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The Rit Studio: Stovetop Technique

How to Dye Using the Microwave Technique

This is a fast, easy dyeing technique for small items. Rit works best in hot water and the heat from the microwave speeds up the dyeing process, heating the water so the dye absorbs quickly into the fabric. Dyeing in the microwave works well for tie-dyeing, wax-less batik dyeing, dye painting, dyeing paper and marbling up to one yard of fabric. Avoid dyeing heat-sensitive fibers, such as rayon, wool and very sheer nylon, and never dye anything containing metal, such as zippers, snaps and studs, in the microwave. Unlike other techniques, it is not necessary to use salt or vinegar.


Prep, dye and clean up time: About 30 minutes

You’ll Need

  • Item(s) to dye
  • Rit Dye, liquid or powder
  • Microwavable 4-8 cup container,
    such as a glass bowl, glass measuring cup, Mason jar or plastic container
  • Plastic wrap
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Spoon for stirring dye
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic table cover
  • Old towel

Step by Step

  1. Prewash item to be dyed to remove any finishes that may interfere with dye absorption.

  2. Protect work area with a plastic table cover.

  3. Fill microwave safe container with very hot water, enough to cover your item (4-8 cups).

  4. Wearing rubber gloves, shake dye bottle and measure ½ cup liquid dye. Pour into the hot water in the microwave safe container; stir well. If using powder dye, dissolve 1 package of dye in 2 cups of very hot water; stir well. Pour into the water in the microwave safe container; stir again.

  5. Wet item in warm water; squeeze out excess water.

  6. Immerse item into dye bath and gently push down with a spoon so it is completely covered by the dye. Cover container with plastic wrap. If dye-painting or wax-less batik dyeing, wrap fabric in plastic wrap, sealing the outer edges.

  7. Line bottom of the microwave with paper towels to protect against spills. Place container in microwave and set on high for 1-2 minutes. Check after 1 minute to be sure plastic is not melting as the power of microwaves varies. If dyeing nylon, only heat it for 15-30 seconds, and not for longer than 1 minute, as it is very heat sensitive. Watch fabric closely while doing this.

  8. Wearing rubber gloves, carefully remove the container from the microwave. The plastic wrap will be hot so wait a few minutes for it to cool.

  9. Remove plastic wrap and remove item from the dye bath. Rinse thoroughly in cool water until the water runs clear.

  10. Wash item in warm water with mild detergent and rinse thoroughly once again in cool water.

  11. Hang to dry or run through dryer with like colors or an old towel.

  12. Clean microwave safe container with soap, water and chlorine bleach.

Try our FAQs, or Ask The Dye Doctor

  • ValT

    I’m using heavyweight non-woven interfacing as part of a project to sew three dimensional centerpieces. I believe the material is 100% polyester. Will RIT dye work in the microwave to dye the interfacing, so I have no white edges peeking out from between fabric layers? polyester, so I

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hello, Traditional dyes will not work on polyester, however, we have a new product called Dye More that would work to color the polyester fabric. We suggest using the stove top method. Dye More can be found online or at Hobby Lobby. Hope this helps!

  • Bessie

    Why would you need to clean the container with bleach?!




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