How to Remove Hair Dye from Carpet


First of all, hair dye should never find its way onto your carpet. If you’re dyeing your hair at home, either do it in the bathroom over tiles or at least put some plastic on the floor. Even though most hair dye stains do come out, it doesn’t mean it won’t take you a long time to do it.

If you simply don’t have the spare time to visit a salon but your favorite hairstylist doesn’t mind making a private call, at least protect your carpets and your furniture. It might not be pretty, or as comfortable as being at a salon, but remember, you’re the one who has to clean up.

The hardest hair dye to remove is obviously permanent hair dye. The stronger the brand and color, the more time you’ll spend removing the stain. The good news is that whatever brand you’re using and whatever carpet you have, the steps you have to follow are always the same.


First, you have to prepare your cleaning solution. If you’re looking for a DIY mix, dishwashing detergent (not soap) and white vinegar should do the trick.

Put one tablespoon of each into 2 cups of warm water and mix them together.

Whenever you’re attempting to remove stains, of any kind, always use a white cloth or white paper towel to do the job. With your cleaning solution ready, start pouring little quantities onto the stain.

Use the piece of white cloth to blot the stain until it begins to fade. Don’t worry if it doesn’t disappear after this step. It’s not supposed to.

After this step, you might also want to start using a bit of cold water. This time you can use a kitchen sponge to blot until the liquid is gone. The stain will still be a bit wet.

The next step involves introducing a new cleaning agent. Rubbing alcohol is what you’ll have to use next. After you pour it, blot the stain dry with a new piece of white cloth. Be careful not to pour too much rubbing alcohol.

A couple of drops on the stain should be enough. If you don’t notice further fading, use a bit more. And get yourself a new piece of cloth while you’re at it.

Usually, after one or two rubbing alcohol blot sessions the stain should be almost gone. Once more, sponging with cold water should do the trick. Of course, depending on how old the hair dye stain is, this may not always be the case.

If you can still notice the stain there, there are a few more steps you can try.

Extra Steps if Needed

A combination of ammonia and dishwashing detergent might further help break down the dye. For every two cups of warm water, you’ll want to use one tablespoon of ammonia and one teaspoon of detergent.

With a sponge, cover the stain in this new cleaning solution. Instead of blotting the stain immediately, give it five minutes. Then blot the stain with a clean cloth and some more solution. This step should take you a total of 30 minutes or a total of six blotting sessions.

After the 30 minutes, use a clean sponge and some cold water and blot the stain dry one more time. In most cases, this should spell the end of your problems.

Alternative HP

Hydrogen peroxide (HP) is often used to remove various stains from fabrics. But in the case of carpets it’s not always recommended. If however you’re desperate, you could try it.

To be sure the hydrogen peroxide won’t remove the carpet’s color, put a drop on a hidden part of the carpet first. Leave it on for a few minutes and see what happens. If the color isn’t ruined, then proceed to the next step.

To make the hydrogen peroxide method successful, you need a good delivery method. An eyedropper would be great for this. Put small drops all over the stain and just leave it there for a full day.

You may want to gently cover the affected carpet area with a non-absorbent material. If there’s no noticeable change after 24 hours, you may try the procedure one more time.

If the stain is still there after all the previous steps, including the double applications of hydrogen peroxide, you may have to face the fact. That stain may never come out. You can still try a professional cleaning service as that’s perhaps your last resort.

In terms of DIY methods, you’ve just exhausted the best ones there are.

A Word of Caution

Some folks try to use bleach to remove carpet stains. Don’t be one of those people. Not only will that likely remove all the color from your rug, but when combined with ammonia it will result in highly toxic fumes.

Also, if you do decide to go at the stain even after exhausting all DIY options, be careful what cleaner you use. If there’s a hint of ammonia still in the carpet, your new cleaning agent could cause an unwanted chemical reaction.

Either read the label or refrain from using DIY methods if you already have a good commercial carpet cleaning product.

Another common mistake you should avoid is scrubbing the dye stain. Even if it’s a bit dry, rubbing hard or scrubbing is only going to spread the stain. It’s even worse if you do this after a few blotting sessions.

Final Thought

You might have to face the fact that the hair dye just won’t come out. If you have to go about using hydrogen peroxide, the situation is probably bad. So, you shouldn’t beat yourself up over cleaning hair dye in the first place.

The best way to avoid carpet stains is prevention. Protect your carpet if you’re doing your hair at home. Better yet, avoid changing hair colors over a carpet or furniture.

If a mishap does happen, it’s probably easier to just send the carpet to the cleaners, if it’s not your installed carpet flooring. Otherwise, following the steps in this article will give you the best shot at success.