Hair dye accidents happen. No matter how careful or meticulous you are when dyeing your hair, you may look around the bathroom when you're finished and realize that you've gotten dye where you didn't want it. Unfortunately, you're somewhat limited in what you can use to get rid of dye on a wall without risking damage to the paint. Timing also matters since wet dye is much easier to remove than a dried stain.
Brace for Impact
The good news is that many who have gone before you have managed to successfully remove hair dye stains from walls. The bad news is that some have failed. Before you decide to try dyeing your hair at home, make sure you're ready to commit. If you can't get the stain off, you may need to repaint the wall or fess up to your landlord. Hopefully, it won't come to this but realize that it could.
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Be aware that not all hair dyes are identical or use the exact same formulas. You may need to try several different stain removers until you find the one that does the trick. If you switch dye brands, your trusted stain remover may not work on a new stain. This doesn't mean you're doomed; it just means you need to keep trying.
Removing Wet Dye
Ideally, you will realize that you've smeared dye on the wall while the dye is still wet. If so, grab some liquid dish soap and spread it generously onto the dye. You can then clean the area with a sponge before rinsing away the soap. You can try blotting the area to avoid spreading the dye, but sometimes, you just have to scrub for this method to work. It can take a little while to work, so don't give up too quickly.
Soap and water are your best option when the dye is wet but don't expect it to work on dried stains. If soap was effective at removing dried and set-in dye, your hair color would come out the first time you shampoo your hair.
Dealing With Dried Dye Stains
If your hair dye has already dried on the wall, there are a number of options you can try. One is to mix together white vinegar and baking soda to make a foaming paste. Spread the paste over the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. You can then scrub the stain with an old toothbrush before rinsing the wall with warm water.
You can also try adding some hydrogen peroxide to a damp rag and then blotting the stain with it. Melamine sponges sometimes remove hair dye stains, as can bleach. Tread carefully if you're trying bleach, however, as this can damage the paint. If you use bleach, dilute it in water at a 3-1 ratio. A 50-50 solution of water and vinegar might help too.
Before trying any of these chemicals on the stain, test the chemical in a discrete area first. It's bad enough that you have hair dye to deal with. Don't use a chemical that will damage the paint and add to your woes.
Cleansers to Avoid
There are some cleaners that you should never apply to a painted wall. Straight, undiluted bleach is highly likely to damage the paint on your wall, as is rubbing alcohol. Nail polish remover can also remove paint and isn't recommended for cleaning any painted surfaces.
Having said that, all of these substances can do a terrific job of removing hair dye stains. If you aren't having any luck with safer cleansers, you can try them. Just make absolutely certain that you test them in a hidden area first and prepare for the possibility of unexpected results. On one hand, you don't want to damage the paint and have another problem to deal with. On the other, you may find yourself tempted to take a risk if you're already faced with having to repaint the wall.
No matter what you use to try to remove the hair dye stain, never mix cleaning chemicals together. Doing so can create deadly gases or can make you sick. Ammonia and bleach are particularly dangerous together and often lethal.