Can I Dye My Carpet?

C.E. Larusso
Written by C.E. Larusso
Updated September 28, 2021
Boy holding a ball lying on carpet in his bedroom
Tony Anderson/DigitalVision via Getty Images

To dye or not to dye, that is the question

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After your toddler accidentally dumps one-too-many glasses of juice on your taupe carpet and the cleaner can’t get the stains out, you might wonder if there’s a way to dye the stains away instead of replacing the whole kit and kaboodle—as it’s common knowledge that carpet installation is not an inexpensive endeavor. Learn if a carpet dye process is right for your home and how to find a professional to get it done correctly.

Why Dye?

There are numerous reasons why you might want to dye your carpet, from craving a change in color to saving on a full replacement. If your carpet is high-quality and less than ten years old, chances are you can get away with dyeing your carpet instead of shelling out the extra money to replace it.

It’s Cheaper Than Replacing

Installing new carpeting costs between $790 and $2,790, averaging $1,760—it’s not cheap. If you need your carpet to look fresh quickly (perhaps right before you put your home on the market) but don’t have a lot of cash on hand, dyeing might help you achieve your goal. The cost of dyeing varies depending on the size of the job, but it typically runs one-third of the cost of a carpet replacement ($585 vs. $1,685).

Overall Restoration

Toddler girl playing with toys on carpet
Olesia Bilkei – stock.adobe.com

Between the kids, your new puppy, and your clumsy partner, your carpet may have its fair share of food, coffee, and wine stains that even a professional carpet cleaner can’t get out. In addition, over time, UV damage from sunlight can fade its original color. If the pile is still in good condition and you’re hoping to simply restore the original look of your carpet, dyeing might be an option.

Refresh With New Color

White bright bedroom with gray carpet
Daly and Newton/OJO Images via Getty Images

The color, material, and style of flooring can make a huge impact on the look of your home, so if you’re ready to update your space with a fresh new color of carpeting, consider dyeing.

Better for Sensitive Household Members

New carpet often has a compound in it called 4-phenylcyclohexene (4-PC). When it off-gasses, 4-PC can cause eye, throat, and lung irritation. It also smells pretty bad. Some even report feeling nauseated or dizzy from new carpeting. If you decide to install new carpet, we recommend keeping your windows and doors open as much as possible for the first five days after installation to give your house some fresh air during the off-gassing period. By contrast, dyeing produces less odor and the space is generally available for use the same day of the service.

When Dyeing Isn’t the Best Option

If your carpet falls into any of the below categories, dyeing might be out of the picture.

The Stains Are Very Dark

You can only dye a carpet in a shade that’s as dark or darker than the current color of carpeting. So, if you have many dark shades and don’t want a completely dark carpet, you might need to learn to live with the marks or consider a full new install.

Unknown Lifespan

Some people report their carpet dye jobs lasting one year, while others have reported a 10-year lifespan. The quality of the dye used, the condition of your carpet, and the application itself are all factors that impact the longevity of the dye process. Also, if you get your carpet cleaned regularly, the dye could fade quickly.

The Carpet Isn’t the Right Material

The process works best on carpet made from nylon, wool, or silk. Stain-resistant and extra thick carpets are usually not good candidates for this process, as the dye may not be able to penetrate as intended.

How Carpet Is Dyed

Carpet dye is typically sprayed on and then scrubbed in. Most dyes are safe for children and pets, and you can walk on the floor almost immediately after treatment. If you have just a few stains to cover up, a carpet dyeing professional can spot-dye to match the original color of the flooring. If you’re looking for a full re-do, the professional can dye the entire carpet a uniform color.

Hiring a Professional Carpet Dyeing Service

Carpet dyeing is a specialty service, with only a handful of businesses offering it. It’s a process usually reserved for specific consumer groups such as landlords, hotel owners, or people preparing to sell their home. Find carpet dyeing professionals near you and be sure to ask what kind of training the company gives its employees in carpet and paint technologies, as they should understand color coordination. 

You should also confirm that the products the company uses are safe for the people and animals in your home. Also, ask your pro for a handful of references and reach out to them—especially asking how well the carpet dyeing job has held up over time.

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