How to Get Bleach Spots Out of Carpeting Fast

The worst thing ever happened to my good friend: He splurged to re-carpet his entire house and no sooner than it was finished, he spilled bleach on it. In a panic he didn’t know what to do, so he immediately grabbed a washcloth and began trying to soak it up with water. Meanwhile, the carpet was beginning to change color. The following day it was even worse. The spot was in the dead center of the floor, with no way to hide and no means of fixing. What now?

Together, we decided we had to fix the issue. We first began to research.


There’s tons of different types of carpet, from cheap acrylic to expensive wool. Each has its own composition. I’ll give you some ideas, but let start with the basics.

What Not to Do

  • Never scrub it. By “scrubbing” I am referring to an up-and-down/side-to-side motion. All you will do is damage it more. You run the risk of literally ripping the carpet out and it turning into a giant hole.
  • Second, bleach is not a “color." Bleach is a color-stripper or solvent that removes the tint by basically eating it away. With that in mind, you can’t “remove bleach”, just like you can’t put nail polish remover onto your polish then expect the polish to re-appear.
  • Keep in mind that any repair will be trial and error.
  • Stay away from RIT Dye. The color won't match and it's hard to control.
  • Fourth, I am not a carpet professional. Heck, I painted and sparkled the carpet at my store!

Are You Currently In a Bleach Nightmare?

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What to Try

Hair Dye

Hair dye worked great for one spot on my friend's carpet. The carpet is a dark brown; I would call it Cocoa or Espresso if I had to label it. He took a small carpet fiber from his stairs and brought it to the local beauty supply store and found a few different hair dye kits that matched. He didn’t get the cheap kind. He got the good ones to ensure it would be quality.

A word of caution: Do not purchase hair dye from a local drug store or any dye that is “on sale." It is uncommonly known that local stores don't monitor how long dyes have sat on their shelves.

To apply to carpet:

  • Hair dye will likely look like it is turning black. That’s okay. It's part of the coloring process. But what you need is a quality blow dryer. Be sure to have a timer on hand. Most dyes take between 20-30 minutes and you can go over, but you need to be careful.
  • As soon as you apply the hair dye, begin blow-drying. This speeds up the process and opens up the carpet fibers via heat. Continue to blow dry. Like I said, it will get black-looking, but if you touch an actual carpet strand, you will see the true color of the dye on your fingers.
  • The hair dye worked well on my friend's bleached carpet. We didn’t even have to rinse it. The hair dye actually dried it to the exact color and months later, it looks great.

Acrylic Paint

Ok, there's tons of different painting options depending on the size of your spot and color of carpet. A common realtor trick is to use a felt-tip market the spot (you can buy a marker in almost any color at an art store or fabric store). But this is only buying you time.

To use acrylic paint.

  • Choose a perfectly matching paint by taking loose fibers to the store to match them up. Mix the acrylic paint with water and paint each and every fiber. Yes, it is time-consuming, but is two hours of work worth $200? $2,000? Most likely.
  • Be sure to paint lightly. Applying too much paint will cause stiffness. You simply want to coat the outside. If you need to practice, buy a sample swatch then bleach it lightly and go at it.
  • You may even have to mix paints to find the right color. Never paint at night. Always paint in full sunlight.

Automotive Carpet Paint

Depending on what kind of carpet you haven’t you may be able to purchase an automotive carpet paint. This paint is designed to be used on thin carpet, vinyl and so on.

CAUTION: Automotive paint can be stiff. If you have a small spot and find the perfect color match, I suggest getting a Tupperware that you are willing to throw out, spraying it into the container then using a brush to paint it onto the fibers. Do not just spray directly on.

Interior House Paint

I have actually painted floors using latex interior paint. I painted over 600 sq ft using this method, and it worked like a charm (it was the very cheap, flat, office-style carpet).

Note: The carpet will turn very stiff, almost like a laminate. No joke. I actually wanted to turn mine into a laminate-type texture, so I resin-ed over it several times. But even after the first coat of simple indoor house paint it was still stiff.

The only advantage is that you can get color matching done at any Home Depot or Lowes and get the exact color you need. If you get a water-based paint, you can further dilute it and individually paint each fiber.

Check out my blue painted carpet floor (it's blue with three colors of sparkle to look like an ocean. The carpet used to be a hideous gray with stains on it.)


Depending on what color your carpet is, a pen, sharpie or marker may be all you need. Take your fibers to the store and find a match.

Tips: If you find a marker in a close shade, put a dab of water into a glass jar or cup. Dissect your marker so all you have is the interior and put it into the mug. You may or may not have to cut it open. If is a marker, use a knife or razor and slit it open then place the center piece into the dab of water and let it turn into “dye.” Add more water as needed. You may need to purchase more markers of this color and repeat the process for perfect coverage. If it is an ink, just let it drain into the water. Either way, you can adjust the color to be lighter by adding more water.

Using Crayon to Cover Bleached Carpet

Cutting the Stain Out

As a realtor said, depending upon the size of the bleached area and the style of carpet, cutting out fibers can work. If its just a few hairs, pulling or cutting them may be just fine.

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