains, and they can also use more aggressive methods to remove spots.
With hair dye, you might not be able to remove the stain completely. In this case, you can have a professional bleach the mark and then re-dye the carpet.
Or, if you have extra scraps of carpet, a professional could also cut out the stained spot and replace it with a new piece.