By Dianne Giancola
March 11, 2015
Do you have a pair of old blue jeans that are worn or the color has faded? Just about everyone does! Here at Rit we receive many questions about how to overdye jeans and give them a new look! So I did some testing and was happy with the results. I experimented with 4 different blue dye recipes. While the results are subtle, we were pleased with the even coverage over the worn and faded areas. The colors shown (Left to Right): Denim, Navy & Demim, Navy and Navy & Black. Here's how to make your blue jeans look new again!
Rit Products Used
You'll Also Need
Faded Cotton Blue Jeans
4-gallon plastic storage container for dyeing
large metal spoon
plastic table cover
Step By Step
These blue jeans were purchased at a UNIQLO store for the purpose of the test because they had white creases and worn areas. We wanted to see how well Rit would overdye all those areas. For best results, prewash jeans to remove any finishes that may interfere with dye absorption. Cover work surface with a plastic table cover.
As you know, there are many different shades of blue. Rit has a Denim Blue and a Navy Blue. And, of course you can always mix them or add Black to the dye bath. So I decided to test 4 different recipes. I had two pairs of jeans so I cut them in half lengthwise so I could test all the recipes. These are the jeans after dyeing. Looking left to right, the first color is Denim, next is a Demim & Navy combination, then Navy, then a Navy & Black combination. The colors are subtle, but if you look closely, you can see different shades of blue. Best of all, Rit dye covered all the white creases and worn areas for an even color.
Then my hubby offered his old worn out jeans for dyeing. So I cut each leg into 4 sections and tested each with the same recipes, using a little less dye. I was pleased to see how well the Rit dye covered the worn areas! Left to right: Denim, Navy & Denim, Navy & Black and Navy.
I also found a white pair of jeans in my stash and decided to test them as well. I cut the legs into 4 sections and tested each with the same recipe. Here are the results. I was pleased how well Rit covered the white jeans, achieving very similar subtle blue shades. Left to right: Denim, Navy & Denim, Navy & Black and Navy.
While jeans are still dry, weigh the jeans on a food scale, if possible. Otherwise estimate the weight. The weight helps to determine how much dye is needed. As a guideline, 1/2 cup dye will color up to 16 ounces of dry weight fabric. Men's jeans require more dye than ladies' jeans. For darker colors, we recommend doubling the amount of dye used.
For all the dyeing, I used a modified Bucket method so I could check the color frequently. The Stove Top method could also be used. Begin by heating water in several cook pots on the stove until it begins to boil. Gather your supplies. Wet jeans in warm water before dyeing.
Dye Preparation: Choose the color of blue you like. Shake all dye bottles before measuring. Follow one of the 4 recipes: For a Navy & Denim combination, use 1/2 cup Navy and 1/2 cup Denim. Add to dye bath; stir well. Test dye color to be sure you are satisfied. Note: If color is too light, add more dye. If color is too dark, add more water.
Immerse wet jeans into dye bath. Wearing rubber gloves, lift and move jeans, stirring constantly for the first 10 minutes and then occasionally for up to 30 minutes until desired color is achieved. Tongs are also helpful for lifting and lowering jeans. The longer the jeans remain in the dye bath, the darker the color will be. (Color will appear lighter when dry.) Stirring helps to ensure an even color.
To help reduce color bleeding and improve color retention, treat jeans with Rit Color Stay Dye Fixative immediately after dyeing and before rinsing. Remove jeans from dye bath and squeeze out excess dye. Fill container with 3 gallons hot water and add 4 Tablespoons dye fixative; stir well. Immerse jeans in fixative, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.