How to Get Hair Dye Out of Carpet (Fast and Easy)

Last Update:

We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. Learn more

get hair dye out of carpet

If you’ve ever tried to dye your hair without putting plenty of newspaper underneath your work space, you’ve likely experienced the horror of spilling hair dye on your or someone else’s expensive carpet.

Hair dye can be difficult to get out, especially because in most cases it’s intended to be permanent.

Permanent coloring usually ends up bonding quickly to the carpet.

The faster you get started with stain cleanup, the easier it comes out.

You don’t have to use commercial cleaners for hair dye; you can use some products that you likely already have in your cabinet or pantry.

Key Takeaways:

Blot up the hair dye with paper towels or a cloth. Light hair dye stains are then easy to remove with a small amount of dish soap, some white vinegar, and water. For stubborn stains, consider using alcohol or ammonia – with gloves – and once dry. Never mix chemicals (and avoid this scenario in future by carefully toweling around the area).

Advice from the Expert: From personal experience, it’s best to tackle a hair dye stain immediately. The longer it sits, the harder it will be to remove. So I always suggest to react quickly when you notice a spill. Reach for those paper towels and start blotting right away.

Here´s how you get hair dye out of a carpet:

Remove Excess Liquid

clean cloth to blot up the hair dye

First, you need to use a clean cloth to blot up the hair dye as much as possible.

This cloth isn’t going to be used again, so you may be able to get away with using absorbent paper towels.

Remember to only blot the stain.

If you try to scrub, all you’re doing is making the dye stain spread further and working it deeper into the carpet. Just blot.

You may need to do this with a different paper towel several times, depending how much dye you spilled. Get as much as possible.

BISSELL SpotClean Pet Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner, 2458
Best Portable Choice for Cleaning Carpet:
  • Powerful suction and cleans tough stains
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Versatile: cleans carpets, upholstery and auto interiors
  • Featured by Household Advice as Best Buy of 2023

Create Cleaning Solution

Your first line of cleaning solution will consist of dish soap, white vinegar, and water.

Dish soap is an obvious cleaner, and the benefits of vinegar rinse for removing old hair dye are well-known. It works well on carpets.

Anyway, you need two cups of water and a tablespoon each of white vinegar and dish detergent. Mix well.

Pour this cleaning solution onto the dye stain and gently work it in with a sponge or a clean cloth, taking intervals to dab at the stain with a dry cloth and absorb some of the liquid.

You should see the stain gradually begin to lighten.

Clean with Alcohol

Pour a tablespoon of isopropyl alcohol onto the stain and work it in. As with the dishwashing solution, blot it up with a paper towel.

This step should absorb most of the remaining hair dye. Afterward, you should put cold water on the carpet.

This is one method to get rid of a pesky dye stain on your carpet.

For Stubborn Stains

Most of the time, the previous actions should get rid of most of your problems.

If you have an old hair dye stain or a large one, it may be a little more challenging. Here is how to get hair dye out of carpet when it is an old or large stain: ammonia.

Advice from the Expert: As someone who’s dealt with stubborn stains more times than I can count, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of patience. Too often, people scrub the stain rigorously, hoping to see it vanish immediately. But this can actually push the dye deeper into the carpet fibers. Gentle, consistent treatment is the key – patience always pays off.

Ammonia is a common chemical in most households, but if you don’t have any you can find it at any home supply store or supermarket.

Once you have your ammonia, create a solution of similar concentration to the one you made before. The only difference is that you’re using ammonia as an ingredient instead of vinegar.  

Follow the same steps as you would have before until you don’t see the stain anymore.

If vinegar and subsequently ammonia don’t get rid of the stain, you may have to try commercial products. Just make sure your carpet is entirely free of one chemical before going to the next step.

You don’t want to mix chemicals unless you know what you’re doing.

Want Quotes for Carpet Cleaning?

Connect with Local Pros


Colorfast Carpet

checking if carpet is colorfast

Before using any kind of cleaning solution on your carpet, you need to know if your carpet is colorfast. That is, can the fibers stand up to cleaning without losing color?

To find out, make your cleaning solution of choice and go to a far corner of the room. Drip a little of it onto the carpet and allow a couple of seconds for the cleaner to work.

Then, blot it up with a paper towel. If you see bleaching, don’t use this cleaner.

Commercial Hair Dye Removers

We found a few hair dye removers that might do the trick. Just follow the instructions on the container before use.

Here are the dye removers:

  • Remove It! Paint, Oil, Dye, and Pen Remover
  • Redken Color Stain Remover
  • Motzenbocker’s Lift-off Stain Remover


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, Hair dying is a messy business, but it doesn’t always have to be.

Before you open your bottle or box of hair dye, place plenty of paper towels, newspapers, or absorbent towels around your work area. Small bits of dye can go pretty much everywhere without you realizing it.

Advice from the Expert: While the guide mentioned testing the cleaning solution on a hidden part of the carpet, I want to stress how crucial this step is. I once skipped this step, used a strong commercial remover, and ended up discoloring a whole patch of my carpet. So, always remember to test before proceeding with any cleaning solution.

Getting Hair Dye Out of Carpet – Final Thoughts

Being quick is very important in completely cleaning the hair dye permanently from the carpet. Also remember to quickly remove the excess liquid with a cloth. 

If you are fast, and use the techniques above, you should be able to keep your carpets clean at all times.

Prevention is key, but having a carpet cleaner machine at your home will help you quickly get rid of any messes before they set in. We created a top list to help you choose here.

You’re probably better off double-layering the protection. Also, avoid opening the bottle or working near the carpet.

It’s better to work with hair dye near a hard surface like a sink bowl, which is far easier to wipe up than cleaning a stain on the carpet.

BISSELL SpotClean Pet Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner, 2458
Best Portable Choice for Cleaning Carpet:
  • Powerful suction and cleans tough stains
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Versatile: cleans carpets, upholstery and auto interiors
  • Featured by Household Advice as Best Buy of 2023

Photo of author


Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

Leave a Comment

4 × three =