How to Dye Polyester and Cotton Fabric

Things You’ll Need:

  • Water
  • Pot
  • Disperse dye
  • Stove
  • Soda ash
  • Fiber reactive dye

When trying to find the perfect ensemble to wear to formal even ts or parties the challenge of finding the right color can be daunting. You may have an outfit from another event that you can restyle just by changing the color. The two most common fabrics clothing is made from is cotton and polyester. Both of these fabrics require slightly different ways to dye them. Here is how to dye a polyester or cotton clothing item.


Step 1

For polyester items you want to check your dispersing dye product according to the instructions on the box. Place the garment a a pot big enough to accommodate the pieces that are being dyed. The amount of dispersing dye needed will also depend on the items being dyed.

Step 2

Wet theĀ  polyester fabric using hot water. Place the dye into the hot water batch. Put the pot on the stove and bring the water to a full boil.

Step 3

You want to allow the polyester garment to boil on the stove top for a minimum of 30 minutes. Check to make sure the polyester is turning the desired color. Stir the garment inside the boiling water once every 5 minutes to ensure that the dye is evenly distributed through the garment.

Step 4

After the garment appears to be the desired color, turn the stove off. Remove the polyester garment from the pot. Rinse the garment in hot water to remove extra dye.

Step 5

Hand wash the garment in hot water and laundry detergent to help make the dye bleed fast. This will remove excess dye as well. Dry the garment in a dryer to set the dye in the cloth.

Step 1

For cotton garments the process is different. Take a gallon of room temperature water and add 1 cup of sodium carbonate (soda ash). Pre soak the garment in this solution. The sodium carbonate prepares the cloth to be dyed again. It makes the fibers more receptive to the dye. Let the garment sit for 15 minutes- up to 1 hour.

Step 2

Read the instructions on your dye, Mix 4 TSP of reactive dye for every cup of water used in a large container. If the instructions call for more, then increase this amount. Once mixed, pour the solution to a spray bottle.

Step 3

Wear rubber gloves to protect your skin and hands. Dye can stain this too. Lay your cotton garment flat on your designated work station. Spray your dye solution directly on the fabric, Press the dye into the cotton garment with your hands. Reapply the dye as needed to achieve the desired shade of color.

Step 4

Allow the garment to sit for 24 hours. Products may have varying drying times. Keep the garment damp during this 24 hour process Use a spray bottle to mist it with water as needed. The garment should be in an area that is about 70 degrees to ensure that the dye sets.

Step 5

Allow up to 24 hours for the dye to settle onto the fabric; specific dye products may have specific drying times. Keep the garment moist during this time by spraying it with water; keep the garment in an area where the temperature is at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit to help the dye set.

Step 6

Lauder the dyed cotton garment in a cold washing cycle. This will remove excess dye. Rinse the cotton garment in hot water twice to set the dye.

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Filed Under: General How To's


About the Author: Bruno Silva is an entrepreneur from Portugal with over 15 years of experience in Online Marketing. He is also a blogger and writes on variety of topics from online marketing to designs, cars to loans, etc.

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