Anyone who has dyed her hair at home knows that no matter how carefully you work, hair dye stain always manages to get on something: countertops, sinks, floors or the walls.
If you work fast to clean up the spills, hopefully you can remove them. Porous surfaces such as granite, natural stone, wood or marble require fast action to ensure the stain doesn't soak in and dry.
Marble, Stone or Granite
The best way to deal with a hair dye stain on marble is to create a paste from diatomaceous earth -- used in gardening -- with hydrogen peroxide. Wipe the area clean with a soft rag dipped with mineral or spring water. Mix the hydrogen peroxide into the diatomaceous earth, adding just enough to form a thick paste.
Apply the paste to the stain at least a 1/4 inch thick with a wooden spatula. Extend the paste beyond the stain to prevent the marble from spreading the stain outward. Cover the area with a piece of plastic sheeting, or cut a section from a plastic sandwich bag to keep the paste from drying out too quickly. Remove the dried paste with the wooden spatula. Blot the area with ammonia and repeat with the paste followed by ammonia, as necessary until the stain is gone. Rinse with clean mineral water.
Wood Floors, Cabinets or Countertops
Complete a test to find out if the stain is just on the finish or in the wood itself by applying a drop of water to the stained area. If the stain turns darker or the water soaks in, the stain has penetrated the wood. If the water beads on the surface, all you need do is lightly sand the surface -- in the direction of the grain -- to remove the stain from the finish, as it has not entered the wood. Reapply the finish, polyurethane, varnish or paste wax over the area as needed.
For unprotected wood where the finish has worn off, apply mineral spirits, acetone, nail polish remover or paint thinner to a soft cloth to blot up the stain. Continue blotting until the stain is gone. A drastic measure involves using swimming pool bleach -- sodium hypochlorite or dry calcium mixed with hot water until the crystals are in solution form. Gently apply this to the stained area and it should work immediately. This bleach solution can also remove the color from the wood, so use it cautiously or as a last resort, as you will have to apply new color and finish to the cleaned area.
For fast-acting results, and to keep the stain wet, spray it with a cheap hairspray that contains alcohol, dab a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and soak the stain, or pour a little vodka onto a clean rag and soak the spot before wiping clean. You can also apply a whitening toothpaste directly to the stain, letting it harden before wiping it off with a warm-water dampened cloth.
Fiberglass, Porcelain or Cast-Iron
A standard household cleanser or a bit of oxygen bleach mixed with water to form a paste easily removes hair dye stains from fiberglass, acrylic, porcelain or cast-iron tubs. Use a nylon scrubber, or one that won't scratch the surface to scrub the area clean of the hair-dye stain. Rinse with warm water, and repeat as necessary until the stain is gone.
Carpet or Upholstery
To remove hair dye from upholstery, mix in a small bowl 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar, 2 cups of cool water and 1 tablespoon of a liquid dish soap. Swirl the ingredients together until completely combined. Sponge the stained area with the solution until slightly soaked, leaving it sit on the stain for 30 minutes.
Every five minutes, blot the stained area with a clean cloth soaked with more of the cleaning agent. Blot with cold water until the stain is gone. If this doesn't work, create a solution of 1 tablespoon each of ammonia and liquid dish soap and repeat the same procedure, waiting 30 minutes, but blotting every five. For carpeting, exchange the cool water with 2 cups of warm water following the same method to remove the stain as with stain removal from upholstery.