How to Remove Hair Dye Stains on a Wall

Dyeing your hair can be a messy procedure, and even if you try to avoid them, spots on surrounding surfaces are a frequent byproduct. Hair dye contains a plethora of , including alkalizers, soaps, modifiers and ammonia, as well as the dyes themselves, so removing a dye isn't always a straightforward process. You need a solvent that can neutralize or dissolve the dye while leaving the wall finish unharmed, and it usually isn't that difficult to find one.

Solvent Possibilities

The best time to remove dye stains is when they are still wet, and you may be able to do that with soap and water. If the stain is dry, though, it's doubtful that soap will work; if it did, the dye would come out of your hair the first time you wash it.

  • When woodworkers have to remove dye stains from wood, they use a strong chlorine bleach solution. A bleach solution strong enough for wood would probably hurt your wall finish and be dangerous to use, but you don't need one. Household chlorine bleach -- or a cleaner containing bleach -- should be strong enough for the job.
  • If bleach doesn't work, rubbing or denatured alcohol might, since many hair dye products contain alcohol as a solvent.
  • Acetone or acetone-based nail polish remover is a third possibility.
  • Vinegar is a fourth option that cleaners often recommend for removing dye stains from fabrics. It might work on your walls, too.

Removal Procedure

Step 1

Pour some chlorine bleach into a spray bottle and add an equal amount of water. Put on some rubber gloves and spray the dye spot. Let the bleach stand for about 10 seconds; then wipe it off. It works by neutralizing the dye color, not by dissolving it, and if it's effective, the stain should be gone.

Step 2

Mix a 1-to-1 solution of vinegar and water in a separate spray bottle and spray any stain that remains after the bleach treatment. Wipe off the spot with a rag.

Step 3

Moisten a rag with rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol or acetone and rub off the dye spot. Because these solvents may damage the wall finish, it's best to keep them as a last resort. Be sure to test each one before using it, especially acetone.

Chris Deziel

Chris Deziel

Chris Deziel has a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in humanities. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. As a landscape builder, he helped establish two gardening companies.