Have you managed to drip or leave a trail of drops of bleach on your carpet? Don’t worry; it can happen to anyone. So what can be done? The bad news is that bleach permanently removes color. It’s G-O-N-E gone. The good news is that you’ll probably be able to replace the color so well that you’ll scarcely notice. Well, you may notice, but nobody else will.
As for the source of the replacement colors, you have several choices. Probably the best is an artist’s felt-tip pen. A good artist’s supply store will have an amazing assortment of several hundred colors available. The hardest part is trying to decide which color(s) to select. If you have a carpet remnant, bring it to the store. Watercolor paints also work and help you avoid a trip to a store if you have them at hand, but they are somewhat more time consuming.
To restore the color, the strategy is to err on the side of a color lighter than the surrounding unbleached carpet. Also, it’s best to dab on the colors in small dots. Your eye can be tricked by a few dots of color more easily than by a solid blob, so “less is better” definitely applies in this case. You’ll probably find that a combination of two or three colors will fool your eye better than a single one. This is especially true if the carpet is a blend of colors itself. Whatever method you choose, go easy. Practice on a remnant if you can locate one. On the real thing, start with the most inconspicuous spot, even though your impulse will be to tackle the most obvious one first.
Bear in mind that unless you use permanent aniline-dye marking pens, these repairs are profoundly temporary. They will fade in sunlight – maybe even moonlight – and will go away when you shampoo the carpet. Think of it as carpet cosmetics. Note: If this whole project gives you the jitters, call in a professional in a heartbeat.