Clothes get old and we are always recommended to re-dye them to give them a bright new coloration. Clothing made of natural fibers – such as cotton or silk – can be dyed much more effectively than synthetic fibers, such as polyester.

On the other hand, sometimes we want to turn a simple white flannel into a burst of color, personalize it to better reflect our style. Cotton is one of the fibers that best absorbs dyeDyeing cotton clothing is an extremely easy process, so don’t be afraid of damaging your clothing and wasting time and effort.

To dye your clothes at home you will need:

  • Plastic sleeve or newspaper
  • Rubber gloves
  • a big pot
  • Colorant (organic or chemical)
  • Fixative (in case of using organic dye)

Wash your clothes before dyeing them

The first step to properly dyeing clothing is washing it. The reason is simple: if your clothes are dirty, they will be covered in particles of all kinds of dirt such as dust, grease or other substances. This will cause the dyeing to be uneven and will leave traces that will tarnish the result. So before dyeing your clothes, try to wash them.

If the garment in question is white, you can add a bit of white dye, since pure white is a color that absorbs dye colors. Remember that you do not need to dry clothes before dyeing them.

Prepare the workspace

Since we are working with permanent stains, try to cover your work space with a plastic sheet or newspaper. Keep an old towel and baby wipes handy in case any water splashes out.

We also recommend using plastic gloves to avoid mistreating your hands, as well as keeping all products separate from each other, especially dye colors so that they do not mix with each other and do not stain the workspace.

Dyes to dye clothes: Organic or chemical?

Before dyeing cotton clothes, you have to choose the type of dye that we are going to use.  We can basically choose between two options.  

organic dye

Our ancestors also dyed clothes very easily, finding ideal colors in natural products. If you want to opt for a non – polluting and natural product, you can make dyes from:

  • Carrot (orange)
  • Beetroot (burgundy/purple)
  • Tea or coffee (brown)
  • Strawberries or berries (red/pink)
  • Artichoke or spinach leaves (green)
  • Paprika or curry (yellow/orange)

To get the color out of these products you just have to put them to a boil. The amount you use will depend on how strong you want the color and tone to be. After half an hour of boiling, the water should acquire the desired color.

Previously you must submerge the cotton garment in the colored water, submerge it in water with fixative. In this way the color will be more durable and brighter.

chemical dye

On the market you can find a wide range of powder dyes as   well as a wide range of colors that you can mix to achieve the desired tone. These dyes usually have very cheap prices.

To dye with chemical dyes, you usually have to dilute the powder in boiling water and put the clothes in for a minimum of one hour.

Soak the clothes in the dye

Whether you are following a dyeing process with organic dyes   or if you are following a method with chemical dyes, it is recommended to wait a minimum of one hour to soak in hot water. 

However, if you are looking for an intense color, try leaving the clothes on overnight. You will notice that the color will be less bright once the cotton piece is dry and after several washes necessary to remove any traces of dye.

Beware of color loss

Once we have finished with the soaking process of the garments, we will have to wash them at least two more times to remove the excess dye and leave them with their new color. However, you should take precautions.

Usually recently dyed pieces give off a lot of color in the first few washes. Try to wash them separately from other pieces so as not to dye garments that you do not want to dye and always in cold water, so that the color sets much better.

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