Rit dye carpets

So I decided a couple of weeks ago that I was tired of looking at the discolored stains my once off white carpet kept bringing back for me. We eventually plan on replacing the carpets with wood flooring, but can’t seem to agree on the color or how dark/light to go with the wood.
I read on some blogs and posts about dying the carpet with rit dye. What the heck, right? What’s the worst that could happen? We hate it, we tear it up, and replace it with what we already plan to do with it.
I started out just going with the tan color, very minimal change, almost not worth it since it wasn’t noticeable, and the stains were darker than the dye color. I added the brown color and once I covered 1/4 of the section I was testing, I was committed to the project and had to finish the rest.
I originally started this using a rug doctor steam cleaner. This works great if you’re prepared to disassemble the whole machine to clean out the dye before returning it. I found this to be a bit of a pain. I also found that removing there excess water after spraying the dye, made the dye not as dark, and end result was a bit blotchy.
I followed a few tips that mentioned using a weed sprayer to spread the mixed dye, and I’ve found this to work the best.
I bought a 2 gallon sprayer ($12.99 at wal-mart), several bottles of my chosen color in liquid rit dye ( these were cheapest at wal-mart @ $1.87/bottle. Everywhere else was $2.99, but still cheaper than online. Other stores found were hobby lobby and joann fabric)
White vinegar, gallon jugs
Hot water
Fabric softener

My mix was based off of recipes I found online and trial and error. My carpets weren’t in the worst of shape, thy just had reoccurring stains from the previous owners who had ginormous dogs that I hear were predominately indoors.

Rit dye recipe for dying the carpets

Based on 2 gallon sprayer
2 gallons = 32 cups
3 cups vinegar
1 1/2 cups color (1 1/2 -8 oz bottles)
1/2 cup softener
32 cups HOT water

Pour the color, vinegar and softener in the container first, swirl it around to mix up, then add the water. The hotter the better. Hot water helps open up the “pores” in the fibers to set the stain in the carpet.

I tested out a section that is normally covered by furniture, about 1 sq foot worth to make sure the color would absorb without any issues. I wasn’t sure if there was any scotch guard left on my carpets, but I did assume that if stains were setting, there wasn’t much for scotch guard left, if any. Now because I have this wonderful sense of patience, I waited, oh about 5 minutes, and decided to just go with it. After I got about 1/8 of the room done, I declared I was committed and might as well finish.
I sprayed as evenly as I could, and it took me 5 refills before finishing the room. I left main walkways for last since the room was the cut through for getting to and from the kitchen, and backyard. This could have been a weekend project, but because it is summertime, the kids have been home, so it was broken down into 2 weekends.
I used all the fans in the house to “power dry” the carpets. It took about 3 days to be completely dry. (The dye can stain any socks or clothing in the damp stages, so beware)

Even though this isn’t a permanent fix, it was worth the trial and error. We can see how we’d like the darker color vs the lighter color that we had previously. I personally like the darker color, so if I want to keep it dark, I’ll have to make a hard sell for my husband to agree. For now, he will just have to settle for this. I don’t think it came out too bad. I did go back and touch up spots that were faded or not as dark as the rest. I did find that the areas with the most traffic were more matter down and needed additional applications. Combing out the carpet with a dog brush works really well for this. I’ve used a rake before as well. Some sites that I saw recommended staining freshly shampooed and dried carpet. I did this with half of the room, and honestly don’t see a difference.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please share! If you decide to color your carpet, share the before and after pictures, I’d love to see them.







2 responses to “Rit dye carpets

  1. I tried this recipie and application style and I’m having trouble with the dye coming off onto anything that is wet??how did you set it so it doesn’t “bleed” when it gets wet ?? Thankyou


    • It seemed to bleed in the beginning. I put a scotch guard on it and that helped.
      I recently shampooed them and reapplied to touch it up since it extracted the dye, and the color seemed to set better this time around. I used the shampooer to apply it this time and it worked great when I used the sprayer without the extractor turned on.
      I noticed that if I added a little more vinegar that it helps as well.
      How big of an area did you do?


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