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Removing hair dye stains from a rug

By Dr. Laundry August 16, 2013

Any suggestions for removing semi-permanent hair dye from a rug?


This is a pretty big challenge, rugs are harder to clean given they can’t fit in a clothes washer, and hair dye is a concentrated colorant. A good oxidant will help get the stain out, but it will likely take repeating a treatment multiple times to fully remove the stain. That means you will likely end up with a cleaner spot than the rest of the rug, so I would plan on cleaning the entire rug once you get the stain out. Also, be sure to test any product you will use on the rug to confirm that it is color safe—to do this, apply a small amount of the product to a hidden part of the rug and let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse and blot dry. No color change means you can safely use the product on the rug. Adapting what I typically recommend for dye stains on fabric, I would try the following:

1. Rent a steam cleaner to use while you are treating the stain

2. Pretreat the stain with Clorox2® Laundry Stain Remover. This is a newer spray pre-treatment that includes hydrogen peroxide in the formula. Spray the product directly onto the stain and then after a minute, blot the area with a towel. Repeat this, using a fresh part of the towel to blot the stain.

3. After 10 minutes of pretreating and blotting, use the steam cleaner to clean the stained area. This is important to extract the stain remover so it doesn’t sit on the carpet too long. An upper limit of 10 minutes of contact time for pretreating is what we recommend for pretreating fabric with the product and you’ll want to stay within that time limit.

4. Hopefully the stain will be gone, but if a little remains, then you can begin another 10 minutes of pretreating and blotting, followed by steam cleaning.

5. Clean the entire rug if the treated area is noticeably cleaner than the rest of the rug.