How To Dispose Of Excess Hair Dye (Common Mistakes)

Bleaching and coloring your hair is a fun way to express your style and personality. But style shouldn’t have to come at the cost of the environment. So the question is, how do you dispose of excess hair dye the right way?

How To Dispose Of Excess Hair Dye

The best way to dispose of excess hair dye is to put the bottle in a hazardous waste container. This is because most hair dyes contain harmful chemicals which are dangerous to the environment.

Read on to find out more, along with other good ways to dispose of excess hair dye.

How NOT To Dispose Of Excess Hair Dye

First up, let’s cover how NOT to dispose of excess hair dye (or bleach).

If not disposed of properly, the chemicals in excess hair dye and bleach can pollute the environment and cause a threat to human health.

In fact, some even believe that these chemicals are so toxic that hair dye kills lice.

You should therefore always dye your hair in a ventilated room to ensure you’re not left with any hair dye smell.

Do Not Pour Excess Hair Dye Into Drains

The chemicals in hair dye can be lethal to fish and wildlife and cause damage to water and soil. You can tell by how difficult it is to even get hair dye off your skin or even your carpet or wooden floor.

Excess hair dye or bleach can also contaminate septic tanks or wastewater treatment systems if poured down drains or toilets.

They may even cause injury to sanitation workers and it can be difficult for waste facility workers to filter these chemicals out of the water. This would leave the water toxic and not suitable for use.

Do Not Dispose As Household Waste

If you throw excess hair dye out along with your household waste, it will end up in a landfill. Here, it will travel into the ground and damage the environment.

You should therefore avoid disposing of your excess hair dye with your regular day to day waste.

Now that you’re armed with the facts about how damaging the chemicals in hair dye can be, let’s take a look at how you dispose of excess hair dye in a safe and environmentally friendly way.

Also Read: Gluten Free Hair Color: Your Best Choices for 2021

Good Ways To Dispose Of Excess Hair Dye

The good news is, there are definitely better and safer ways to dispose of excess bleach and hair dye, and these are listed below.

Hazardous Waste

The best way is to dispose of your excess hair dye or bleach as hazardous waste. Check with your local environmental, health or solid waste agency to find out about the hazardous waste management options in your area.

If your community doesn’t have a year-round collection system, there may be designated days for collecting hazardous waste at a central location.

Alternatively, your locality may have convenient drop-off points in your area, to save a trip to a hazardous waste center.

If your community doesn’t have a permanent collection site or any special collection days, you may be able to drop off certain products at local businesses for recycling or proper disposal.

Donating Or Sharing Excess Hair Dye

If you can’t safely dispose of your excess hair dye, another great option is to share it, with a friend, neighbor or family member.

Maybe you know someone who would also like to dye their hair the same color!

In this way, you can make sure the excess dye is used up and won’t harm the environment.

You can even dye each other’s hair to make sure you don’t miss any spots!

Please be aware however that the leftover, mixed dye (dye mixed with developer) should be used straight away, within an hour.

Opened hair dye expires quickly and will no longer be effective after an hour, plus it’s dangerous to store.

Once you’ve used up the hair dye, just rinse the bottle and pop it in your recycling container.

If you have unopened bottles of dye hanging around at home that you know you won’t use, it may be possible to donate them to a nursing home or assisted living facility.

They can use them to dye the hair of their residents. Just be sure to research such facilities in your area that would be willing to take these kinds of donations.

Use Natural Hair Dyes

Using a natural or plant-based hair dye is the best option if you want to avoid dealing with loads of chemicals altogether.

You could try a natural hair dye like henna, which as well as coloring the hair also conditions it, leaving it voluminous and glossy. Henna would also be a great alternative hair dye for dreadlocks.

And the great news is that any leftover henna can simply be thrown on your compost heap instead of going into hazardous waste.

Just remember to condition your hair properly after using henna.

You can use regular conditioner or oil, just don’t mix oil and henna together as the color won’t work as well. Add lemon juice or grapefruit juice with the henna dye.

Henna is messy though, admittedly. If you want something a little simpler, there are various plant-based hair dyes on the market which contain less harmful chemicals than traditional hair dyes.

These plant based dyes are better for the environment and also gentler on your hair.

You even try store cupboard ingredients to create natural, wash-out tints, by using chamomile tea or coffee, for example.

Speak to your hair colorist about natural, less damaging options for your hair coloring sessions.

Don’t Use All Your Unmixed Hair Dye And Developer At Once

This is another simple way to avoid having to dispose of excess hair dye in the first place.

You can try mixing colors, but don’t mix up all your hair dye and developer at once!

This especially goes if you have short hair, and you know beforehand that you won’t need to use all of the hair dye and developer that came in the pack.

Be aware, though, that once the containers are open, your unmixed dye and developer will start to oxidize slightly.

For this reason, manufacturers recommend using opened, unmixed containers within 6 weeks.

After that time, if oxidation has happened, you may get a darker color result when you next dye your hair.

Also Read: How To Bleach And Dye Hair In The Same Day (Must-Know Facts)

Diluting Excess Hair Dye

The last resort if you’re unable to reuse or donate is to dilute your excess hair dye or bleach with water before pouring it down the drain.

It is less harmful than pouring it down the drain neat but will still harm aquatic life.

Turn on the faucet then slowly pour the leftovers down the drain in your bathroom.

Once all the dye is down the drain, leave the water running for a minute before turning off the faucet.

Never dispose of excess hair dye or bleach down the sink without diluting it first. Hair dyes and bleach can pose a challenge to waste faculty workers, who often have a hard time filtering these products out of the water, making it unusable and toxic.

Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.

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Nicola Sloan

Nicola is a freelance writer and researcher whose specialisms lie in health and wellness, beauty, and psychology. She has fine, wavy hair and is a big fan of co-washing every alternate day between shampoos (as dry shampoo makes her sneeze!)