Is dyeing carpet a good solution for covering dirt and stains?

The Pros and Cons of Dyeing Carpet

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Should We Dye Our Carpet?

Next year, we are thinking about getting our carpet dyed as opposed to replaced. The reason? The carpet itself is in pretty good shape as far as the fibers go. There aren't any tears, etc. We bought a 2000-square-foot manufactured home and the entire house (except for the kitchen) is carpeted with awful cream colored carpet. We have two children under the age of 7. Can you guess what is wrong with the carpet? You guessed it. There are stains everywhere. This is the reason that we don't want to put the money out to replace the carpet until we are past the "spilling stage," but we are embarrassed when company comes over. Has anyone done this? If so, would you recommend it to someone else?
Wendy in Fort Knox, KY

Use Caution with Carpet Dyeing Around Children and Pets

We moved into an apartment where the Manager had dyed the carpet dark brown. All of our socks turned brown on the bottom. Our feet even had brown marks on them. I worried about what the dye might be doing to our dog. I would not recommend it. Since you have kids, I would worry about the amount they are absorbing into their skin just by playing on it. Is that safe for them? At the very least, I would look into that before going ahead with it.

Hire Out Carpet Dyeing

I absolutely recommend dyeing your carpet! I used to be a Property Manager with a very large nationwide company and we often used this technique. It was a very cost-effective way to save carpet!

My only recommendation to you, though, is to get it professionally done. And you might want to check references because some companies do a great job and others don't get the colors even. You could get it a shade or two darker or you could opt to get a completely different color. Since you have a cream color there are a lot of color options available to you. Also, if they happen to get it too light when they dye it, you can have them go back and do it a shade darker.

There are do-it-yourself kits available, but I don't have the guts to do it! I'm afraid that I won't get the color spread evenly.

Find Another Solution to Carpet Dyeing

I can't address whether you can successfully dye your carpet. However, one solution that I have used in my home is to purchase inexpensive area rugs from the local discount stores. They cover the major areas of the room, and if further spills occur, the rug can either be cleaned or replaced for a small amount (at least compared to replacing the carpet). This is getting us through until we are ready for carpet replacement. By the way, until your kids move out, you will never be completely free of the "spills" stage!
Sharon in Georgia

Thoroughly Clean Carpet First

I dyed a carpet in the last house in which I lived. It was reasonably new (3 years), but impossibly stained by red Kool-Aid! At the time, I was a single mom and couldn't afford to hire a professional service, so I did it myself. Whether you do it yourself or hire someone to do it, make sure that you protect the baseboards (and the wall that is just above the baseboards), so they don't soak up any dye spatter. Generally, you will need to dye the carpet a darker color than the original cream color to hide the stains. Think about how different colors will look with your existing curtains, wall colors and furnishings.

If you do it yourself, you must have help with moving furniture, wiping any spatter off the walls, and eyeing the coloration. You will need to do this during the day. Try long even strokes or passes over the area. You will have to make several passes over each area as well. The process is a lot like mowing a lawn, but without the overlap (as this would cause darker "stripes" in the overlapped areas). You may have an uneven color application by letting the shampooer stand in one place too long. However, it will look simply like the nap of the rug has been vacuumed.

You must clean the carpet thoroughly before dying. Make sure that your carpet and pad don't soak up too much water in the process. Excess water will ruin the carpet pad and the carpet fibers themselves. So make sure you dry the wet carpet.

Related: Drying Wet Carpet

Being older (and wiser) with my second child years later, I found it easier to make a house rule allowing children to drink only water in any carpeted area of the house. They could drink their other beverages in the tiled kitchen and dining areas. Sure, it was a bit more time-consuming to monitor her at first. However, it proved useful later, and didn't have to dye any carpets in this house. I also didn't have stains and spills on my furniture to clean up or cups/glasses elsewhere in the house to nag them to pick up. By the way, kids never grow out of the spilling stage. They just don't spill as often. They also don't they drink as much red Kool-Aid as they get older.
Robin in El Paso, Texas

Related: 5 Things to Know When Buying Carpet

Loved the Results of Carpet Dyeing

I dyed my carpet in a condo that I was living in because it was a lot cheaper and I had plans to move within two years.

I was very pleased with the results. It came out even and looked great. However, I would suggest that you ask the person doing the job before he does it how to treat the stains. My dyer told me he would take care of the hard-to-remove stains himself and he did a great job. He told me how to treat the others and following his advice was easy and they came out.

I do suggest that for the first month you not walk on the carpet with white socks as the dye does have a tendency to rub off. However, this will correct itself after a month. You can vacuum a little more often and that will help with the rub off problem. The dye is safe for both pets and children. I checked this out before I went ahead with the job.

If I had to do this again I most certainly would. I was happy with the results and loved my new color. I had the carpet cleaned twice during the two years and it did not change the color in any way.

Related: Homemade Carpet Cleaning Solutions

Don't Dye Your Carpet

I would not recommend dyeing carpet unless the carpet is in good shape. I had this done professionally several years ago and was initially happy with the results. Like you, the carpet was light and I had five children in elementary school, plus two Great Danes. Very shortly, however, the stains and other flaws started showing up because they had absorbed the dye unevenly and it looked as bad as before. And the dyeing wasn't cheap. We bit the bullet and had the carpeting replaced in the living room and family room with a variegated pattern that doesn't show anything. We put in hard surface flooring in some rooms (along with area rugs that can go in the washer).
Nancy in Santee

Reviewed February 2018

Take the Next Step:

  • Use these tips to soften carpet inexpensively.
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