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How to Dye Your Carpet With Rit Dye

Adam Raphael

Dying carpet with fabric dye is risky, but it may refresh or slightly change the color until the carpet can be replaced.

How to Dye Your Carpet With Rit Dye

The carpet was beautiful when you bought it, but now it has stains, fades, spots and worn-down traffic areas. It doesn’t even match the room anymore. Unfortunately, many of these problems can’t be removed with a simple cleaning; not only is it ugly, but it reduces the value and comfort of your home. Still, few among us want to pay thousands of dollars to replace carpet. An alternative solution might be to revive or refurbish the carpet yourself, by dyeing over the damage.

  1. Find out the material of your carpet. Dye works very differently on cotton than it does on a high nylon-fiber synthetic or stain-resistant material. Polyester carpets will not absorb fabric dye of any kind.

  2. Decide the color of your new carpet. Remember that you can dye darker but not lighter, no matter how much bleach you use.

  3. Move all of the furniture out of the room.

  4. Vacuum and shampoo the carpet. Allow it to dry completely, and vacuum it again. Clean carpet will absorb dye more evenly.

  5. Treat the baseboards and lower walls with mineral oil, which will come off easily and take dye splatters with it, or tape plastic sheeting to them.

  6. Mix the carpet dye with warm water; make sure the proportion allows for enough mix to coat the whole carpet thoroughly and sink to the bottom of the fibers. Start with 1 gallon of hot water between 140 F and 160 F. Stir in 1 tablespoon of Rit powdered dye, or 1 1/2 teaspoons of liquid dye. Test the color on a scrap of carpet, both for color and for practice. This is crucial, both in finding out whether your carpet will take fabric dye at all and as an indicator of what you final color will be. Let the sample dry completely, preferably overnight.

  7. Turn on the lights or open the shades so that you have plenty of light. Coat the carpet thoroughly and evenly with the dye, using a paint sprayer or a sponge mop. Start with the corner farthest from the door and back yourself out of the room, using short strokes. Do not repeat areas or you might end up with a dark spot.

  8. Wipe splashes of the walls or baseboards immediately as you work, even if you have covered them properly.

  9. Allow the carpet to dry for at least 24 hours.

  10. Move the furniture back into the room.

  11. Warning

    Do not steam clean your carpet for at least three months, and only use a mild detergent.