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Living Smart: Stained, Faded Carpet: Clean, Replace or Dye

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By Angie Hicks

stained_carpet(MCT)—Cleaning and replacement are common options for stained or outdated carpet. But what about dyeing?

In some cases, and when carpet has life left but even intensive cleaning can’t correct a problem, spot-dyeing or whole-carpet coloring may provide a cost-effective alternative to spending $1,000 or more on new carpet.

Experts our consumer researchers interviewed say dyeing your carpet can cost 30 to 80 percent less than buying new.

Carpets can be partially or spot-dyed so that faded or stained areas match the rest of the carpet. Or, in cases where a new color is preferred, the entire carpet can be dyed. For instance, one of our members described how happy he was with the work of a company that changed his baby blue carpet to a warm sand color.

Carpet dye is usually applied with a sprayer and then scrubbed in. Experts our consumer researchers interviewed say dyed carpet can be walked on almost immediately and that the material and process are safe for children and pets.

Dyeing works best on carpets made of nylon, wool or silk. Dye will not penetrate some carpet types, including stain-resistant and extra thick carpets.

To be effective, the color of the dye must be as dark or darker than the original carpet color.

Experts recommend having your carpet cleaned more or less annually, depending on how much traffic it receives. If you hire a professional carpet cleaner, expect to pay $100 to $200 a room, or more for corrective, intensive cleaning. However, cleaning can’t remove all stains, and can’t restore a sun-or bleach-faded area.

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