Can You Use Vinegar to Remove Hair Dye?

Written by Arshiya Syeda

It can take some time to decide the perfect hair color. Then there are times when you get bored of your hair color and feel the urge to spice things up. However, most of the time, changing your hair color means damaging your hair by removing the previous dye first.

Do you have to live with it until it fades naturally? Not really. Many products can help fade your hair color quickly. However, most of them can damage your hair or are too expensive. Thankfully, there are other ways to remove your hair dye, such as using vinegar. Keep scrolling to find out how to use vinegar to remove hair dye.

Can You Use Vinegar To Remove Hair Dye?

There are many different types of hair color. Temporary hair color affects only the hair cuticle, which is the outer layer, whereas semi-permanent hair color can permeate to the hair cortex (i.e., the inner layer). Meanwhile, permanent hair dye can penetrate even deeper into the hair through oxidation. Hence, it is difficult to remove.

So, can you consider using vinegar for removing hair dye?

The short answer – yes. But, the longer answer is more complicated. While you can use vinegar to remove temporary hair dye, permanent hair color is a different matter.

Unlike chemical products, the dye removal process using vinegar takes time but does not damage your hair.

Besides cleaning the scalp and hair, vinegar also has a slightly acidic nature that helps to close the cuticles and maintaining your hair’s health. Moreover, it acts as a microbial disinfectant, which eradicates many scalp and hair problems.

Additionally, it helps in solving many hair problems – like frizzy hair – and provides a smooth shine to your hair.

There are various types of vinegar, such as white vinegar and apple cider vinegar, which help to remove hair dye. While white vinegar can remove hair dye just as effectively, it has an unpleasant odor. Hence, most people use cider vinegar, which has a pleasant fragrance.

So, what is the procedure of how to remove hair dye naturally with vinegar? Find out in the next section!

How To Use Vinegar To Remove Hair Dye

There are multiple ways to remove hair dye using vinegar that causes little to no damage to your hair.

I. Using Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse To Remove Hair Dye

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Processing Time: 20 minutes


  • To make an apple cider vinegar rinse to remove hair dye, you need two cups of boiling water and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
  • Mix the apple cider vinegar with the boiling water and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Allow the mixture to cool down.
  • After shampooing and rinsing your hair, pour the apple cider vinegar mixture all over it and let it soak for 10-20 minutes to remove the hair dye.

How Often Can You Do This: 1-2 times a week.

II. Using White Vinegar To Remove Hair Dye

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Processing time: 20 minutes


  • Mix an equal amount of hot water with white vinegar, and let it cool down.
  • After washing your hair, rinse it with the white vinegar mixture to remove your hair dye.
  • Cover your hair with a shower cap for 15-20 minutes
  • Rinse off the white vinegar mixed with warm water.
  • Using white vinegar for hair dye removal may make your hair smell foul. Hence, you can add a few drops of sweet-smelling essential oil to your vinegar rinse to make your hair smell good after hair dye removal.

How Often Can You Do This: 1-2 times a week

However, you must also be aware of the dangers of removing hair dye using vinegar.

You may experience irritation on your scalp if you are allergic to vinegar. Moreover, it can also cause a sulfite reaction, making your hair lose moisture.

Here are some alternatives to remove hair dye using vinegar.

Alternative Methods For Removing Hair Dye At Home

When it comes to removing hair, vinegar has some drawbacks. For example, you cannot use it to remove permanent hair color. So, here are a few alternatives that work and that you can try at home.

  • You can use a store-bought color remover at home, although it might damage your hair.
  • You may also use natural ingredients like lemon juice, baking soda, chamomile, honey, and lime water. These take longer to lighten your hair.
  • You can also try bleaching your hair to get rid of all the hair color. However, this will strip away all the color from hair and can also damage it.


Removing hair color can be more complicated than coloring your hair. However, you can always use vinegar for hair dye removal. Just make sure that you do a patch test with vinegar to make sure you are not allergic to it!

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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).