Techniques . All-Purpose Dye 101
All-Purpose Dye 101
It’s easy to get started dyeing. It only takes seven simple steps to add color to your life and most everything you need is already in your house. Since most people start by dyeing fabric, our dye 101 outlines the basic steps for dyeing clothes. Rit dyes cotton, silk, wool and rayon best. It does not dye polyester well, but works fine for polyester blends so long as they’re less than 40 percent polyester. You can see more about what Rit dyes best in our FAQs.
- Fabric or item of clothing
- Rit Dye, liquid or powder
- Rubber gloves
- Plastic table cover or old newspapers
- Plastic bucket, container or large stainless steel soup pot
- Access to hot water and a stainless steel sink
- Paper towels
- Stainless steel tongs or long spoon (or wooden chopsticks left over from your last Chinese take out)
Step by Step
Fill a container halfway with the hottest tap water possible. Place the container on newspaper or plastic covering on your workspace. Keep paper towels nearby for any little drips.
Pour the Rit Dye into the dye bath and stir. The more dye the richer the color. You can add salt to the dye bath if you are working with cotton-based fabrics.
Wet the fabric you are going dye in the sink with regular water. This helps the dye take evenly on the fabric.
Place the fabric in the dye bath and stir it regularly with your tongs, spoon or chopstick for at least 10-30 minutes. The longer the item is in the dye bath, the darker the color. The fabric should be able to move freely in the dye bath to make sure the dye can penetrate the fabric completely.
When finished dyeing, rinse the item in your sink with cool water until the water runs clear.
Wash by hand with soap or in a regular cycle in the washing machine, then let hang or machine dry.
To clean up, simply pour the dye bath down the sink and wash out your sink and container with a regular cleanser like Pine Sol, Soft Scrub or 409. Rit is nontoxic and earth friendly.