How To Dye Clothes
How To Dye Clothes: Transform a plain white or light-colored garment by dyeing it a bright, vibrant hue. You can dye clothes using natural plant materials and chemical, store-bought dyes. The process is simple either way. Here’s what you need to do. If I was a betting woman, I’d put a good amount of money down on the fact that anyone reading this right now likely has an old, ratty white T-shirt buried at the back of their drawer. What was once a cute going out top then turned into a sleep shirt, then a workout top, and finally something you wouldn’t be caught dead in unless you were maybe painting your living room (completely alone, that is). But instead of putting it out to pasture, why not give it new life by way of a fresh dye job?
While learning how to dye clothes may feel like an intense undertaking (and, it’s worth noting, there are professionals out there who will do it for you) it’s actually a whole lot easier than it seems. Think of it as the grown-up version of summer camp tie-dye projects you loved as a kid, but with patterns that actually turn out the way you want them to. And not only will DIY dyeing help you create an entirely new wardrobe for yourself for like, $0, it’s also a sustainable (and chic) way to hold on to pieces that might have otherwise ended up in the garbage.
Use Color to Give Old Clothes a New Life
Start With the Right Garment
Start with a solid-colored garment first — you’re more likely to end up happy with your dyeing experiment.
Pay attention to the material. In my experience, natural fibers like cotton, linen, silk, wool, and ramie are the most dyeable. Most fabric blends will work too, including synthetics like rayon and nylon-fiber blends that are at least 60 percent dyeable fiber.
But some fibers just won’t accept the dye. You’ll have a tough time with anything that’s 100-percent acrylic, polyester or acetate.
Keep in mind that any plastic parts of the garment, like buttons and zippers, might not accept dye, either. So you’ll need to swap these out to match the new color of your garment. Or just embrace the contrast!
Choose the Right Dye
Depending on the brand, you’ll need to select your dye based on the fiber content of your garment.
For example, RIT dye is good for both natural and synthetic fibers, but iDye has separate formulas for natural and poly fabrics (for natural and poly blends you can use both formulas together). iDye also makes a dye specifically for items that will be laundered frequently.
You’ll also want to think about the dyeing method you’re planning to use. I prefer to dye things in the washing machine because I think the cleanup is a lot easier, so I try to avoid dyes that involve the stovetop.
Read the Directions
A little obvious maybe, but each brand of dye is a bit different, so mind the manufacturer’s instructions. That’ll help you get the color saturation you’re looking for.
Set Up Your Workspace
Have a plastic dropcloth or plenty of newspapers on hand, as well as paper towels to clean up any spills immediately. And be prepared to clean your sink and buckets or washing the machine right away to avoid staining and/or turning your entire wardrobe the same color (#dyefail).
Consider mixing a couple of shades of dye to create your own custom color, or layer a few different colors on top of each other — start with the lightest color dye for the best results.
Treat Your Dyed Items Right
It’s a smart idea to wash your freshly dyed items by themselves two or three times. That way, you won’t run the risk of residual dye bleeding into the other clothes in the machine and making your life a vaguely monochromatic mess.
How To Get Hair Dye Out Of Clothes
If you act fast, you can usually remove hair dye stains from clothes – but it’s much easier to prevent a stain than it is to remove it! Whenever you’re planning a home hair dyeing session, drape a couple of old towels around your neck, wear the gloves provided, and dress up in old, unwanted clothes if you can.
- Quickly pre-treat the stain with Surf Excel Liquid. Dab the detergent onto the stain and then gently massage it into the fabric. Let it sit for 10 to 30 minutes before rinsing with cold water. The sooner you start dye stain removal, the easier it will be, so act fast!
- Wash according to the care label instructions. Not sure what the label images mean? Check out our guide to wash care symbols for a helping hand.
- Check to see if the stains have disappeared. If not, there are two things you can do. If you’re working with a colorfast material, soak the item in a mixture of warm water and oxygen bleach overnight, then wash as normal. If the fabric isn’t colorfast, simply repeat the first two steps of this method as needed.
How To Remove Dye From Clothes
- Always act as soon as you notice a dye stain. The longer a stain has to set, the more difficult it is to remove.
- Read the garment’s care labels. These should indicate the correct water temperature and method for washing your clothing.
- Before you try to remove a dye stain, spot-test your stain remover solution on a hidden area of the stained fabric.
- Do not tumble-dry any stained clothes before you treat them, as the high heat can set the dye stain.
- If the dye stain was caused by a non-colorfast item in the load, make sure to remove that item and hang it to dry. Keep it separate from other clothing so it won’t stain again.