How to Remove Dyes From Carpet?

removing dye stains from carpet

The only thought of scrubbing and removing the stains of accidentally spilled Kool-Aid, grape juice, or fabric dye on your light-colored carpet seems challenging.

However, worry not; there are a few simple steps and tips that can help get rid of those stubborn dye stains to make your carpet look good once again.

In this detailed article, I will show you how to identify different types of dye stains along with a few extra tricks to remove them depending on your carpeting type.

So, if you’re ready to remove that dye stain once and for all without damaging your expensive carpet, let’s get started.

Types of Dye Stains on the Carpet

Identifying the type of dye that has stained your carpet is essential before attempting to remove the stain.

The two most common dye stains on the carpet are water-based and oil-based. Water-based dyes, like those found in fruit juices, red wine, and Kool-Aid, will have more of a crystal clear color to them. Oil-based dyes, such as fabric and hair dyes, often have a slightly thicker consistency and are usually darker in color.

If the dye that stained your carpet is old and already dried, most likely, you can tell the type by its unique color. A few most common dyes and colorings include:

  • Pen Ink – usually a dark blue or black color.
  • Rit Dye – typically used for fabric dying and can be any color.
  • Tie-dye – is usually brightly colored and can be a mix of different colors.
  • Hair Dye – usually a dark color, such as black or brown.
  • Grape juice – can be a deep purple or red color.
  • Coffee – usually a dark brown or black color.
  • Tea – can be identified by its light brown or reddish-brown color.
  • Kool-Aid – can leave a variety of shades on the carpet, like green, orange, etc., depending on the flavor.

Once you figure out the type of dye, you can proceed with the appropriate removal method.

Removing Water-based Dyes from Carpet

Since water-based dyes are from natural sources (like fruits and vegetables), removing them is more straightforward than other types by using simple cleaning solutions and household items.

  1. Mix one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with two cups of warm water.
  2. Dip a clean white cloth into the solution and then blot the stain.
  3. Continue blotting until the dye is transferred onto the cloth.
  4. After a few minutes, rinse the area with clean water and then blot it dry with a towel.
getting tie dye out of carpet

Removing Oil-based Dye Stains from Your Carpet

If the dye is oil-based and has already dried, you must use a special carpet-cleaning solvent (like OxiClean or Bissell Deep Clean Pro) to remove the stubborn stain.

  1. Apply a small amount of solvent to a clean white cloth.
  2. Blot the stain with the cloth until the dye is transferred to it.
  3. Rinse the region with clean water and pat it dry with a towel.
  4. If the mess is still visible, mix dishwashing soap and ammonia (1 tbsp. each) in 2 cups of warm water.
  5. Sponge the stain with this ammonia solution and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  6. Blot the area dry every four to five minutes. If required, add more solution with a sponge every five minutes.
  7. Finally, blot dry with a clean, soft cloth or towel drenched in boiling water.

If you do not want to use ammonia, you can alternatively use one part vinegar to four parts water to make a solution. Soak the affected area for 30 minutes and then rinse it.

Never use bleach and ammonia together; it can generate dangerous fumes that can be hazardous if inhaled. Selective bleaching agents such as Hydrogen peroxide should also not be used on colorful carpets (you can use them on white rugs if you want).

Also, if dealing with oil-based paint on the carpet, there are specific steps to follow that I’ve outlined in my other article here. Be sure to refer to it for guidance.

What to Do if All the Dye Stain Removal Methods Fail?

I know that’s very unfortunate, but sometimes, no matter what you do, the carpet dye stain doesn’t go away.

If that’s the case, you can cut the stain out of the carpet and try replacing the hole with a remnant from an inconspicuous carpet area in your house, such as under furniture or in your closet. You can also get nearly a similar pattern from a nearby flooring specialist.

Use carpet tape to secure the remnant, and trim it to look even with the rest of your carpet. This won’t be perfect, but it will be much better than a big ugly stain in the middle of your carpet.

Tips for Keeping Your Carpets Stain-Free in the Future

Although carpet dye stains can be challenging to remove, you can keep your carpet looking spotless and beautiful with the right approach and some precautions.

Here are some preventive measures to follow:

  • Use rugs or mats at all entryways to prevent dirt and grit from being tracked onto the carpet.
  • Use furniture coasters or pads to prevent furniture from marking or staining the carpet.
  • Be careful while using any dye near your carpets.
  • Keep your carpets clean and free of dirt and spills. If any spills occur, try to clean them up immediately.


What is Carpet Dye?

Carpet dye is a kind of dye used to modify or restore the color of faded carpets. It can repair damage or alter a carpet’s style.

Additionally, if there are mismatched sections of carpet in a room, using the right carpet dye can even out the overall appearance. However, the dyeing process can be messy, particularly for those attempting it themselves.

Are All Types of Carpet Dyes Permanent?

Most carpet dyes are not permanent but can last for an extended period. The longevity of the dye (its brightness and vibrancy) will depend on how often the carpet is walked on, exposed to light, and cleaned. While some dyes are more resilient, eventually, all dyes will fade over time.

Basically, there are three main types of dyes used for coloring carpets:

1. Acid dyes are used to dye wool or silk and are also found in some laundry detergents. Acid dyes are the strongest of all carpet dyes and can be difficult to remove.

2. Basic dyes are specifically used to dye polyester or nylon and are also found in some fabric dyes. Basic dyes are not as strong as acid dyes but can still be challenging to remove.

3. Direct or Pigment dyes are the weakest of all carpet dyes and can be removed with a simple cleaning solution.

How Do You Remove Carpet Dye Stains if it Gets Spilled Over?

If you accidentally spill it on a rug or overdye your carpet, it’s crucial to act quickly before the stains set in and become challenging to remove.

To eliminate weaker carpet dyes like oVertone pigmented conditioners, first, blot the dye using a clean white cloth. Next, mix one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with two cups of warm water, and dip another white cloth in the solution. After that, blot the stain with the damp cloth until the dye is transferred to it. Finally, rinse the affected area with clean water and dry it by blotting it with a towel.

If the dried dye is stronger it’s recommended to use more specialized products, such as vinegar or carpet dye removers, available in most hardware or home stores. After removing the stain, you may use a felt-tip pen that matches the flooring color to draw over and cover the spot, if any.

The Bottom Line

Removing carpet dye stains can be challenging, but there are effective commercial carpet cleaners and color removers that can help. Be sure to follow the directions on the package before using it.

And to avoid any damage or discoloration to the carpet, it’s recommended to test the method on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire stain.

If you still face challenges removing dried dye stains, hire a professional carpet cleaning service with the knowledge and equipment to remove even the most stubborn stains.

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