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 ingredients, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Don't mix bleach with any other household cleaner, including vinegar. Bleach combines with some cleaners, especially ammonia, to create harmful fumes.
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 is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.