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Home . Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled nearly a century of dyeing knowledge into the answers for these frequently asked questions. Browse or search by dyeing category, Rit Dye product, dye color or dyeing technique to find the answer you seek. We also give step-by-step instructions on how to dye using various methods, materials and creative techniques in our techniques section. And you can also always contact us. Our team is on call seven days a week.

Colors (6)

Can colored or printed fabrics be dyed?

Yes, colored and printed fabrics can be dyed. It’s a technique called over-dyeing. The existing fabric color will greatly affect the finished color results and the rules of color mixing apply. For example, dyeing an item that is pink with royal blue can produce purple. When dyeing a print, it is important to choose a dye color that will effectively change the background color as well as the colors of the pattern. It’s also important to note that a print cannot be turned into a solid color via overdyeing.

Can I dye a black garment to white?

No, sorry, there are no white dyes available. At best, you can remove the black color using Rit Color Remover. This will bring the color to an off-white or cream color. If the garment is cotton, then you could launder it with detergent and 1 cup of bleach to lighten the color.

Can I change the color of a garment by over-dyeing it with a new dye color?

It really depends on the color of your garment. Many lighter colors can be dyed to a darker color. However a dark color, such as black, cannot be over-dyed to a lighter color, like yellow. To do this, you must first remove the dark color using Rit Color Remover. This will bring the item to an off-white or cream color. Then, you can dye it a lighter color.

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Dyeable Fabrics and Materials (37)

What WILL Rit Dye?

Rit All-Purpose Dye will dye:

  • Washable fabrics containing natural fibers: cotton, linen, wool, silk and ramie
  • Synthetic fibers: Nylon
  • Fabric shoes: cotton canvas sneakers and satin shoes made of silk
  • Unfinished wood and wicker: furniture, picture frames, moldings, shutters, wicker baskets, straw, rattan and sisal squares
  • Natural dried plants and pine cones: dried cornhusks, milkweed, goldenrod, thistle, foxtails and pine cones
  • Paper: watercolor paper and newspaper for papercrafts and cardmaking
  • Miscellaneous: unfinished clay, cement, cork, feathers, fabric lampshades, paraffin (powder dye only), cotton and nylon rope, sand and seashells
  • Food for crafts: dried beans, eggshells, seeds and macaroni

Rit DyeMore will dye:

  • Washable fabrics made of synthetic fibers: 100% polyester, polyester/cotton blends, nylon, acrylic and acetate.
  • Nylon-based plastics: buttons, fasteners, golf balls, lacrosse sticks and nylon 3D printing filaments
  • Some additional plastics: Legos

Find instructions on how to dye specific materials in the following questions and in our dyeing techniques.

What will Rit NOT dye?

  • Fiberglass, spandex, and metallic fibers
  • Fabrics with severe bleach or stain damage, rubber backings or special finishes, such as waterproof or stain resistant
  • Fabrics labeled washable only in cold water or “dry clean only”
  • Polycarbonate plastics (such as eyeglass frames and lenses)

Should new fabrics or garments be washed before dyeing?

For best results, always prewash an item before dyeing. This helps to remove any finishes or sizing that may interfere with dye absorption. Never use fabric softeners. Prewashing helps the fabric to absorb the dye evenly and results in a more accurate color.

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Dyeing Specifics (31)

How do I determine how much dye I need?

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).

How does Rit Liquid Dye differ from Rit Powder Dye?

There is no difference in terms of color or dye performance. The liquid dye is already dissolved in water and more concentrated than the powder dye. So you only need to use half as much when using the liquid dye. Also, since the liquid dye is pre-mixed, this eliminates the need to dissolve the dye in hot water as you need to do with the powder dye before adding it to the dye bath. As a guideline, one bottle of Rit liquid dye is equivalent to two boxes of Rit powder dye.

How do you prepare the powder and liquid dye for dyeing?

The powder dye must be completely dissolved before adding it to the dye bath. We recommend mixing the pack of powder dye in 2 cups of very hot water and stirring until it is fully dissolved. Before measuring or pouring the liquid dye, always shake the bottle vigorously to mix the dye.

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Products and Purchase (19)

What is Rit Dye?

Rit is an easy to use, nontoxic dye that can dye most fabrics and other materials such as wood, paper and nylon-based plastics. It comes in two forms: Rit All-Purpose Dye and Rit DyeMore.

Rit All-Purpose Dye is Rit’s original dye. It dyes natural fibers, such as cotton, wool, silk, linen, and ramie, along with other materials like wood, feathers and rope. It’s available in 31 colors in liquid and powder form, though not all colors are available in both forms. These 31 colors can be mixed together to create hundreds of other custom colors.

Rit DyeMore originated in 2015. It dyes synthetic fibers, like 100% polyester, polyester/cotton blends, nylon, acrylic and acetate. It also dyes nylon-based plastics, such as buttons, golf balls, lacrosse heads and other plastics, like Legos. It comes in 12 colors in liquid form. These colors can be mixed together to create even more custom colors. However, DyeMore cannot be combined with All-Purpose Rit to create new colors as they are different dye formulas.

Can I use the Color Perfect applicators with my other Rit Dye bottles?

Color Perfect dyes were designed for use on dye projects directly from the bottle. They have been diluted to the perfect dye to water ratio and can also be used at room temperature.

The applicators for the Color Perfect dyes were designed specifically to be used in these pre-diluted dye solutions, not for the concentrated traditional Rit Dyes. Use of the applicators with the traditional, concentrated Rit Dyes could cause clogging or a less than optimal dye effect.

If you have an issue with any applicator, we will be happy to replace it free of charge. If possible we would also ask if you could send in the malfunctioning applicator so we can learn where the malfunction occured in order to prevent further issues in the future.

What is Rit Dye made of?

Rit dyes are a combination of various acid, disperse and direct dyes along with sodium chloride. These various dye classes are used so that Rit may dye a wide variety of fabrics and materials.

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Storage, Fabric and Laundry Care (22)

How should dyed items be cared for?

It’s best to wash your dyed item by itself for the first few times after dyeing in cool water with a mild, non-bleaching detergent. Or, launder in the washing machine with same color items or an old towel with cool water and a mild detergent. Rinse and dry. Silk items and other delicate items can be dry cleaned or laundered.

How do I use Whitener and Brightener in a front-loading washing machine?

These instructions walk you through how to use Whitener and Brightener in a front-loading washing machine.

  1. Select water level suitable for load size. Choose wash cycle appropriate for fabric, using longest wash time available. Select hottest water safe for fabric. Be sure to follow the fabric care label.
  2. Wet fabric in warm water. Smooth out fabric and add to washer; Carefully pre-dissolve Whitener & Brightener into 4 cups hot water and add during fill cycle with detergent. (Avoid breathing dust; use with adequate ventilation.)
  3. Flush dispenser with 4 cups hot water.
  4. Run through a full cycle.
  5. Rinse in cool water.
  6. Wash in warm water with detergent.
  7. Dry in dryer or air dry.
  8. Clean washer with hot water and detergent.

Will the use of Rit dyes in any way weaken my fabric?

No. There is absolutely nothing in Rit Dye that can in any way weaken, harm or deteriorate any textile fiber.

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Techniques (7)

What method of dyeing should I use if I’m trying to match a color?

For Rit All-Purpose Dye, we recommend the Sink or Bucket method of dyeing when mixing dyes to create custom colors. It’s also a very easy way to dye a shirt or pair of jeans. The secret is to heat your water on the stove to a very hot temperature (140-160F degrees) then pour it into a sink, bucket or dishpan for dyeing. After adding the dye, you can test the color with a paper towel or a scrap of white cotton fabric and make adjustments to the color before immersing your item in the dye bath.

For Rit DyeMore, the concept is the same but mix the colors in a pot on the stove and dye using the stovetop method at 180-220F.

How do I remove color from fabric so I can re-dye it?

Rit Color Remover will remove or reduce the color from most fabrics. This will bring the fabric to an off-white or cream color. Then the fabric can be re-dyed a new color. If the fabric has a pattern such as a print or stripes, Color Remover will not remove the pattern. The pattern will most likely show through after being dyed.

What method should I use to dye my jeans?

We would recommend the Sink or Bucket method when dyeing jeans because you can check the color frequently and get just the shade you desire. A large plastic container or a dishpan is easy to use when dyeing jeans. Jeans can also be dyed successfully in the washing machine.

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