After the success of my first venture into carpet dye, I wanted to share the info so you can see the results for yourself and perhaps even try it out on your own car. The sample is a nearly 40 year old carpet from an Austin Princess which has some wear to the pile and a lot of sun fade. The colour was originally Paprika which is quite vibrant and I wanted to keep it bright rather than going for plain black. If you want to go black there's plenty of other products in the UK on the market that will do that. For bright colours, there isn't a lot of choice and the product I went with is an American product called Simply Spray.
You can buy the product here: https://www.fabricspray.co.uk/ or on eBay by searching for Simply Spray. The colour samples shown are fairly accurate though the colour of carpet you're spraying will affect the final colour a little. It looks like this.
The Princess carpet is just shy of four square metres so I bought 3 cans which have a stated coverage of 1.5 square metres. Considering how badly faded the carpets were I erred on the side of caution and this proved sensible as I did use all three cans.
The carpet looked pretty bad, it would be an excellent test for this product. The pile for the most part was in good condition, there were no tears or burns. The worst of the damage really was chronic sun fade and some staining.
Once inspected and found to be sound I spray some water in various places to check the carpet was absorbent. This is important as the product is stated as requiring an absorbant surface to work so if your carpet has a stain guard or similar and the water beads and rolls off it's not going to take the dye. After that, it was time to shampoo the carpet to get it as clean as possible since there's no point dying dirt. I used a household Vax machine and the fluid pictured. It didn't take very long at all to clean up the carpet.
I then left it to dry in the spare room with the dehumidifier running. I would have preferred to leave it to dry outdoors in the sunshine but the weather didn't permit that. After a couple of days everything was dry and ready for the next stage. It also allowed me to see exactly how much the colour had faded and changed, in some places it was quite brown and in others nearly white. Hidden edges showed the original colour, or something very close to it, which is what I was aiming for.
The first coat is very light, little more than a dusting. The cans are uncomfortable to use, the triggers are an odd design, and generally I found it best to spray as you would with an aerosol (press for the pass, and release before the next pass) for the first pass but then just keep the trigger pressed and keep moving for the second and third passes. On the first pass the sun-faded areas disappeared very quickly and on the second pass the colour started to even out nicely. Here the top piece has had two coats, the bottom has only been cleaned, not dyed. I will note the camera is slightly misleading, once the dye started to get uniform my camera struggled to focus and ended up taking a slightly over-saturated picture, the colour match was fairly close to the original in reality.
On the first coat work in one direction. For the second coat, turn your piece 90 degress and again work in one direction. This gives a very even coverage and prevents blotching and stripes.
You ideally need to leave 24 hours between coats. The first pass seemed to take the longest to get to touch dry but subsequent passes were fairly rapidly drying and able to be moved without dye transfer in 2-3 hours. After two coats and some drying time the colour mellowed from the initial brightness and was looking very good. This piece has a stain that wouldn't come out fully and is just visible as ghosting in this shot.
The other minor marks and discrepencies in colour are all gone with two coats.
Once I'd got two coats on most of the carpet I took a comparison picture with the piece I hadn't yet dyed. The difference is quite remarkable.
The third and final coat evened the colour out completely. I masked off the heel mat and the steering column collar with regular masking tape so they wouldn't be dyed. Some dye did bleed under the very edges of the tape in a couple of places but the dye didn't stick so could be wiped off for a nice clean finish. I didn't want those bits matching, I wanted to retain a more factory look.
The end result leaves the carpet slightly stiffer than when you started but as it's handled this stiffness does go away. I haven't experienced any dye transfer on clothing or hands while manhandling the carpet into place in the car. I've not experienced any dye rubbing off either. How UV stable it is will become apparent over time though it does state it has some UV protection. I'm very happy with the end result and for an investment of about £35 and a few hours of labour effectively spread over a long weekend (most of the time is waiting for stuff to dry) it's a very affordable solution in place of getting a new carpet.
Now, I just need to finish sorting out the rest of the interior.