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The ultimate guide on how to dye clothes at home

Want to add a splash of color to your wardrobe? Read on to discover our easy guide for how to dye clothes at home in these simple steps.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Written by Eunice Samson

colorful clothes

Key steps

  1. Check your fabric will take on the dye.

  2. Always wash your clothes in a warm cycle first.

  3. Once dry, check the fit.

  4. Choose your dye, whether commercial or homemade.

  5. Dye your clothes in the washing machine.

  6. Rinse well to remove excess dye.

  7. Wash with a good detergent like Breeze.

  8. Air dry and wear with pride!

When clothes become faded or stained or you're sick of seeing the same old white tee, why not add some color with our guide on how to dye clothes. With these top tips and a step-by-step guide, we‘ll show you just how easy it is to bring new life to your old clothes.

Dyed your clothes in the washing machine? Don’t forget to use our guide for how to clean your washing machine after to ensure you don’t dye your next laundry load too!

DIY dyeing clothes at home: A step-by-step guide

Whether you want to know how to dye pants black after them becoming stained, or you simply want to refresh your wardrobe with a new splash of color, we’ve got you covered with these easy steps:

  1. The first step is to understand which fabrics will work best for dyeing. Here’s a simple list to help you find out whether dyeing will work for your fabric:

    • Cotton: yes! Cotton will take dyes easily.

    • Nylon or rayon: whilst these are synthetic materials, they are porous and likely to be easily dyed.

    • Silk: whilst this will take on the dye, in the process, it often shrinks, pulls and loses its luster.

    • Linen: this is another material which will shrink despite taking on the dye.

    • Wool: this will take on the dye but take care as it could lead to shrinking and pulling.

    • Polyester and acetate: these need to be dyed at high processing temperatures above 536°F, so it’s unlikely you'll be able to achieve the desired effect at home using safer temperatures.

    • Avoid dying any products which are designed to be water repellent or resistant.

  2. Once you have established your material is OK to dye, make sure you wash it on a warm, gentle cycle.

  3. After washing and drying, check the fit. This will help to ensure that the clothing will survive the dying process and still be wearable for you.

  4. Next, you want to choose your dye. There are two options: a pre-formulated dye, or a homemade one. If you wish to make your own, here are a few tips for creating DIY black fabric dye, and other colors you may desire:

    • Orange: carrot root or turmeric

    • Brown/black: beetroot or coffee grinds

    • Pink: cherries or strawberries

    • Blue: blueberries or blackberries

    • Red: pomegranate seeds

    • You should note that these may not provide you with the best results, as one batch of fruit will have a different color result to the next. For tie-dye, this may not matter!

  5. Now it’s time to dye your clothes! For pre-formulated dye always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, however, you can find a rough guide below.

  6. To dye in the washing machine follow these steps:

    • Wet your fabric and place it into your washing machine.

    • Mix your dye with four cups of hot water, stirring well.

    • For natural fabrics such as cotton or linen, you need an additional mix. Dissolve a cup of salt in four cups of hot water.

    • When dying silk or nylon you will need an additional mix of a cup of white vinegar mixed with two cups of hot water.

    • Pour your dye into the detergent dispenser, followed by the additional mix as mentioned above.

    • Add an additional four cups of hot water to flush it through.

    • Wash for half an hour on your hottest setting.

    • Don’t forget to thoroughly clean your washing machine afterwards, before using it for laundry.

  7. Rinse your clothing properly to remove any excess dye which has not set into the fabric.

  8. When necessary, wash your new clothes using a good quality detergent such as Breeze.

  9. Leave to dry and wear with pride!

So, whether you’ve come here for a guide on how to dye pants which are stained, or you just want to give new life to your old white tees, you now have everything you need, right here! Just have fun and enjoy your newfound splash of color.

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Frequently asked questions on dying clothes

Can I dye clothes in a washing machine?

Yes, you can dye clothes in a washing machine. Use a dye specifically made for machine dyeing and follow the instructions carefully. Run an empty cycle with hot water and bleach after dyeing to clean the washing machine.

How can I prevent the dye from bleeding or fading?

To prevent the dye from bleeding or fading, use a high-quality dye made for the type of fabric you are dyeing, add salt or vinegar to the dye bath to help set the color, and avoid washing the garment too frequently or with harsh detergents.

Can I dye clothes that have already been dyed?

It depends on the original color and fabric of the garment. Some fabrics and colors may not take dye well or may produce unexpected results. Test a small area before dyeing the entire garment.

Originally published