Using dye to update your clothes can be a great way to change the look of something you rarely wear, something stained, or something that’s not quite the color you had hoped for. Depending on what color you want and which route you want to take, it can be a very quick and easy process.
In the past week I have dyed two pairs of pants using Rit dye, one powder and one liquid. I started with white pants both times, one pair was cotton (recommended) and the other was a poly-blend (not recommended). ••Update: learn to redye your faded jeans.••
The reason is because dying your clothes is a chemical reaction, and the color molecules attach better to “real” fabrics, like cotton, instead of synthetics like polyester. Nevertheless, it’s totally possible to dye polyester, but it won’t be as deep of a color as cotton, and it’s a little harder to do.
1. Identify the item(s) of clothing you want to dye.
2. Decide what color(s), and get the dye needed for those colors. Check out Rit’s website for their recipe guide if you want to mix colors together, or you can do what I did and wing it.
3. Decide if you’re using your washing machine (super easy), bathtub (don’t do it), or plastic tub (like a big washbin).
I used the washing machine both times. The dye won’t gunk it up, and as long as you follow the instructions, it’ll clean out.
4. This is the fun part: prep your clothes. Make sure there isn’t anything in the pockets and they are unbuttoned (that’s my preferred dying process). Then, submerge them in water (elsewhere, like in the bathtub if you’re using the washing machine). The Rit directions say the clothing needs to be wet to begin with.
5. Prepare your dye bath. Use the HOTTEST water possible that is still safe for the fabric (I went with warm, which is really hot in an apartment like ours). Use just enough water to cover your garment. If you use too much, it will dilute the dye.
6. Pour the dye in with the water, but DON’T add your clothing yet. You want to let the water fill in before you do.
7. Add your clothes! (they should still be wet from step 4).
8. Reset the wash cycle so it takes about 30 minutes. If you’re not using a washing machine and instead using a basin or tub, you need to constantly stir your clothing for 30 minutes. So, invest in a stick or something (don’t use your hands! They will stain!).
9. Once the wash cycle is done, set it to rinse once more time. Then, wash the clothing in a normal cycle with detergent and dry as normal.
10. You need to “wash” one more cycle through your washing machine, even though nothing is there. It’s recommenced to use a cup of bleach and the hottest water possible to get any remaining dye out. I did neither and my machine is fine, so it’s up to you, just be prepared for the possibility of leftover dye if you do nothing.
Yay! Now you’ve dyed your clothes! (Be careful washing them in the future, it’s possible for the color to bleed!)
My tips and suggestions:
I like liquid dye better. Why? Because somehow I breathed in the powder dye and had blue nostrils and snot for DAYS. Gross.
You can add a cup of salt to aid in the dying process, but I didn’t. Has anyone tried this? Did it work?
The poly-blend pants I chose to dye did work, although they said dry-clean only! I wouldn’t reccommend trying to dye something you can’t live without. Start small and work your way up to something crazy!
There is a product that helps remove color from your clothes before you dye them, if you need. I found it at Michaels along with the clothing dye.
Any questions or comments? I am by no means an expert, but am just trying to share how I did it.