MR2 Carpet Restoration

The floormats in my MR2 are now 33 years old and are showing signs of wear:

with heavy fading on the most worn areas near your feet. They’re originally supposed to be a dark black color but now resemble an ugly green/grey shade. So following the advice of a friend who does car restorations I undertook a venture to re-dye my floormats black again. I will let the results speak for themselves:

 

 

The floormats are a nice rich black color now. The steps and materials required to do this are pretty simple, but I would recommend a good pair of chemically resistant gloves unless you like having your hands dyed a nice shade of black.

Supplies Needed:
  1. 1 Container of Rit dye per gallon of water.
  2. 1 Cup of salt per gallon of water
  3. 1 Cup of vinegar per 3 gallons of water
  4. 1 Teaspoon of laundry detergent per bottle
  5. Large bucket/tin/barrel to put mats in so that they can preferably lay flat and be covered by the dye mixture
  6. Weights or equivalent to weigh down carpet
  7. (optional) A fan/Drying rack
Steps:
  1. Take out your carpets and give them a good cleaning. Preferably in the same bucket you’re about to use to dye them in. Warm water, a light brush, and laundry detergent work well here to get any long held dirt out of the carpets. Brush gently and rinse to get as much dirt out as possible. If you have an industrial size washing machine you can use that but it’d need to be pretty big 🙂 . Set aside mats while you prepare your dye mixture.
  2. On your stove bring 75% of the amount of water you need to a boil and then take it off the stove. Dissolve the salt in the water. Add the hot water to the bucket you’re using. Add in the vinegar, detergent, and for the rest of the water its ok to use hot water from your faucet (it’s not always practical to have 15 gallons of scorching hot water ready to go so getting 10 and having your heater do the rest works as a stopgap).
  3. Add in the dye bottles. There should be some light foaming and it should smell vaguely of vinegar. Mix for a minute.
  4. Add in your carpets. Lay the rubber side down and the other mat’s carpet to make a carpet-carpet sandwich.  Your mats may want to float so weigh them down with either weights, or whatever you have on hand to weigh them down.
  5. Wait a week for the dye to fully work. Yes a whole week, the longer we dye the less likely it is for there to be fading or bad absorption.
  6. When you are ready safely take the mats (warning they will be dripping with black dye) and leave them to bake in the sun for a day or two to help the dye prefade and set.
  7. Depending on the outside temperature your carpets may still be wet but should now be slightly white from the dried salt on the surface. Now you can rinse off the mats, making sure that all of the dye is out of the carpets and the water runs clean. It helps to gently brush the carpets to squeeze out some of the dye as you’re washing. Some small amount of dye will be left but as long as the water runs clear from the entire length of your mats it should not be an issue.
  8. Take your now dyed carpets and set them up to dry. A dehumifier box works well for this. Or living in a really sunny place. Or engineering a drying rack with cups and the lid from the box you used to dye the carpets:

 

And that’s it. In a week and a half you should have carpets that look oem color with minimal effort and hopefully only a few ruined sets of clothes. Have fun!

 

 

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