Stay up to date with every post!


Receive one email a month with links to our most popular DIY, fashion and decor content. Sign up below.

August 04, 2015

Everything You Wanted to Know About Dyeing, But Were Afraid to Ask

Hello all! Jillian here! Some of you may know me from my blog, ReFashionista where I transform thrift store castoffs from frumpy to fabulous.  🙂


Hey! It’s me!

Before we even get started with the subject matter at hand, let me just say how stoked (Yes, stoked) I am to be blogging here at The Good Life! Anyone who knows me knows I’m huge fan of Goodwill…both their stores and the awesome work they do in our community.  🙂

But enough of that. It’s time to talk about dyeing.

No no no! Not THIS!

Get those morbid thoughts out of your head!

Get those morbid thoughts out of your head!

But this!

Taste the Rainbow (actually don’t…dye is pretty toxic)!

Taste the Rainbow (actually don’t…dye is pretty toxic)!

One of my favorite tricks for making an old garment look new again is to dye it. I usually do this in my washing machine. Instructions on how to dye vary by brand, but if you follow them, you can end up with some pretty great results.




I get lots of questions about dyeing my thrifted finds.  Let’s address some of them, shall we?

Q:  I see you dye a lot of stuff in your washing machine.  Doesn’t that stain it? How do I clean it out?

A:  Don’t worry! You’re safe!

The washing machine method is indeed my fave, and I have yet to stain one (my current landlord is resting easy right now)!  The instructions on the bottle (or box if you choose) tell you what to do.  Once you’re done dyeing/rinsing your future refash, just run the machine on its hottest/fullest setting with detergent and bleach.  If some of the dye got on the lid of the machine, just wipe it off with a paper towel and household cleaning spray.  BAM!  Done!  🙂

It'll come out, I swear!

It’ll come out, I swear!

Q:  How do I know what color I’m going to end up with?

A:  You really don’t.

Well…not entirely.  A lot depends on the fabric.  Natural fibers, like cotton take to dye really well, whereas synthetic fibers like polyester or rayon barely take dye at all.

To get something to take on as much color as possible, make sure you’re dyeing it with as hot of water is safe for the fabric and try to make the dye bath as long as possible (at least 1 hour).

You’ll never be able to dye a pink polyester dress black, but you might be able to get it to turn a purple hue.  So play around a little!  Mix & Match!  Surprise yourself!

Or, if you’re feeling less adventurous, RIT has made a Color Formula Guide just for you! 🙂

Q:  Will dye cover up stains?

A. Sadly, no.  :/  

As you can see in the pic below, dye usually just makes them stick out even more, as they usually end up darker than the the rest of the fabric.



Q:  What other dyeing methods should I give a try?

A:  Omigosh…the sky’s the limit, folks!

You could try a funky jar dye, like Erica over at Recycled Fashion.  Or, you could do a fun dip dye!  If your worried about the toxicity of artificial dye, you could try a much safer tea dye.

I hope this post inspires you to give dye a try! It’s a terrific way to revamp and customize your wardrobe.

Do you have a question I didn’t answer in my post?  If so, just leave it in the comments below and I’ll get right back to ya!