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Keep Calm & Rit On: Rebecca’s 4 Top Tips for Dyeing Black BLACK

This week I wanted to share how I always get a great, deep, rich black when I re-dye my favorite black pants.

We often find folks get frustrated that they cannot dye a dark enough black and, to be honest, this is a common issue for most dark dye colors. But getting the rich, dark color you want is simple if you know a few key things. So here are my four top tips for getting the blackest black!

  1. Stovetop
    This dyeing method allows me to get really hot water, and to keep it consistently hot, while easily monitoring my projects to make sure everything is getting dyed evenly.
  2. Hot Water
    Did I mention hot water? Rit Dye’s core colors love hot water because it helps the material’s fibers to relax and thoroughly absorb the dye.
  3. The Whole Bottle of Dye or more…
    The more dye, the deeper the color. When I dye a pair of pants I use a whole bottle of black in the dye bath. If I am dyeing more than one thing, I often add two whole bottles to the dye bath. Don’t hold back with black.
  4. Color Stay Dye Fixative
    Spraying or soaking my projects in Rit Color Stay Dye Fixative helps keep the vibrancy of the color after dyeing as well as minimizes in a BIG way any color bleeding in the rinse process and future washings (as in it keeps 2x as much color)! This is probably my ultimate secret weapon in keeping my black BLACK.

See how I dyed my faded black pants black again.

So, that sums it up. Four easy steps that keep my favorite black pants black. Now go dye your black clothes BLACK again!

Happy Dyeing!

   
  • Maria

    How long do I soak on washer ?

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hi Maria,
      You do not want to let the fabric soak. It needs to agitate for 30-60 minutes then be rinsed with cold water. Hope this is helpful!

      • Michelle

        Hi …. How do you use the newer machines to agitate for 30-60 minutes? It seems that the new machined can’t be reset without draining …

        • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

          Hi Michelle, You will want to choose the longest cycle possible. The longer it agitates the darker the color will be. Optimally, you want it to agitate for at least 10-30 minutes. Let us know if you have any other questions!

  • LesleyNZ

    Was disappointed this time with the black liquid Rit dye I used. I used 3 bottles of black in the washing machine with the hottest water (I added lots of boiling water to the machine) and did the wash cycle for ages. I thought it was unusual that you didn’t need to add salt. However after contacting Rit’s NZ distributors apparently it says somewhere on the side of the bottle to put a cup of salt in which I never saw (was told by NZ distributor that it is on the side of the bottle and not in washing machine directions which is what I read). The dye has not stayed in and has washed out already.$60.00 down the drain!!! Please put the advice that a cup of salt needs to be added WITH the washing machine or hand dye instructions. Rit people in NZ didn’t seem to care.

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hi LesleyNZ, We are so very sorry that we missed this issue last month. We would love the chance to be able to make things right with you. We have e-mailed you to get some additional information so that we can further assist you.

  • Robin DeMaio

    awesome-didnt see the fixative spray at the store though-in going to put a hold on this project until i find it. Thanks!

    • Robin DeMaio

      also-what about turning grey to black??

      • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

        Hi Robin, We are so so sorry that we missed your question last month. We would recommend trying Wal-Mart or any fabric or craft stores in your area to locate the Rit Color Stay Dye Fixative. Grey will dye to black very well as long as the fabric is dyeable. What is the fabric content of the material you are working with? We are very sorry for any inconvenience and feel terrible about missing your post.

        • Kathdo

          I have found that Walmart no longer carries the all purpose Rit dye.. They only carry the dyemore by me… and I could ONLY find the fixative at JoAnne fabrics.. I think Michael’s carries it but were out of stock

  • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

    Hi Caroline, Sorry to hear you did not get the results you were looking for. What happened to the pants? Did they not take any dye or was there another issue you encountered?

  • Kari

    How much water do I add to the black dye for stove top dyeing? How long do I soak my cotton shorts? I haven’t found fix it yet. Not at Meijers in Michigan.

  • Michelle

    I need to dye 3 white, 100% cotton sundresses BLACK! How do I do this so the color will be a true black, not grey and stay.

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hi Michelle,nThe best way to achieve black would be to use the stove-top method as it gives you a consistent hot (140-160 degrees) water temperature throughout the dyeing process. You can add 1 cup of salt to the dyebath to help achieve a more vibrant black. We recommend doubling the amount of dye that is recommended for the weight of the dresses as well. You will want to constantly agitate or stir the dyebath to help achieve an all over even color. If the dresses are new we recommend prewashing the dresses before dyeing. Hope this information is helpful.

      • Michelle

        If I wash them beforehand, will they shrink at all during the dye process?

        • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

          Hi Michelle, Because the dresses are 100% cotton, there is the possibility they may shrink during the dye process since hot water is required to activate the dye.n

  • Ronin

    I have tried recently to dye some material I bought at a thrift store , it was still on the bolt , I think it was some kind of poly blend .. Put in the washing machine the first time with 2 bottles of black dye , I ended up with purple material !!!
    Tried it again in the washing machine 2 more bottles & 2 packs .. This time I have a bluish grey color !!! I just wanted black for halloween !! 20.00 down the drain !

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hi Ronin, We are sorry to hear your dyeing experience did not go as planned. Polyester is a plastic fiber derived from oil and then washed in a permanent finish to create easy wash and wear. This process creates a moisture barrier which prevents Rit dye from penetrating. If the fabric is a blend that includes a dyeable fabric, the fabric will be tinted a light or pastel color, the higher the content of dyeable fabric, the deeper the resulting color will be. When dyed, polyester tints on the surface only. Thus the resulting light or off color. Sorry about that. You might try searching the internet for a polyester dye.

  • Sam

    I Have 2 Sweat Shirts That Are Black That havea Bleach Spots On Them. They Have A Decal On The Front . What Is The Best Way T Turn Them Black again

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hi Sam,
      Rit dyes are intended to dye fabric free of stains, wear and chlorine bleach damage. Sun fading or chlorine bleach may remove or lighten the fabric to an almost white fabric – a sign that the fibers have been damaged. These damaged areas will not dye. For best results, use Rit Color Remover to reduce the overall color, and then redye the garment. The dye and color remover product could potentially affect the decal on the item. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

  • Elwood

    I dyed some cotton / poly shirts black. I realize they won’t come out black, or even perfectly gray, but I keep ending up with purple. Is there some color I can add to counteract the purple?

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hello, How much do the shirts weight and how much dye are you using? Do you know what the temperature of the water is?

  • Michigan

    Read the directions people! If you want to get the best results for black, man up and use the stove top method. Read ALL of the directions on the bottle to see the best method for you project, ie. salt or vinegar. Then follow the directions!! Always works for me.

  • Claudia

    How can I dye my white jeans jacket to a very deep black? White jacket has 98% cotton 2% spandex in it. Can someone please help me? Thanks

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  • cheryl

    is it possible to dye a pair of pants in the 3 gallon tub with one bottle of black dye, and then dye another pair of pants after that in the same dye bath?

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hi Cheryl, When a dyebath is used, dyes are pulled from it. The dyebath can be re-used, but the color result will be lighter or an off-shade. Let us know if you have any other questions we can help you with.

  • Nadine Mundo

    Hello! I have a bright salmon / coral pink dress that is 100% rayon that I want to switch the color. I’ve tried bleaching it (2x) to turn it to a light rose pink but that doesn’t seem to be working. So I figure I’ll try to dye it a darker color, black, dark grey or even a dark blue. Do you have any advice for me? What color would work best for the original color of the dress? I don’t want it to be a purple color so please let me know the best way to go about it. Thanks!

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hi Nadine, Thank you for reaching out. The bleach could affect the results you achieve. We would suggest trying to use out Rit Color Remover to remove/reduce the color. The stove top method would work the best. You can then dye it any color you would like. If you want to overdye, Black would work to overdye the existing color, but may dye lighter due to the bleaching.

  • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

    Hi Stephanie, Thank you for reaching out. You can overdye the dress with Black. Be sure the water is at least 180 degrees for best results and use 1 bottle of dye per pound with an agitation time of at least 30 minutes.

  • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

    Hi Carolyn, Thank you for reaching out. You can mix black by the teaspoon in with the Navy Blue to achieve a darker hue. Unfortunately, there are so many variables in the dyeing process that if the items are not done all together there would not be a way to achieve the exact same shade on everything.

  • Leslie

    I tried dyeing a yellow Ikea slipcover that is 100% cotton and used the machine with 3 bottles of black and now I have a brown slipcover. I followed instructions to a T. Very disappointing.

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hi Leslie, Thank you for reaching out. We are sorry to hear that your project did not go as expected. So that we can further assist you with your project, we have emailed you some questions.

  • Marilyn

    I see you have a stainless steel sink…I have a white porcelain sink…will the stain water stain my sink?

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hi Marilyn, For dyeing in a sink, we only recommend using a stainless steel sink. You should not use a fiberglass or porous porcelain sink or bathtub because they could become permanently stained. Let us know if you have any other questions we can help you with.

  • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

    Hi Jackie, We have two different dyes to choose from, depending on the material. Our original dye, all-purpose Rit, dyes natural fibers well, such as cotton, rayon, ramie, linen, silk or wool. Our new synthetic dye, Rit DyeMore, dyes polyester, polyester blends, nylon, acrylic, acetate, and many plastics. Due to the percentage of polyester in the sweat pants, DyeMore would be the recommended dye to use. Graphite will dye 100% polyester dark gray and other fabrics black: http://store.ritstudio.com/rit-dyemore/ Instructions for using DyeMore can be viewed at: https://www.ritdye.com/techniques/the-basics/dyemore/ Rit color stay dye fixative is not required when using DyeMore. Let us know if you have any other questions we can help you with.

  • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

    Hi Jackie, For best results, use the color stay dye fixative immediately after dyeing, before rinsing and laundering. Rit offers step by step instructions for using DyeMore: https://www.ritdye.com/techniques/the-basics/dye-fixative/ Hope this helps!

  • Virginia

    I have a brand new black denim skirt that I wore once and washed. Unfortunately I was out of country and the water had enough bleach in it to fade the skirt and streak it brown. I want to re-dye it black, and have never done dyeing. What products do I need to get and how should I do it?

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hi Virginia, Rit dyes are intended to dye fabric free of stains, wear and chlorine bleach damage. Sun fading or chlorine bleach may remove, lighten or change the fabric color– a sign that the fibers have been damaged. Rit dyes may not be able to adhere to the damaged fabric. We have two different dyes to choose from, depending on the material. Our original dye, all-purpose Rit, dyes natural fibers well, such as cotton, rayon, ramie, linen, silk or wool. Our new synthetic dye, Rit DyeMore, dyes polyester, nylon, acrylic, acetate, synthetic blends and many plastics. We would suggest checking the fabric care label to ensure you are using the correct dye line for your project. If you are working with cotton denim, we would recommend following the instructions listed on the post you reviewed for dyeing black, black for the best chance of darkening the fabric. Let us know if you have any other questions we can help you with.

  • Kathdo

    How would you suggest to do black BLACK using the bucket method.. I need to dye at least 2 pair of 42″ waist jeans and do not have anything large enough to dye using the stove method.. I can boil water in 1 gallon pots, but not enough water for 2 pair of these jeans !!

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hi Kathdo, We would recommend adding boiling water into the bucket to ensure the water temperature is very hot in the beginning. You will want to make sure there is plenty of room in the dyebath for the jeans to move freely while being agitated for 30 to 60 minutes. It might be best to do each jean individually using 2 packages of powder or 1 bottle of liquid for up to 1 lb. of dry weight fabric in 3 gallons of water. If the water needs to be increased, also increase the dye amount. Let us know if you have any other questions we can help you with.

  • Daniel

    Hi, I have a black pants from cotton. Is it possible to turn them into white? Thanks!

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hi Daniel, Thank you for reaching out. Unfortunately, Rit does not offer a white dye or a fabric treatment that would take the pants to white.

  • Kavindi Perera

    Hi! Which black dye should I use to get the best results for pants that are 77% cotton, 21% polyester, and 2% elastane? (I want a deep black colour and am planning on using the stovetop method).
    Thanks.

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hi Kavindi, Than you for reaching out. Rit all-purpose black dye can be used to dye your pants since they only contain 21% polyester. Hope this helps!

  • Kim

    Hello, the video is very helpful. I will be trying this for the first time. My pants are a blend of polyester, viscose, and spandex. Which rid dye should I use? The rid dye advanced??

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hi Kim, Thank you for reaching out. Please provide the percentages of polyester, viscose and spandex in the blend. We can better assist you once we have this additional information. Thanks!

      • Kim

        64% polyester, 34% viscose, & 2% spandex

        • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

          Hi Kim, Thank you for providing the additional information. We have two different dyes to choose from, depending on the material. Our original dye, all-purpose Rit, dyes natural fibers well, such as cotton, rayon, ramie, linen, silk or wool. Our new synthetic dye, Rit DyeMore, dyes polyester, nylon, acrylic, acetate, synthetic blends and many plastics. Since the fabric contains a high percentage of polyester, DyeMore would be the recommended dye to use. DyeMore graphite will dye polyester dark gray and other fabrics black: https://store.ritstudio.com/rit-dyemore/ Unfortunately, it would not be possible to achieve a true black on the blend. Should you want to try using DyeMore graphite, instructions can be viewed at https://www.ritdye.com/techniques/the-basics/dyemore/ Let us know if you have any other questions we can help you with.

  • Emily

    Will the hot water shrink the pants?

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hello Emily,
      Thank you for reaching out. What type of fabric are the pants made from? What are the instructions on the fabric care tag? Please get back to us so that we may better assist you.

  • Damon Levine

    Hello,

    I will be dyeing a black cotton sweater. However, this sweater has a small white embroidered laurel wreath on the breast. Is there any way I can keep this small white laurel wreath white while dyeing the rest of the sweater black?

    Thanks,
    Damon

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hi Damon, Thank you for reaching out. Unfortunately, there would not be a way to protect the embroidered laurel wreath from being affected by the dye process. Sorry for the inconvenience.

      • Damon Levine

        Thank you for the follow up.

  • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

    Hello June,

    Happy Friday! We have two different dyes to choose from, depending on the material. Our original dye, all-purpose Rit, dyes natural fibers well, such as cotton, rayon, ramie, linen, silk or wool. Our new synthetic dye, Rit DyeMore, dyes polyester, nylon, acrylic, acetate, and many plastics, like ABS and poly-based plastics, beautifully. We would suggest checking the fabric care label to ensure you are using the correct dye line for your project.
     
    If you are working with fabric that is dyeable using Rit’s all purpose dyes, we would recommend using Rit color remover to take the fabric back to an off-white or cream color and prepare it for dyeing a new color. If you are working with a synthetic fabric, Rit color remover will not be able to remove the existing color so that you can dye it a new color.
     
    Please make sure what fabric you are working with and what your care tag states.

    Thank you,
    Rit Dye

  • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

    Hello Vicky,

    We recommend using the salt only since the percentages of your Rayon are higher than the Nylon. It depends upon the weight of the item you are dyeing. As a general guideline, one box of powder dye or 1/2 bottle (1/2 cup) of liquid dye will color one pound of dry weight fabric (about 3 yards of lightweight fabric). To obtain a lighter color, use less dye. For a darker or brighter color, double the amount of dye used. We recommend at least 1 bottle Rit All-Purpose Dye or 2 bottles Rit DyeMore for darker colors. You can estimate the weight of the item or use a food or home postal scale. For larger items, such as bedding or curtains, weigh yourself; then weigh yourself holding the item(s). The difference is the weight of the item(s). Hope this helps!

    Thank you,
    Rit dye

  • Jonna Doughty

    Hi. I have a dress I’d like to dye black (or a dark blue or purple); it’s a cotton-nylon blend, and is supposed to be washed in cold water only. Can the darker dye be done without hot water? It’s a brand new dress and I’d hate to shrink it before I ever get it the right color!

  • Lyme Stats

    Hello, I have a pair of medium grey pants that I tried to dye dark grey by using black dye for less time. The pants came out a dark burgundy! Do you have any suggestions on how to get it to a dark grey color? I purchased dark grey dye and both that color and the black color look purple when diluted. How can I get my pants to be colder grey color (and not burgundy!) Thanks.

  • BY

    I’m curious about the efficacy of re-dying in cases when the first dye doesn’t turn out dark enough. I have a vintage army shirt (classic olive drab green) that I dyed “black” yesterday. I used almost the full bottle, and let it soak nearly an hour in very hot water. The end result was nice and even coverage, but only resulted in a dark slate-gray, rather than the true black-black desired. Would it be worthwhile to attempt a second dye, or is there a maximum level of saturation/change that can’t be surpassed?

  • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

    Hello Sue,

    We would recommend using our Rit All Purpose dye. Here are some tips to better assist you: https://www.ritdye.com/techniques/the-basics/how-to-dye-101/.

    Thank you,
    Rit Dye

  • Lori Owen

    I have a pair of black tennis shoes that got bleach on them. I was wondering can I make a potent stronger formula using less water in Moore die, and just doing a spot die on them not the whole shoe?

  • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

    Hello Carmen,

    We have sent an email to the email provided. Please respond at your earliest convenience.

    Thank you,
    Rit Dye

  • Eliezer Santos

    hello there,
    I got a pair of pants I like so much that got damaged with bleach at the legs, The original color is grey. Will that be ok if a dye in absolute black?

    • Lisa

      Rit dyes are intended to dye fabric free of stains, wear and chlorine bleach damage. Sun fading or chlorine bleach may remove or lighten the fabric to an almost white fabric – a sign that the fibers have been damaged. These damaged areas will not dye. For best results, use Rit Color Remover to reduce the overall color, and then redye the garment.

  • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

    Helo Cathy, I am terribly sorry but there is no way to avoid dyeing the beads.

  • JillH

    I found a dress for a dance in the the color black but it was sold out in my size. They have a light pink version in my size. Can I buy the pink dress and dye it black? It’s a blush pink lace.

  • Amanda Bassin

    i want to dye a teal bridal dress black…do you think it will work?

 

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