Can You Dye Fabric With Hair Dye?

No, it is not recommended to dye fabric with hair dye. Hair dye is formulated specifically for use on hair, while fabric dyes are designed for use on fabrics.

Here are some key reasons why hair dye should not be used on fabric:

  • Hair dye contains chemicals like ammonia and peroxide that can damage fabrics. Fabric dyes do not contain these harsh chemicals. [1][5][6]
  • Hair dye is meant to penetrate the hair cuticle, while fabric dyes are designed to bind to fabric fibers on the surface. This means hair dye does not bond as effectively to fabrics. [7][11]
  • Hair dye comes in very small quantities meant only for coloring hair. There is usually not enough hair dye to thoroughly and evenly dye fabric. [4][6]
  • Hair dye tends to fade faster on fabric compared to proper fabric dye. Even “permanent” hair dye will fade with washing. [2][3]
  • Hair dye can easily bleed onto other fabrics when washing, while good fabric dyes are colorfast. [2]
Video: Hairdressers guide to coloring your own hair

However, in some cases hair dye can stain fabrics:

  • It may leave some stain on fabrics like denim, but results will be unpredictable. [9]
  • Light or porous fabrics like silk or wool may take some color from hair dye, but it will fade quickly. [3][7]
  • Using hair dye on fabric runs the risk of damaging the fabric or having poor, blotchy results.

In conclusion, for best results fabric dye formulated for fabrics should always be used instead of hair dye.

Popular fabric dye brands like Rit, iDye, and Dylon are inexpensive, widely available, very effective for dyeing fabric, and cause no fabric damage. [4][8][12]


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