Easy Guide to Banishing Hair Dye Stains from Pillows and Pillowcases

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We’ve all been there! You’re excited to switch up your hair color and go for something bold and daring. So you whip out the dye and get to work.

You’re happy with the results, but your happiness is short-lived because, much to your horror, the hair dye has stealthily bled into your pillowcase and pillow over the days! Now both bear strange splotches and look like a crime scene!

Don’t panic – there’s no need to say goodbye to your favorite bedding just yet. Here’s how to remove hair dye stains from pillows and pillowcases with minimal effort and maximum results.

Working time: 30-60 minutes

Total time: 8 – 24 hours

Estimated cost: $30 – $100 or up

Skills needed: The ability to follow instructions (and maybe play the sleuth a bit to identify the type of hair dye you used)

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Step 1: Identify the Enemy

First things first – you’ll need to figure out what kind of hair dye you used. Each color has different ingredients that can cause varying levels of staining. Needless to say, the technique to get hair dye stains out of pillows and pillowcases would be different for each.

These dyes include varying couplers in varying concentrations to achieve the right shade. For instance, black or brown hair dyes will have a different composition than blue hair dyes, which will again be different in composition from red, green, or purple hair dyes. Then again, a neon green will be different from a parrot green; an electrifying blue will be different from an azure blue, and so on.

Also, hair colors may be temporary, semi-permanent, or even permanent. If you’re using a temporary dye that washes out after a few shampoos, you might be able to get rid of the stain in a single wash. But if you’ve gone for a semi-permanent or permanent color, you might have to put in a bit more elbow grease.

Whatever be the case, it is important to first study the dye you used so you can remove those pesky stains effectively. Read the information on the hair dye bottles and tubes if you still have them or call up the salon you visited.

Stressed already? Here’s a bit of a relief: even if it’s the most stubborn stain, you probably already have most of the materials and tools required to remove it in your house. Now all you need to do is move on to Step 2.

Step 2: Read the Labels

Even if the stain is on the cover of your pillow, you must make sure it’s washable at least by hand. Remember, you don’t want to ruin the fabric or fill material in the process. Similarly, the fabric of your pillowcase will determine if you can wash it at home or would require professional help.

Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. If the pillow or the pillowcase has been labeled as ‘dry-clean only,’ you must not dip it in water or toss it in the washing machine. You should not attempt to remove the stain on it using a DIY dry cleaning kit either.

This is about removing hair dye stains, not food stains that are easy to get rid of. So, we’d recommend you call up the professionals instead of trying to be the lone ranger. Once you have this sorted, we can move to Step 3.

Step 3: Gather Your Tools

If the cleaning instructions say you can wash and bleach your pillow or pillowcase, these are the equipment and materials you’ll need based on the type and color of the hair dye:

For Black, Brown, Blue, and Green Dye

  • Brush with soft bristles
  • Soaking sink or containers
  • Measuring cup
  • Baking soda
  • Liquid dishwashing soap
  • Industrial-grade laundry detergent
  • Oxygen bleach
  • Cold water
  • Sponge
  • Rubbing alcohol (Optional)
  • Chlorine bleach (Optional)
  • Cotton swab (Optional)

For Yellow, Red, Pink, and Purple Dye

  • Brush with soft bristles
  • A pair of soaking containers
  • Measuring cup
  • Baking soda
  • Liquid dishwashing soap
  • Ammonia
  • White vinegar
  • Oxygen bleach
  • Cold water
  • Sponge
  • Rubbing alcohol (Optional)
  • Cotton swab (Optional)

Once you are equipped, we can move on to the main process – Step 4.

Step 4: Take Action

Pillows and Pillowcases Stained with Black, Brown, Blue, or Green Hair Dye

For such stains, you need to act fast. We know the advice comes quite late in this guide, but the sooner you tackle the stain, the easier it will be to remove.

So as soon as you notice the dye on your pillow or pillowcase, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on it. This will help absorb the dye that is on the surface and hasn’t yet bled into the fabric.

However, keep in mind that this technique will work only on fresh stains. For old stains, you must use white vinegar first. Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar, and dip the pillow and pillowcase into the solution.

White vinegar helps break down the dye, thus separating it from the fibers of the fabric. An effective alternative is rubbing alcohol, which works in a similar manner on dye stains. After this, you need to use liquid dishwashing soap and dab the treated patches with a sponge or cotton swab.

Word of caution: Do not scrub. You will end up pushing the dye particles deeper into the fabric and worsening the stain.

Blotting the liquid dishwashing soap on top will keep the dye from seeping into the fabric and keep it lifted. Now, with a soft-bristled brush, rub the liquid soap gently in a circular motion on the fabric. Using the same brush, treat the stained patches with an industrial-grade laundry detergent that contains stain-removal enzymes.

Next, fill a soaking sink with cold water. Using a measuring cup, add about half a cup of oxygen bleach to it (or as instructed). Soak the pillow and pillowcase in the solution and let them rest overnight.

Check in the morning. If the stain is gone, rinse the pillow and pillowcase with fresh cold water. While rinsing, make sure to remove all of the scrubbing residues. If the stain is still visible, repeat the process all over again until it’s gone. And voila! Your pillow and pillowcase should be good as new, free of those awful hair dye stains.

For white fabric, you can replace oxygen bleach with chlorine bleach. To bleach the fabric with chlorine, mix one part of water with one-fourth part of the bleach and soak for 15 minutes. Rinse with clean cold water and repeat if required.

Please note that chlorine bleach tends to weaken fabric so don’t soak your pillows and pillowcases for more than 15 minutes.

Pillows and Pillowcases Stained with Yellow, Red, Pink, or Purple Hair Dye

Hair dyes of the colors yellow, red, pink, and purple have a different composition. Their resulting stains on pillows and pillowcases require a slightly different technique for removal.

If the stain is fresh, the first step, of course, would be to sprinkle baking soda to absorb the dye and not let it seep into the fabric. For older stains, white vinegar or rubbing alcohol is your best bet. Hereafter, the process is a tad different.

Once you’re done with the initial steps, mix a solution of around one liter of water with half a teaspoon of chlorine-free liquid dishwashing soap and one tablespoon of ammonia in a soaking container. Soak the stained parts of your pillow and pillowcase in this solution for roughly 15 minutes.

A word of caution: never mix ammonia with a soap solution that contains chlorine. Doing so will produce a toxic gas, which you don’t want to inhale.

Once you are done soaking, remove the pillow and pillowcase from the solution and dab a generous amount of liquid dishwashing soap to the stained patches using a sponge or cotton swab. Using a soft-bristled brush, scrub the areas in a circular motion to loosen the dye on the fabric.

Soak the pillow and pillowcase once again in the solution and leave them for another 15 minutes. After that, take them out and rinse them with cold water. Now, in a separate container, mix one liter of water with one-fourth cup of white vinegar. Soak them again and let them rest for another 30 minutes.

Rinse them again with cold water and launder them as you usually do. If the stains persist, fill in the container with cold water and add about half a cup of oxygen-based bleach using a measuring cup. Soak the pillow and pillowcase overnight and wash the solution off in the morning. Repeat the step until all the stains are gone.

Step 5: Be Patient

It may take several rounds of treatment to fully remove the stain, but don’t give up! With a bit of elbow grease, you’ll have your pillows and pillowcases looking good as new in no time.

Step 6: Celebrate your Victory

Give yourself a pat on the back for all the hard work you’ve put in! Say goodbye to those unsightly, stubborn hair dye stains and hello to fresh, clean pillows and pillowcases.

Additional Tips to Remove Hair Dye Stains from Pillows and Pillowcases

  • Use a commercial stain remover: There are many commercial stain removers on the market that are specifically designed to remove hair dye stains. Follow the instructions on the label and be sure to test the product on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before applying it to the stain.
  • Never preheat the fabric: Putting pillows and pillowcases that still have hair dye stains on them in the dryer on a medium to high heat setting can lead to the stains becoming permanent.
  • Apply hydrogen peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent that can be effective at removing hair dye stains. Mix a small amount of hydrogen peroxide with water and apply it to the stain. Let it rest for a while and then rinse off the chemical with cold water. Repeat if necessary.
  • Use lemon juice: Lemon juice is a natural mild bleaching agent that can help remove fresh hair dye stains effectively. Mix equal parts lemon juice and water and apply the mixture to the stain. Let it rest for some time and then use cold water to rinse it off. Repeat the process if required.
  • Remember to always test any cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before applying it to the stain, and be sure to rinse the area thoroughly after treating the stain to remove any residue.

Cost Breakup

  • Brush with soft bristles: $5 – $10
  • Soaking sink: $10 – $50 (depending on the size and material)
  • Measuring cup: $1 – $5
  • Baking soda: $1 – $3
  • Liquid dishwashing soap: $1 – $5
  • Industrial-grade laundry detergent: $5 – $20
  • Soaking containers: $10 – $50 (depending on the size and material)
  • Ammonia: $2 – $5
  • Oxygen bleach: $5 – $10
  • Cold water: Free (assuming you have access to a water source)
  • Sponge: $1 – $5
  • Rubbing alcohol (Optional): $1 – $5
  • Chlorine bleach (Optional): $2 – $5
  • Cotton swab (Optional): $1 – $5

Please note that these prices are only estimates. The actual cost of these products may vary.

How to Prevent Hair Dye From Staining Your Pillow or Pillowcase?

To prevent hair dye from staining your pillow or pillowcase, try the following tips:

  • Protect your pillow with a towel or pillowcase while sleeping.
  • Use a shower cap or wrap your hair in plastic wrap before you go to sleep to keep the dye off your pillow.
  • Wash your hair thoroughly after dyeing it to remove the excess dye.
  • If you’re using a temporary dye or wash-out color, consider using an old pillowcase until the color has completely washed out.
  • Avoid applying hair dye directly to your scalp. Instead, apply it to the hair shaft and work it through to the ends. This can help reduce the amount of dye that comes into contact with your skin and hence, your pillow.
  • Avoid sleeping on your freshly dyed hair until it has had a chance to set completely.

Ready for the Grind?

And there you have it – a super-awesome and effective guide to removing hair dye stains from pillows and pillowcases. So go ahead and rock that bold new hair color! Just be sure to keep a close eye on your bedding!

Good luck, and happy cleaning!

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