How to Remove Hair Dye Stains From Carpet and Upholstery

a hair dye-stained bathroom rug and stain removal supplies

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 25 - 45 mins
  • Estimated Cost: $0

Even the smallest at-home hair dye job can turn your bathroom into a mess. And while you want hair dye to color your hair, you don't want a hair dye stain on anything else. Fortunately you can get hair dye stains out of carpet and upholstery with some distilled white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Rubbing alcohol can assist in particularly tough stains.

Here's your easy guide to getting hair dye stains out of carpet and upholstery in just six steps.

Stain Type  Dye-based
Detergent Type High-performing dishwashing liquid
Water Temperature Cold

Before You Begin

If your carpet or upholstery is vintage or silk, consult a professional cleaner for assistance.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Spoon or dull knife
  • Measuring cup
  • Small non-metal bowl
  • White cloth
  • Sponge (optional)
  • Cotton swab

Materials

  • Cold water
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3 percent solution)
  • White paper towels

Instructions

a hair dye-stained bathroom rug and stain removal supplies
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Removing Hair Dye from Upholstery and Carpet

Removing hair dye stains from upholstery and carpet that cannot be soaked for hours or tossed in a washer takes a bit more patience and care. Always treat the stain as soon as possible and be careful not to spread the stain.

  1. Lift Away Any Solids From Upholstery or Carpet

    Begin by using a spoon or dull knife to lift any hair dye solids from the surface of the upholstery or carpet.

    Warning

    Do not rub because it will push the dye deeper into fibers.

    using a dull knife to scrape away excess hair dye
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 
  2. Treat With Cleaning Solution

    • Mix a solution of two cups cool water, one tablespoon distilled white vinegar, and one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid, in a small non-metal bowl.
    • Work this solution into the stain, using a clean white cloth, sponge, or cotton swab (depending on the size of the stain). Start at the outer edges and move toward the center. This will keep the stain from spreading larger and larger.

    Tip

    Use as little of the solution as possible to prevent over-wetting the carpet or upholstery.

    using a sponge on a stained bathroom rug
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
  3. Blot With Paper Towel and Repeat as Necessary

    Blot the stain with a white paper towel moving to a clean area as the dye is transferred from the fabric to the paper towel. Repeat as needed. You may need to leave the solution on the stain for 10 or 15 minutes before blotting, especially if the stain is older.

    blotting a bathroom rug with a paper towel
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
  4. Try Rubbing Alcohol, If Necessary

    If the stain is not budging, dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and apply it to the stained area and then blot it away with a clean white paper towel. Repeat until no more dye is transferred to the paper towel.

    using a qtip on a bathroom rug
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 
  5. Remove Traces of Dye on White Carpet

    To remove traces of hair dye on white carpet or upholstery, follow the previous steps, and then dip a cotton swab in a three percent solution of hydrogen peroxide. Blot the stained area, and let the hydrogen peroxide sit for two or three minutes.

    Using hydrogen peroxide to remove traces of dye

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

  6. Final Rinse

    When the stain is removed from the carpet or upholstery, sponge the stained area with a fresh, clean white cloth and plain cool water. Blot away the water with clean white paper towels and allow to air-dry.

    letting the bathroom rug air dry after stain removal
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

If the stain remains on the carpet orupholstery after following any of these treatments, unfortunately, the dye cannot be removed.

Additional Tips for Dye Stains

Hair dye can splatter in the most unlikely places, so what if it hits the bathroom floor, countertop, sink, or the tub? Luckily, there are ways you can get that stain out.

Catch that stain while it is still fresh, and you can simply wipe it up with a sponge that has water and liquid dishwashing soap on it, and rinse. But, if it's older, try this method: mix one tablespoon of baking soda and warm water and gently rub the paste on the stain. Leave it for one hour, and then use a damp sponge or cloth to remove the paste (and the stain).