Hair dyes can be a great way to add color and vibrancy to your hair, but things can easily get messy when you first start dying your hair at home. If you’ve accidentally dyed your wooden floor or furniture along with your hair, don’t panic–it’s not the end of the world. With only a few simple steps you can remove the dye and get your wood looking back as good as new again.
How to Remove Hair Dye from Wood: 8 Ways
Following are combinations of some great ingredients that you can use together to get rid of the dye stain and also a few products that may work on their own too. Which one you choose should depend on a few factors including the type of wooden surface, the stain’s intensity, and what you may be able to easily find. For all of these methods, make sure that you are careful and don’t end up spreading the stain on more areas. You’ll want to lay down some old dark rags or towels and be sure to wear gloves to prevent the stain from transferring onto your skin.
Baking Soda and Dishwashing Liquid
We’ll start with a gentle mixture of items that can be found in most kitchens and maybe the easiest to use without having to make a special trip to the store. Mix together about 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap in a bowl. Add enough water to make a runny paste and then apply this to the area with the hair dye stain. You’ll want to apply this using a cloth or rag soaked generously with the mixture. Let it sit for about 2 minutes, then take the soaked cloth again and rub the area thoroughly another time. Once the stain is gone, take a different clean cloth and soak it with water. Wipe the area to remove any residue and then let it air dry or use a towel to blot up any remaining moisture.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
Another combination that is often used as a great DIY cleaning agent is baking soda and vinegar. For this method, mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to make a paste. Apply this to the hair dye stain in the same way as the previous method, using a soaked cloth to rub it in. If needed, let the paste sit for a minute or 2, and then start to scrub it again using the same cloth. After the stain has been removed, wipe it off with a clean, damp cloth or towel.
Baking Soda and Detergent
Again another method involves items that you’re most likely to already have at home and can use to quickly treat a fresh wood stain. For this, you’ll mix equal parts of laundry detergent and baking soda with some water to form a runny solution. Apply this to the hair dye stain on your wood using a soaked rag or cloth. Let it sit for about 2 minutes, then scrub the area clean with the soaked cloth and wipe off any residue with a different clean and damp cloth or towel.
Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
This method is required for very difficult stains that will need some extra ingredients which you might not have on hand, but could easily buy in small amounts at a store for this purpose. Mix about 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to make a thick paste. First, check the effects of the mixture on the wood by applying a small amount to an inconspicuous area and wiping it off after a few seconds. If the wood is unaffected, then you can apply the paste to the hair dye stain. Scrub the paste into the stain using a soaked rag and quickly wipe the solution off as soon as the stain is gone. Clean up after, using a clean damp cloth.
Baking Soda and Lemon Juice
For this method, start by mixing together 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to make a paste. This mixture will instantly start to foam and you’ll want to use this as soon as it is ready. Apply the mixture to the hair dye stain with a soaked cloth or a soft brush and rub it in. After a minute or 2, the stain should be gone and you can wipe it off with a clean damp cloth.
This is a method that you’ll want to use with caution as rubbing alcohol can damage some types of wood surfaces. However, if the stain is quite small you may use it to quickly and carefully lighten the stain without much effort. Apply rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol to a cotton ball and dab it gently onto the hair dye stain You should see the color start to lighten immediately. Do not rub in circular motions or else you may end up spreading the stain. Instead just dab it gently until the stain is gone or lightened and then if needed you may use one of the milder methods, listed above, to finish the job.
Olive oil is a wonderful conditioning ingredient that can also be used to remove very fresh hair dye stains without drying out your wood’s surface. It will break down the dye which will make it easy to simply wipe off with a soft cloth or paper towel while also preventing the stain from setting in. Apply a small amount of olive oil to a cloth or cotton swab and rub it into the hair dye stain. You should see the color start to come off. Continue applying more oil and changing the sides of the cloth as needed until the stain is gone. Wipe off any excess oil with a dry soft cloth or paper towel.
There are a number of chemical cleaners that you can buy which should be effective at removing hair dye stains, but the best for this job is the product, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. This cleaner is designed in a way that it is pretty good at removing all sorts of stains and marks without being too abrasive, but you’ll still want to be cautious. Test it first by using it on a corner or inconspicuous area and see how it affects your wood. If it seems to be safe, then rub on the stained area, following along with the direction of the wood’s grain. You may use this method for medium staining, however, you may also use it before trying any of the other methods, as it may lighten the hair dye enough that the other solutions will work better.
Cleaning Finished Wood Vs Unfinished Wood
When trying to remove hair dye stains from wood, it is important to consider whether the wood is finished or unfinished. This will not only affect which methods are most effective but also which methods you should avoid as they may damage the wood’s surface.
Unfinished wood is any wood that has not had a sealant or finish applied which means that though the stain is more likely to quickly penetrate deep into the wood without any barrier resulting in a difficult cleaning process, it also means that you can attempt to remove the stain without having to worry about if the solution or cleaning brush damaging the wood’s finish.
On the other hand, finished wood is any type of wood that has had a sealant or clear coat applied which means that it will take longer for the stain to penetrate and set into the wood, thus easier to clean. However, using strong chemicals or abrasive brushes may damage this finish and make it difficult to restore the wood to its original condition.
If you are dealing with finished wood, it is best to use one of the milder methods, such as those that make use of detergent, lemon juice, or olive oil. If you are dealing with unfinished wood, then you have a bit more leeway in terms of what methods you can use, but it is always best to try less harsh methods first, and only resort to the strong ones when needed.
Why Is Hair Dye Difficult To Remove?
The level of difficulty will differ depending on the type of wood, the type of dye, and how long the hair dye has been sitting on it. The general rule is that permanent dyes will be significantly harder to remove as compared to temporary hair dyes.
How Do You Prevent Hair Dye From Sticking To Wood?
There are a few things you can do to prevent hair dye from sticking to your wooden surfaces. Firstly, opt for dying your hair in the washroom instead of doing it somewhere else in the house. Still, if you must do it in a room where your wooden floors and surfaces are, it is a good idea to put down some old towels/rags, newspaper, or plastic sheets to catch any drips or spills. Secondly, avoid contact between your hair and any wooden surfaces as much as possible by wearing a shower cap or other type of head covering while waiting for the dye to set in your hair. Finally, clean up any spots or drips as soon as possible.
Hair dye can be a tricky thing to deal with, but by being careful and taking the necessary precautions, it doesn’t have to be a difficult or frustrating process. Whether you are trying to remove hair dye stains from unfinished or finished wood, there are a variety of methods and products that can help you get the job done quickly and easily. We hope that this article has provided some helpful tips and tricks for getting rid of your hair dye stains. Good luck!
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Lawrence D. Reynolds is an experienced carpenter and woodworker who started this site to help others get into this craft by providing advice on choosing tools and materials and sharing How-To guides about woodworking. He has been into Woodworking for over 25 years and enjoys nothing more than sharing his knowledge and helping others learn about this wonderful material.