How do I remove hair dye from the bathroom wall?

Updated Oct 12 2015
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Preparing to dye my hair
Photo by rightsandwrongs. Used under Creative Commons license.

Ross wants to know:

I dye my hair black on a regular basis, and I'm also a clumsy oaf. My bathroom wall has many spots of blueish-black. Some I've managed to get off with a toothbrush and paste made of water and Barkeeper's Friend, and a Magic Eraser made a little dent in some of them, but some seem to be determined to survive the next apocalpyse.

The walls are flat off-white over plaster, and some of the spots are a little old and set — before I discovered Barkeeper's Friend, I didn't think anything could get them off.

So what should I use on those stubborn spots? Would a bleach pen work, or just make a big white blob in the off-white? Anyone have a successful formula to get hair dye OUT, or are we doomed to paint?

  1. I cleaned homes for quite a while and the best thing EVER is WD40. Smells bad but gets everything up hair dye, perm marker, scuff marks, crayon and a half million other things that I can't quite put a name to. Good luck! Would also recommend 'Goof Off', not quite as smelly a little more pricey and hard to find but still good results.

        • The old addage about Duct Tape putting things together that are appart, and WD40 for takeing things that are together, apart. I have them both, in plenty, and use them frequently.

          • I used Jif and soaked the stains for about a minute before putting some nail polish remover on a damp cloth and wiping it all off. It worked like a charm. (the dye i had to wipe off was dark purple)

    • Does WD40 work on walls that aren't white? My bathroom walls are a light coffee shade….and I just want to know if WD40 is safe on colored walls.

    • . I love this natural hair dye! I started using the chemical hair dye few years back when I started turning gray. I completely abhor my hair color, especially with grays. I used the chemical dye once or twice after that my scalp was infected and it didn’t allow me to put any chemical on it. I once tried and I can’t wait to hold it in hair and washed abruptly. That was very harsh. My grays were visible still. Then I used this henna based hair dye from . What a color it has!!! I can truly write ten pages about its goodness. It smells good but that is not long lasting. It can be left in the hair for even overnight and still is safe and not irritating. My hair is very silky & charming. I will absolutely be ordering this again! Everybody must stab this- it is incredible!

    • WD40 does not work just sprayed some on my wall right after I dripped hair dye….try again

  2. I have the same problem when it comes to hair dye… even that "no drip foam" (pft–foamy lies!).

    I used some rubbing alcohol and elbow grease on my tile for HUGE spatters. If you have any leftover paint from your bathroom wall, I'd do some quick spot paintovers. If the prior people painted, you might even be able to find a small can of off white paint at a hardware store.

    Good luck!

    • Yeah, foamy lies is right. OMG, that "no drip foam" is worse than the cream! Once it heats up it runs everywhere!

  3. Love this, if it's not my hair dye on our wall it's fake tan – ooops.

    Also Sarah, my hubby swears by WD40 for getting off the stubborn sticky residue that price labels can leave on things – must try in on the bathroom walls.

    • SPOT SHOT (it even gets out Red Nail Polish from WHITE carpet!)

      EVERYONE should have a can of this in their homes!!
      (.. I haven't tried it on they dye on the walls yet though.. hmm might work?!?)
      OH and WD 40 DOES NOT WORK on the hair dye.

  4. "Roux Color Remover" from a beauty supply store. Our shower looked like a crime scene after a we dyed my daughter's hair bright magenta. It worked great. I think the main ingredient is ammonia, so that might work too.

  5. Bizarrely I've never found anything better at removing hair dye from anything than Morrisons own brand Henna Color Protect shampoo. designed to protect your dye job this stuff has actually stripped an antique enamel bath back to brilliant white. Unfortunately I think Morrisons only exists in the UK

  6. I dye Punk Rock Kid's hair every six weeks. My bathroom oops BFF: half strength bleach (half bleach, half water) in a spray/mister bottle. Spray, wipe, done.

    • I tried the nail polish remover and the WD40 but neither made a difference and then I tried the 1/2 bleach and 1/2 water. Worked wonderfully. Thank you so much. I thought I was going to have to repaint the walls as there are so many colours of white.

    • My bathroom walls are an egg shell white and I just tried the half (Clorox smart seek) bleach and half water. As soon as I strayed the spots the dye started to lighten up. I don't know about the other suggestions only because I have not tried them but this really worked and it did not strip the paint. Thank you!

  7. When I accidentally knocked over a bowl of black hair dye in the bathroom of my RENTED apartment, I was able to get the dye out of the carpet (who the hell puts carpet in a bathroom?) with a combination of soap followed by white vinegar. It did a great job with the carpet but my walls are still splattered… I'll have to try some of the solutions mentioned here, because I move out next month!

    • As far as putting carpet in the bathroom goes, my Uncle and Aunt did that at their house when the built it. In the early 70's. So it was purple shag.

      Last time I was over there, they had removed some of the shag carpeting from other parts of the house, but the purple shag was still in the bathroom.

      I don't want to know what is living in the underpad of that carpet at this point.

  8. I've used a few things. Soap and water usually work fine if you can clean it up RIGHT away, with the hair dye gloves on and everything. I've used nail polish remover as well. That stuff will wipe anything away- including paint! So I'd suggest only using this on white walls, tiny spots or tile. And finally, I've used cleaners with bleach in them. Again, white only.

    Also, as a little tip: put Vaseline (petroleum jelly) around your hair line and any other areas of skin where you frequently get drips. It helps it not to stick!

    • Thanks for the nail polish remover tip! I tried WD40 on a couple dark splashes on the wall but it didn't make any difference, then I tried nail polish remover and it came off in seconds!

    • The dye had been on the wall for over a week! The nail polish remover took it off immediately, But it does take some paint with it! Still an awesome trick!

    • I've used vasaline on my skin before. Works great!
      We're also trying several of these remedies for black dye on off-white walls. (now REALLY off white!) Will report any that actually work.

  9. Its a preventative measure, but I soap the shower wall before I dye then everything just rinses off into the tub and never sticks to the wall.

  10. When we moved out of our last rental place we had marks from all sorts all over the house! After painstakingly painting some of them my old housemate discovered that they came off with some very light sandpapering instead which was SO much faster. Of course Im not sure how soaked into the paint your hairdye is, but it could work!?

  11. I've got to try the WD40 on my bathroom sink. I dye my friend's hair for him, and even being careful, I have a few green, orange, and blue spots on the sink and wall that haven't quite scrubbed out.

  12. When I dye my hair I keep a rag towel on hand so I can wipe up any spots as soon as I make them. Having just moved out of one rented apartment, I can say a solution of Oxyclean and water removes everything. Everything. I used in on the carpet, the walls, the appliances, the tile floors, and it took out every stain there is. My cat stuck his foot in my hot-pink water colors once and ran down the hall making pink foot prints. Oxy got it out.

  13. Hardware Store Memories. Mmmmm WD40. That is a great tip. Thank you!

    In the event that you decide to repaint I would suggest using a latex semi-gloss paint. It is great for kitchens and bathrooms because it's scrubbable and moisture resistant!

    Love the duct tape and WD40 adage. Will share with my father who proclaims "…on the 8th day God made duct tape and zip ties…"

  14. I used to use good-old nail polish remover to get my manic panic off the sinks in my college dorm. I even became the informal consultant for the RA's who didn't know how to deal with the dye problems on their own floors, haha. I just discovered henna to use as hair dye now that I've hit 30 and my natural red hair is fading. It didn't stain anything but my hair!

  15. I've uses acetone nail polish to get out the lovely shade of pink I've dyed the bathtub and sinks in my rentals. I've also had some luck with the Magic Eraser.

  16. I have the same issue. I have found immediately wiping dye splatter off my bathroow tiles with a wet cloth does the trick, however for unsealed grout and spots that I miss? Bleach. Does the job every time.

    Not great for the environment, but in a bind, its a saviour.

  17. I use softscrub with bleach, its a dream for my bathroom and my salon. Sometimes plain rubbing alcohol will do the trick as well.

  18. Big brand baby wipes work quite well. Which is scary when you think what they are designed for.
    Will be looking for real low chemical level ones when I have kids.

  19. Hahahaha. My mommy brain insisted on reading the title of this post as, "How do I reuse hair dye from the bathroom wall?"

  20. I had my hair blue for about four or five years. A HUGE tip? Dye when your bathroom could use a good cleaning. The dye sticks to the dirt, not your tiles, then when you clean your bathroom, it all comes off. Easy peasy.

  21. So I've had this awful problem everytime I've colored my hair and just randomly I used two products LYSOL toliet bowl cleaner with bleach and ajax. With bleach combinded the two placed it on the stain ad waaaaalaaaaa no more dye 🙂

  22. i dyed my hair brown n lightbrown n some of it got on my moms bathroom wall need suggestion on how to remove it….i tried wipin it off w a towel but didnt work….whats tha best solution to gettin it off be fore shes noticed it

  23. ok, I dyed my hair auburn today and got some of the dye on the wall and the creme painted wood door…I used rubbing alcohol and rubbed it and the dye came right off. Carefull though if you scrub to hard the paint will come off

  24. I wanted to try the bleach and water Idea but was too scared that it would lighten the rest of the paint, at my rental. Then I had the idea of using facial bleach, that I use for dark hair on my face. Bingo! It worked, yoU may have to do it a couple of times because it is so gentle but the bonus is because it is cream you can apply in spots without it running all down the wall, phew, thought I would end up having to re-paint or loose some bond money. Good luck all.

  25. This blog just made my day. Husband and I just got our first beautiful home. And of course I dye the BR wall:(
    We didn't have any WD40 so I tried nail polish and it did work…..however, rub gently and stop and check frequently that your not going to far down. It will quickly rub the paint also. I did in one spot but much less noticeable than dark brown dye…lol. Goodluck and next time I will be a lot more careful.

  26. Cigarette ashes dabbed on a damp cloth will remove the darkest of hair dyes from your skin (hairline); its worth a try on walls.

  27. I use a mix of bleach and water in a spray bottle I reserve just for that. My Fudge Paintbox Raspberry Beret and Manic Panic Purple Haze really stain the walls. I spray it on, leave it and when I return, voila! The walls and tub are clean!

  28. I was extremely careful dying my hair last night but forgot to throw out the remaing and woke up and the bottle exploded everywhere walls floor conters

    So it has had a lot of time to set in my week old apartment:( panic has set in

    Cleaning it has only left bright red stains:(

  29. I went to dye my hair yesterday, buy had to leave town for an emergency. I left the dye on the bathroom sink of my rental house when I got home this morning it had exploded everywhere, wall, roof, floors, mirror, windows etc, by the time i get home from work today it will have been on everything for approx 20 hours, hopefully alot of the tips you all have put on here work.

  30. I took dye off my painted, bath vanity with nail polish remover..came right off and didn't hurt the paint..whew!

  31. I tried finger nail polish remover. It worked like a charm… Only down fall was that it stripped some of the paint off my wall, so be careful. I also used the foam and it was just as messy as the liquid hair dye.

  32. Hi I just used the nail polish on my dye spots on the wall and guess what! Abracadabra they gone!

  33. I forgot about the hair dye and it blew up all over the doors/mirrors/floors/towels it got everywhere. It left a purple Color but if u try to clean it turns kinds a magenta color I'm afraid to clean the rest. Any suggestions pls.

  34. just had landlord paint bathroom 2 days ago already got 2 marks its a very pale light green if i use nail varnish will i end up making it worse than the marks

  35. Clorox, toilet cleaner with bleach gel or, clorox bleach pen. Let sit for a couple minutes,then lightly do little rotating circles on spots. Repeat if needed.

  36. I tried all of the above and the only thing that worked for old hair color spots was Magic Eraser dipped in rubbing alcohol! It removed all my spots off of white wall, it looks wonderful now!

  37. The hair coloring spot on our latex-painted doorframe (and how did I do this, anyway???) was less than 30 minutes "old" and came off totally with the Barkeepers Friend/ water paste. THANKS!!!

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