How to remove hair dye stains

Not sure how to remove hair dye from carpet or get hair dye out of your clothes? Our handy guide has all the tips and tricks you need to get the job done.

Updated 16 May 2023


AuthorBy Cleanipedia Team

Reading Time5 minutes

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Key Steps:

  • Avoid rubbing hair dye stains further into the fabric or carpet

  • Apply liquid detergent like Persil to the stain as soon as possible

  • Always wash according to the fabric care label or instruction

Thinking of dyeing your hair? It might be more convenient than going to the hairdressers, but dyeing your hair at home can prove to be a messy business if you’re not careful!

Accidents are inevitable, but whether you want to know how to remove hair dye stain from carpet and upholstery or how to get rid of a tell-tale mark on your favourite jumper – we’ve got all the hair dye stain removal tips you need.

Read on to find out how to turn a hair disaster into a near miss.

Use petroleum jelly on your hairline to stop hair dye from staining your skin. Don’t forget to put an old towel around your shoulders to protect clothes, too!

How to Remove Hair Dye from Carpet and Upholstery

A dark-brown hair dye stain on a cream carpet or sofa cushion doesn’t have to be permanent – follow these simple steps to help remove it.

  • First, don’t panic. You might be tempted to grab the nearest towel and rub vigorously, but this will only spread the stain and make it worse. Instead, gently blot with a cloth to soak up any surface liquid.

How to remove hair dye stains
  • Next, dilute some washing up liquid in lukewarm water and soak a clean cloth in the solution. Use this to dab the stain, before leaving it to soak in for a few minutes, then blot with a dry cloth.

  • If the stain is still there, repeat the previous step, this time with a solution of diluted white vinegar or isopropyl alcohol (also known as rubbing alcohol). Isopropyl alcohol can affect the colour of your carpet, so be sure to test on a hidden part before use.

  • Finally, rinse with water and leave to dry.

How to Remove Hair Dye from Clothes

When you’re mid-dye, merely scratching your nose can result in stains transferring to your clothes. But don’t worry! Follow these steps for straightforward hair dye stain removal:

How to remove hair dye stains
  • Before dyeing your hair, wrap an old towel around your shoulders and place sheets on nearby surfaces. Don’t forget to put on the plastic gloves that come in the box, too!

  • As soon as you spot a stain on fabric, apply a liquid laundry detergent like Persil directly to the affected area with a damp cloth. Gently work the detergent into the stain and rinse thoroughly with cold water.

  • Wash the item in the washing machine (according to the care label instructions).

  • If the stain is still visible after the wash, soak the clothes overnight in a bucket of warm water and diluted laundry detergent or oxygen bleach.

Don’t forget: Read the clothing care label before use and wash according to the instructions.

How to Remove Hair Dye from Skin

Always be careful treating the area around your eyes and consult a health care professional first if you have any doubts about using any of these solutions to remove hair dye from your skin. If you experience any discomfort during the process, it is important to consult a health care professional as soon as possible.

1. Lightning speed reaction time

If you’ve already got dye on your skin and you’re now using the Internet to find out how to get it off, you’re already too late for the most effective of our solutions. If you use warm water and a cotton wool ball to wipe the dye off as soon as it touches your skin, there’s a very good chance it won’t have had time to sink in. Most dyes take a few minutes to activate, so the best idea is to remove the dye before it has time to change the colour of your skin.

2. Rub in olive oil, baby oil, oil-based moisturiser, or petroleum jelly like Vaseline

Depending on the nature of the dye, oil-based products may work to break down the dye’s active ingredients and free the colour from your skin. Use a cotton wool ball or pad to gently rub the area for a few minutes, then, rinse with warm water. If a first application doesn’t seem to work, you could reapply and let the oil soak in for a period of time, before trying to wipe it off again. Or go for one of the alternatives

3. Baking soda and hand-soap or toothpaste containing baking soda

Both of these substances are mildly abrasive, just like a face scrub, which could also be a good alternative! Be careful using this method on sensitive skin. If the area becomes red or feels uncomfortable, discontinue and try one of the alternative methods below.

4. Nail varnish remover containing acetate

You should only really use this method on your hands or other areas of the body – nail varnish remover is too abrasive to use on the delicate skin of the face. It is also important not to use this if you have sensitive skin. Avoid contact with eyes and consult a health care professional in the case of an accident. Test on a small area first, and then apply and rub into the area with a cotton ball. Rinse with warm water to remove excess solution.

5. Commercial hair dye remover

Unsurprisingly, hair studios are often equipped for this type of emergency! You can buy specially formulated products for removing hair dye from some hair salons and pharmacies. Follow the instructions on the bottle.

With these tips, knowing how to remove hair dye needn’t be a mystery anymore. Next time you’re giving your hair a new colour, make sure you preserve your clothes and carpets with our tips.

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