About a month ago I was unpacking from a trip home when I realized that a leaky printer cartridge had gotten tangled in my heap of clothes. I had large pools of black ink on a favorite mint green sweatshirt & a grey pair of leggings. I decided to immediately throw the clothes in a bucket of bleach water. At least I could salvage them if I could remove most of the black ink & then dye over with a bold color.
I am new to dyeing clothing–so this was an experiment. A very wonderful, easy , inexpensive experiment that transformed my clothes to a nice purple color. I picked up some Rit liquid dye for $6.85 on Amazon.com. There were some basic instructions on the bottle, but more helpful instructions on their website. I decided to use the washing machine method because people online said it was easy, it works, and it does not permanently stain your washer.
I did get nervous beforehand and I should not have. As long as you wear a pair of gloves and run a cycle in the washer with 1-2 cups of bleach when you are done–you will have no issues. Rit has clear instructions on their website for picking the load size, how much dye to use, etc… Even though I was using 1 bottle of dye for my clothing I chose the small load size because we have a super sized washer.
You will need:
- 1 cup of table salt or vinegar per project, depending on material. **Use Salt for cotton, rayon, linens, or blends, Use Vinegar for nylon, silk or wool.**
- old stained towels to throw in the clean-up bleach cycle
- Pre-wash clothes
- Determine amount of dye needed by weight of clothing
- Fill your washing machine with hot water (enough for the clothing to be able to move freely) and set to an extended cycle.
- Shake your bottle of dye & add to water.
- Wet your clothing in hot water and then add to dye water.
- Add in 1 Tablespoon of detergent.
- Close lid & allow washer to agitate for 5 minutes.
- Stop cycle and add 1 cup of salt to the dye water.
- Allow the water to sit for 5 minutes.
- Agitate 5 minutes and rest 5 minutes two more times.
- Allow the cycle to complete.
- Wash the freshly dyed clothes with detergent in warm water with a cold rinse.
- Place clothes in dryer or hang to dry.
- To clean the washer: * Run one more large cycle with hot water, 1-2 cups of bleach, and detergent (using old towels.) * Use one of the old towels to clean the undersides of the “fins” in the center of the washer with the bleach water before it starts to agitate.
I really enjoyed trying this–it makes me want to pick up some black dye to refresh a couple of shirts! It was easy & painless. I had no permanent staining in the washer or in subsequent loads, but I did clean up immediately. If you are thinking of dyeing in the washer–give it a try! I love the color I got from just one bottle of purple. It covered the pants and shorts completely and the black stain on the sweatshirt is barely noticeable now.