Does Hair Dye Stain Pillows? Here’s The Truth

If you dye your hair at home or have it dyed professionally, you’ll likely end up with some hair dye residue on your pillow. Will the hair dye stain your pillow?

Hair dye stains pillows, and the stains can be difficult to remove. Stains are less likely when your hair is dyed professionally, but they can still occur. Stains caused by at-home hair dye are more common and must be treated immediately to avoid permanent damage to your pillow.

The rest of this article will teach you how to get rid of hair dye stains, how to prevent hair dye stains in the first place, and more.

How Do I Get Hair Dye off My Pillow?

You must treat the stain immediately if you’ve had the unfortunate experience of staining your pillow or pillowcase with hair dye. The sooner you treat the stain, the more likely it is that you can remove the stain. On the other hand, be sure to treat fabric before putting it through the washing machine, as doing so will make the stain much less likely to come out. 

To get hair dye off your pillow, you should avoid laundering it immediately. First, use detergent, bleach, or commercial color remover to pretreat the stain before putting it through a regular cycle on your washing machine. If the stain remains after washing, it will not come out. 

Here are the supplies you will need when treating a hair dye stain on washable fabric:

  • Liquid laundry soap
  • All-fabric powdered bleach
  • Liquid chlorine bleach

If you cannot bleach the stained fabric, you should use a commercial color remover that is safe for the type of fabric you are treating. You can find the fabric type on the tag of the pillow or pillowcase. If you are out of laundry detergent, check out my article on laundry soap alternatives to learn what else you can use to wash your stained clothes.

Now that you have the necessary supplies, follow these steps to get rid of the stain:

  1. Saturate the stain with the laundry detergent and rinse.
  2. Next, dilute the all-fabric powdered bleach with water according to the dilution instructions on the package. 
  3. Soak for at least fifteen minutes.
  4. Soak for another fifteen minutes in the diluted liquid bleach if the stain is still there.
  5. Finally, run the stained fabric through the washing machine.

When following the steps above, it is essential to avoid scrubbing the detergent or bleach into the stains. Doing so will only rub the stain deeper into the threads of the fabric. Additionally, examine the fabric after rinsing it and avoid putting fabric stained with hair dye in the dryer. Since hair dye sets with heat, the heat from the dryer will only decrease your chances of successfully removing the stain. 

How Do You Keep Hair Dye From Staining Sheets and Pillows?

The best option is to plan ahead so you can prevent hair dye stains from occurring in the first place. If you are going to a traditional hair salon for your dye job, your stylist can give you recommendations to help you avoid staining. If you’re dying your hair at home, here are a few tips to help you prevent stains:

To keep hair dye from staining sheets and pillows, you should rinse the dye out of your hair with cold water, use a color lamination product, avoid sleeping with wet hair, use an old towel to protect your pillow, and wear a shower cap to bed. 

These steps will help keep hair dye from staining your sheets and pillows. I will expand on these tips and tricks in the section below.

Rinse Hair Dye Thoroughly With Cold Water

The last step in your hair-dying process involves rinsing your hair to remove the remaining dye. Rinsing the hair dye thoroughly protects your hair from the damage prolonged exposure to the dye causes, but it also helps to protect your pillow and sheets. 

Ensuring that there is no remaining dye in your hair will eliminate the risk of staining fabric. It would help if you rinsed with cold water to seal the color into your hair. Using hot water to rinse hair dye will increase the risk of excess dye ending up on your pillow instead of your hair. 

Use a Color Lamination Product

There are numerous products on the market to help seal in your hair dye. The way color lamination products work is similar to the effect of cold water. By sealing the color into your hair’s cortex, you’ll avoid staining your pillow and make your color last longer and look more vibrant. 

Avoid Sleeping With Wet Hair

You should thoroughly dry your hair after coloring it. If your hair is done in a salon, your stylist will take care of this for you. For at-home hair coloring, run a hairdryer over your freshly-dyed hair to lock in the color. You can also towel-dry your hair if you’re avoiding heat damage. Either way, hair dye has less of a chance to transfer to your skin or fabric when your hair is completely dry. 

Use an Old Towel To Protect Your Pillow

A towel, t-shirt, or even an old blanket can all act as barriers against transferring hair dye to your pillow or pillowcase. Be sure to use a towel or t-shirt that you don’t mind staining. Alternatively, those who dye their hair frequently might want to invest in a set of pillowcases to switch to after using hair dye. 

Wear a Shower Cap to Bed

Once your hair is dry and your pillow is protected with a towel, you can take one more step to protect your sheets, pillow, and skin. Slipping a shower cap or sleeping cap over your freshly-dyed hair will create a waterproof barrier between the hair dye and your pillow. 

Does Hair Dye Come Off With Sweat?

Hair dye comes off and is more likely to stain when you sweat. Moisture in freshly-dyed hair will cause the dye to seep out of the hair’s cortex and transfer to your skin, clothes, and bed linens. 

You should avoid sweating after dying your hair to prevent staining. Even if you’ve dried your hair thoroughly and skipped the gym, you still sweat while you sleep. Wear breathable clothes to bed after drying your hair, keep a fan running, and follow the tips in the section above to keep hair dye from staining your sheets and pillowcases while you sleep.


While removing hair dye stains from fabric is possible, it’s much easier to prevent them in the first place. You should:

  • Dry your hair thoroughly after dying it.
  • Use color lamination spray.
  • Avoid sweating and sleeping with wet hair.
  • Use an old towel or t-shirt to protect your pillow.
  • Sleep with a shower cap on.

If you encounter a stain, this article provides information to help you remove it successfully.

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