Can You Use Vinegar to Remove Hair Dye?

Ways you can use this kitchen ingredient to eliminate unwanted hair dye stains.

Reviewed by Madison Dufour, Barber & Cosmetologist Madison Dufour Madison DufourBarber & Cosmetologist facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA Experience: 5 years

Do you feel like changing the hair color but thinking about the consequences of frequent changes? No need to worry. You can use vinegar to remove hair dye without causing any damage to the hair. As we all know, using chemical products might result in severe damage, and also some of these products are expensive. It’s quite common to feel the urge to change into a new color. So, there is no need to live with boring hair color and no need to wait until it fades away naturally. In this article, we have discussed how to use vinegar to remove hair dye. Keep reading to know more about this.

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, where as 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 completely. However, vinegar can act like a natural hair dye remover and help fade hair dye to an extent under specified conditions.

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.

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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 help in effective hair dye fading, it has an unpleasant odor. Hence, most people use cider vinegar, which has a pleasant fragrance. However, there are different kinds of ACV also, filtered and unfiltered. Unfiltered ACV generally has a bad reaction on the skin and causes a hot rash.

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

Here are some DIY hair dye removal solutions using vinegar that might help.

I. Using Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse To Remove Hair Dye

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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Processing Time: 20 minutes


  • To make an apple cider vinegar hair rinse to remove stubborn dye stains, 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

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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

A blogger recalls using white vinegar to remove the dyed hue of her hair. She wanted to embrace her silver tresses after realizing the side effects dyeing could cause, including yellow streaks, mineral deposits from hard water, harm by the colorants and additives in hair products. She used numerous products including white vinegar and added, “I sometimes pour a solution of white vinegar and water over my hair as a final rinse. It dries with absolutely no odor, and it simply feels good (i).”

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.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Avoid using vinegar if you have dry hair as it can dry out your hair further and make it more prone to breakage. Also, excessive use of vinegar may cause more hair damage.

Here are some alternative hair dye stripping methods you can try in place of vinegar.

Alternative Methods For Removing Hair Dye At Home

When it comes to removing hair, vinegar hair treatment has some drawbacks. For example, you cannot use it to remove permanent hair color. So, here are a few alternatives that work for effective hair dye removal at home.

  • You can use a store-bought hair color remover at home, although it might damage your hair.

Store-bought color remover to eliminate hair dye

  • 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.
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protip_icon Quick Tip
You can try using dandruff shampoo alone to remove semi-permanent hair dye.

Note: Frequent exposure to chlorinated water may make your hair dry and brittle.

Infographic: Two Easy DIY Methods To Remove Hair Dye With Vinegar

Vinegar is significantly useful not only for health purposes but also to remove hair dye efficiently. It saves you the cost of salon appointments and allows you to be as messy or efficient as you want in your own space at your own pace. There are two types of vinegar such as apple cider vinegar and white vinegar that can help you to get rid of the shade after a few applications.

Check out the infographic below to know how to remove hair dye at home in a nutshell.

two easy diy methods to remove hair dye with vinegar (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

If you love changing your hair color often but are worried about causing any damage, you can use vinegar to remove hair dye. Vinegar’s acidic nature also helps reduce frizz, scalp infections, and other hair issues. You can use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar once or twice a week to remove hair dye. However, if you are allergic to vinegar, you can either use a store-bought dye remover or natural ingredients such as lemon juice, honey, or lime water to remove hair dye without any damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does vinegar take to remove hair dye?

You should keep the vinegar rinse on your hair for about 20 minutes. You might have to rinse your hair again a few more times over a couple of days to remove the hair dye completely.

Can I leave white vinegar in my hair overnight?

You can leave the vinegar in your hair overnight. But you can wash it off with warm water if your scalp feels itchy.

Why should you not use vinegar to remove red hair dye?

Vinegar has a low pH level and may remove light or semi-permanent colors. It should not be used to remove red hair dye as it can leave you with badly colored hair.

Does apple cider vinegar have any side effects on hair?

Undiluted vinegar may cause the skin to burn or itch, especially if you have a sensitive scalp. You should mix apple cider vinegar with water to prevent this from happening.

Does vinegar set hair dye?

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that vinegar can help set hair dye. However, it does help balance the pH of your scalp and hair, which can contain color from fading, and remove buildup and residue.

Key Takeaways

  • Vinegar can remove temporary hair dye without damaging your hair.
  • Though both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar work effectively, many people use apple cider vinegar because of its fragrance.
  • It is a safe technique to remove hair dye, but it may cause scalp irritation if you are allergic to vinegar.

Does white vinegar remove permanent hair dye? Find out in this video! See how white vinegar can help you get rid of unwanted hair dye and get back to your natural color.

Personal Experience: Source

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