Techniques . Stovetop Technique
How to Dye Using the Stovetop Technique
Dyeing items in a cook pot on your stove is one of the simplest dyeing methods and is recommended when dyeing black and other dark colors because you can maintain a constant hot water temperature (about 140F). Rit works best in hot water as the hotter the water, the better the dye adheres to the item you’re dyeing. Make sure the item will fit in the pot with room to move freely as this will help the dye absorb evenly, and use an old pot you no longer cook with or clean the pot thoroughly afterwards with chlorine bleach.
- Item(s) to dye
- Rit Dye, liquid or powder
- Large 4-gallon stainless steel cook pot
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Salt or white vinegar
- Metal tongs
- Large metal spoon
- Rubber gloves
- Paper towels
- Fabric scrap for testing dye color (optional, can use paper towel)
- Dishwashing liquid
- Chlorine bleach
- Plastic table cover
- Old towel
Step by Step
Prewash item to remove any finishes that may interfere with dye absorption.
Protect work surface around stove with a plastic table cover.
Estimate the weight of the item to be dyed to determine how much dye to use. As a guideline, ½ bottle liquid dye or 1 box powder dye will color up to one pound of fabric.
Fill stainless steel pot with enough water for the fabric or item to move freely. Use 3 gallons of water for every 1 pound of fabric. Heat water so it simmers (just below boiling.)
Wearing rubber gloves, shake dye bottles. Use 1/2 bottle Rit liquid dye or 1 package of Rit powder dissolved in 2 cups of very hot water for each pound of fabric. For dark colors, double the amount of dye. Stir well.
Add 1 cup of salt for cottons or 1 cup of white vinegar for silk, wool and nylon along with a squirt of dishwashing liquid. Stir well. If possible, wait 5 minutes before adding salt or vinegar. This will help promote level dyeing.
Using a paper towel or scrap of fabric, test dye color to make sure it’s the shade you want. If color is too light, add more dye. If color is too dark, add more water.
Wet fabric or item with warm water, then squeeze out excess water. Smooth out wrinkles and add to the dye bath in your pot.
Bring the dye bath to simmer. Stir constantly — back and forth, and up anddown — for at least 30 minutes or until desired color is achieved. Make sure the item does not get twisted or tangled as this could cause uneven dyeing. Fabric color appears darker when wet.
Remove item from the dye bath and rinse thoroughly in warm water, gradually making the water cooler until all excess dye is removed and the water runs clear. Optional: To reduce color bleeding, use Rit Dye Fixative on cotton fibers immediately after dyeing, following instructions on bottle.
Wash item by hand in warm water with mild detergent and rinse thoroughly once again in cool water. Or, launder item in the washing machine with an old towel.
Hang to dry or run through dryer with like colors or an old towel.
Clean all materials used to dye immediately with chlorine bleach.
Caring for dyed items: For the first few launderings, wash item with an old towel or like color in cool to warm water with a mild detergent, rinse and dry.