Image of person with red dye on palms of hands

How to remove hair dye stains from everything.

Last Updated: August 12, 2021

Whether you’re a box dye veteran or you bought a bottle of blue on a whim, slay the stains with our guide on how to remove hair dye from literally everything.

The struggle to remove splotches of goopy dye from the bathroom tile and off your skin is enough to make any at-home colorist want to pull out their freshly-dyed locks.

But don’t worry, we’ve got solutions to help you keep your hair on point without sacrificing your clothes, carpet, or tile.

Mrs. Meyers cleaning products and Grove Co. cleaning caddy

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How to remove hair dye stains

Hair dye is one of the toughest stains to remove from clothes, carpets, sinks, and countertops. But all hope is not lost!

No matter what surface your hair dye glommed its way onto, try to treat the stain as soon as you see it. The longer it sits, the harder it’ll be to remove later on.

Inevitably stains aren’t always cleaned up right away though, so this comprehensive guide will show you how to remove dye from the bathtub, your pillowcase, and other miscellaneous places.


Check the care label before you clean

Before you clean any type of fabric, check the care label. Some fabrics have specific instructions on which chemicals not to use.

Learn how to read care labels and decipher washing symbols with this guide.

How to get hair dye out of clothes and sheets

Don’t wash your fabrics before treating the stain — once a stained garment has been washed and dried, it’s almost impossible to remove the dye.

Before you wash:

  1. Carefully scrape off any excess hair dye with a dull knife.
  2. Cover the stain in liquid laundry detergent or a stain removal pre-treatment, and then scrub the area with a microfiber cloth or soft-bristle brush, like a toothbrush. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Fill your sink or a large bowl with cool water and add a color-safe non-chlorine bleach, according to package directions. Soak your sheets or clothes for at least eight hours or overnight.
  4. Repeat steps two and three as necessary until the stain has completely disappeared.


How to use stain remover

Lead Grove Guide Angela Bell says: “I like to keep a good, enzyme-based stain remover on hand to spot clean clothing. This allows me to embrace my mess-prone life yet still look fresh without washing the entire garment. Just spray onto the stain, allow to sit for a few, and blot clean with a wet cloth.”

Learn more from Grove writer, Carly Reynolds, about how Grove Co.’s Stain Remover Spray held up to a family of 5.

Cleaning up hair dye stains from upholstery and carpet

  1. Carefully scrape off any excess hair dye with a butter knife.
  2. Mix 1 tablespoon of dish soap and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with 2 cups of warm water.
  3. Dip a microfiber cloth in the solution, dab the stain, and blot with a dry cloth until the stain has dissolved.
  4. To rinse, dab the area with cool water and let dry.
  5. If the stain remains, mix 1 teaspoon of dish soap and 3 tablespoons of vinegar with 1 cup of warm water, then blot the stain with the mixture.
  6. Let sit for 30 minutes, and blot every five minutes with more of the solution. Dab with cold water, and let dry.

Cleaning up hair dye stains from bathroom surfaces

These methods work for porcelain enamel, fiberglass, acrylic, and cast iron bathroom appliances.<.p>

  1. If the hair dye is still fresh, apply a generous glob of dish soap to the stain and scrub it with a sponge — don’t be afraid to apply a lil’ elbow grease.
  2. Rinse with water.

For stubborn stains in the tub or sink, move on to the next steps.

  1. Fill your bathtub or sink with hot water, and add four to five denture cleaner tablets for your bathtub or one for the sink.
  2. Let the solution sit overnight, then drain and wipe clean in the morning.

Stains still hanging around?

  1. Make a paste from 1/2 cup of Borax and 1 cup of room-temperature water. Scrub the stains clean with a scrub brush.
  2. As a last resort, spray the stain with 1/4 cup non-chlorine bleach mixed with water in a 1-quart spray bottle. Allow the bleach to sit on the stain until it dissolves, then scrub it clean with a sponge or microfiber cloth.

Cleaning hair dye stains on your skin

A thick line of hair dye staining your forehead and neck is a rite of passage for DIY dyers, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it for days until it fades.

Use these tips to get those sordid stains off your skin.

  • Apply soap to the stains and scrub gently with a washcloth. Soap won’t fully eradicate the stains on your skin, but it’ll jump start the removal process.


One of our favorite multipurpose soaps is the one and only Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soapread about the time Grove writer Mackenzie tried (almost) all 18 uses.

  • Rub a glob of petroleum jelly on your stained skin and swipe it off with a cotton ball. This is best used as a preventative measure before you dye, but it does a great job after you’ve colored your hair, too.

Can you remove hair dye from hair?

Your hair is the one place you (hopefully) meant to get hair dye. But what happens when you decide that the green dye you bought makes you look more like a sea witch than an ethereal elf queen?

Watch the video below for a killer demo on slaying unwanted hair color.

Image of Fresh Monster Hair Coloring Chalk box and chalk


Let your kids express their style with temporary hair coloring chalk!

Do your kids want in on the fun, too? Let ‘em show their true colors with Fresh Monster’s safe and non-toxic hair coloring chalk.

4 hot tips to avoid hair dye stains

The best way to remove hair dye stains is to avoid them in the first place.

We’ve got some sage advice for hair dye enthusiasts to stop stains before they get out of hand.

Washing machine illustration

1. Sacrifice a shirt

If you dye your hair on the regular, designate a raggedy button-up shirt to take one for the team.

Always wash your hair dye shirt separately, lest any wet stains transfer to your other clothes.

Napkin illustration

2. Lay out a towel

Lay a towel under your feet before you start dying your hair to stop splatters from staining your tile.

If you’ve got a couple crusty towels to spare, cover your sink and countertop with a second towel in lieu of leaving your surfaces unguarded.

Illustration of 3 water droplets

3. Use petroleum jelly

Slather your hairline, ears, and neck in petroleum jelly or coconut oil to prevent hair dye from staining your skin.

Be careful not to apply them directly on your hair, or the dye won’t penetrate the hair shaft.

4. Wear a processing cap

Keep the dye on your head and off the furniture with a plastic processing cap.

These are super cheap at the drugstore, but if you’re in the middle of a midnight dye job and can’t run to the shop, a plastic grocery bag or roll of cellophane will do the trick.

Follow Emma Roberts' lead — Go plastic-free with natural products from Grove

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