Dyeing Carpets And Rugs

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For those who can't afford new, have other priorities, or just want a colour change, dyeing carpets and rugs is a great alternative - providing it's done right! Members of our DIY group have had various degrees of success. Here we explain why...

Dylon and other brands have themselves stated that it is not a good idea dyeing carpets and rugs using products which are manufactured for washing machines or submersion. This is because dye particles can remain in the carpet. It can cause contamination of other products, and may possibly be harmful to pets or small children if allergen sensitive.

Machine and submersion dyes are also generally for use with porous materials like cotton or wool. They do not take on nylon or polyester, which is why some of our group members found the dye not working or colour coming off, and others didn’t. By far the easiest carpets to dye are wool.

To dye carpets always use a liquid fabric dye, such as you would use for sofas or other soft furnishings.


Unlike Dylon or other machine/submersion dyes these will be colourfast. In the event that your carpet has more than 20% polyester or acrylic please do a patch test in an obscure area. Leave to dry completely, and rub with a clean white cloth.

First vacuum clean the carpet or, if necessary, shampoo the carpet. Leave to dry before applying the dye.

For carpets dilute the liquid dye with 50% water. Use a spray to apply, and rub into the fibres with a brush or sponge. Leave to dry completely, then add a second coat if necessary.

Don’t forget to wear gloves!

Spray fabric dyes are an easy alternative, but are definitely not cost effective for large areas. However, they are ideal for rugs. As above, spray then rub in.

Rugs can be stencilled too, or masking/frog taped, creating your own design. This is only practical with very short pile because you will be unable to rub the dye into the fibres – the colour would bleed into the areas you don’t want it. Spray dye is perfect for this purpose.


Please note that dyeing carpets and rugs to a lighter colour is not possible. Always choose a similar or darker shade. Bear in mind that a total colour change, or patterned carpets, may require extra coats. In these circumstances, it’s probably worth adding a colour boost solution to the dye.

Hope this info has been helpful. Happy dyeing!


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