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The At-Home Hair-Coloring Rules for Not Ruining Your Bathroom

How to keep from permanently staining your sink

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I'm a huge advocate for at-home hair-coloring. I just think it makes so much sense! Unless you opt for complicated coloring (highlights, balayage, mermaid hair) or you just really love sitting in a salon, I would like to encourage you join the At-Home Hair Coloring Club. Grabbing a box of color and doing your own saves so much time and money — I can have a fresh dye job for about nine of my hard-earned dollars and 30 minutes of my time, and I never have to wait for an appointment.

The problem, of course, with coloring your hair at home is that the dye has a terrible tendency to get everywhere and make a huge mess. But if you know a few things before you get started, you'll be A-OK, because just like the White Bedding Club, we, the members of the At-Home Hair Coloring Club, have rules.

The first rule is don't you dare open that box until you've prepared your work space.

Before you put on your gloves and start mixing up your color, remove and set aside items like hand towels, bath towels, bathrobes and fabric bath mats.

So, before you put on your gloves and start mixing up your color, remove and set aside items like hand towels, bath towels, bathrobes and fabric bath mats. Because little drops of dye have a tendency to splatter, it's worth taking the time to remove textiles that might become stained. Speaking of towels! If coloring your hair at home is a thing you do regularly, having a designated hair dying towel — either an old towel you don't care about, or a dark colored one that will hide any of the loose dye that tends to hang around for a few days, post-coloring — is a great idea to spare your everyday towels from staining. In the event that stray dye does end up on towels or clothes, SuperClean Household Cleaner is The Thing for removing those really stubborn stains. You'll use it just like a laundry pretreatment spray by applying it to the stains before laundering as usual.

Then, grab a roll of paper towels and line the surface you'll be using to set down the bottle of dye and any tools like combs or clips; newspaper also works. Basically, the idea is to treat coloring your hair as you would a painting or crafting project. Also, keep that roll of paper towels nearby — you'll probably end up needing them.

Even with all that prep, there is still a risk that some of those dye splatters end up on the walls, or the sink, or on the floor. So you'll want to plan for the worst, and have a sponge and a cleaning product close at hand before you have a headful of dye sitting on your dome.

For the most part, dye that's landed on your face, neck, ears, arms, etc. will come off with a good scrubbing in the shower.

Let's talk about those products! In my own life, I use Soft Scrub with Bleach, but an all-purpose spray like Tilex, that has bleach in it, will also work. For the bleach-shy, Simple Green or even rubbing alcohol are good alternatives. A Magic Eraser will also work to remove dye stains from walls, floors and countertops.

If a large blob of dye landed, say, in the basin of your bathroom sink, start by carefully wiping up as much of it as you can using paper towels, taking care not to smear the dye around. Then, apply whatever product you're using to the stained area and let it sit for a few minutes, which will allow the product to do a lot of the work for you, before giving the area a good scrub with that sponge you so wisely placed nearby. Because dye can be so very stain-y, it may take more than one application to get the stain out completely.

There's one last trouble spot we need to address before I send you off to gleefully color your hair at home, safe in the knowledge that you, a Member in Good Standing of the At-Home Hair Coloring Club, will leave no trace behind: Your skin. For the most part, dye that's landed on your face, neck, ears, arms, etc. will come off with a good scrubbing in the shower. But any lingering dye can be removed with rubbing alcohol applied to a cotton ball.


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