I dyed my hair for the first time at just 12 years of age and so for over a decade I have inadvertently been getting hair dye on many things that aren’t my head. As a result, I have become quite the expert at removing hair dye stains off of painted surfaces, linoleum flooring, the bath tub and much more besides.
If you are also a hair color-chameleon or plan to dye your own hair at home someday, you should take note of the following advice – even the most careful of colorists make mistakes on occasion!
Attend to Stains Quickly
The greater the amount of time you leave before attempting to remove a hair dye stain; the less successful that you are likely to be. Ideally, you should try to remove stains the very second that you notice them.
Removal Methods Not Suitable for All Surfaces
It should be noted that different surfaces will react differently to any cleaning/household products that are applied to them. Household bleach for example should not be used on household carpets for the chemicals will porous materials of their color. Always be sure to test a small, inconspicuous area if you are unsure.
The acidic PH of white vinegar means that it has long been used for various cleaning tasks in the home. If you get to a stain quickly enough, wiping the affected area with a cloth soaked in neat white vinegar might remove the unsightly mark. If this fails, sometimes leaving the saturated cloth on the stain for an hour will work, though if you have any of the other products listed below you might be better off giving them a go.
I have found the vinegar method to be effective for hair dye stains on wooden and linoleum flooring (but only when targeted really quickly!), baths and on painted surfaces such as windowsills.
Bottled acetone – and products that contain the chemical acetone such as nail varnish remover and hairspray – can also be useful for stain removal. Like white vinegar, acetone is useful for eliminating dye stains on painted surfaces. Acetone (and products containing such) should be applied to a cloth and then lightly rubbed over the discolored area as opposed to direct application to the surface in question.
It should be noted that acetone can sometimes damage the top coat of linoleum.
Ah household bleach; is there a more effective cleaning product? I am sure that I am not the only one who has ever been unfortunate enough to accidentally spill bleach on my clothing though, ruining the garment forever. When it comes to stains however, the extracting of color is exactly what is desired meaning bleach is often ideal! I use neat bleach on long-term stains and I also keep a spray bottle of three-parts-bleach-to-two-parts-water solution next to my shower. I spray the cubical and tile surround with this after every one of my showers which see a small amount of my semi-permanent hair color wash out.
Be careful using bleach (neat or diluted) on/near any painted or porcelain surfaces that are not white however, for household bleach has the potential to strip color from them.
I felt like genius when I thought up this method; if hair bleach had stripped my hair completely of the bright green, blue and purple colors that my brunet has been dyed over the years then why would the formula not be equally effective on my stained flooring and bathroom cabinets? Following the manufacturer’s instructions, mix up the dye and then spread the paste over the stain and leave it to develop for up to an hour and then remove and rinse off.
I have only ever used hydrogen peroxide for stain removal as part of a hair bleach-mixture though I am sure that neat hydrogen peroxide would be equally – if not more – effective.
Purpose Use Products
Aside from these home remedies, many shops also sell products which have been specifically designed to remove stains. The most effective ones of these that I have used to date are the Mr Clean Magic Erasers. These are made from melamine foam which – thanks to its molecular structure – is much harder than regularly foam but still soft enough to scrub surfaces with.
I managed to lift a very stubborn collection of marks off of my lino floor using this product. I have also used this product to remove bright pink hair dye from the grout of my shower.