Daily Archives: 2014-06-02

Re-dye Jeans to Save Money… Maybe

So, I love jeans.  Like really really love them.  I wear them every day; they are my version of yoga pants.  Unfortunately, I also work with chemicals that will leave "bleached" spots on said jeans.  As you can see below, I have a few spots on a few different pairs of jeans.


In an effort to save some money and not look bad at work, I decided to re-dye my jeans in my washer.  The thought was to refresh my jeans while making no mess (haha!).  The first thing I did was to read up on how other people did this at their house.  Here are the sites that I found most helpful: How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans and How to Dye in Your Washing Machine – Rit Studio

Now I have to admit, I did one pair before taking pictures and writting this post.  I wanted to do a trial run so I could take pictures of the important steps the second time around.  Here are the things I learned from the first dye test

  • You will spill dye, no matter how hard you try not to and how well you prepare.
  • Have LOTS of towels handy to clean up spills.
  • Dye will be in the seals of your washer.  Have towels to clean this up to.
  • Do not use the plastic bag in the detergent compartment to protect it.  This is more trouble than it is worth and just makes a mess.
  • Dissolve the salt in more than 4 cups of water or it will not all dissolve.

Ok, now to start the process of dying jeans in the washer.  I chose to dye 2 pairs of jeans using the Rit Denim Blue powder dye.  I read that the powder dye is more concentrated and works better in the HE washer.  Here are the jeans before dying.


I used 2 boxes of the dye to make sure that I got a nice deep denim blue color.  First I used the rise cycle to wet the jeans (no spin).  


Then, leaving the jeans in the washer, I dissolved the dye in 2 cups of hot tap water.  I used the normal wash cycle with heavy soil and hot water with an extra rise to dye the jeans.  You need at least 30 mins of wash time to get a good dark dye, and more time wont hurt anything.


Once the cycle started I poured the concentrated dye solution in the washer, into the spot where you put the detergent.  I followed that with 1 cup of salt dissolved into about 6 cups of hot water.  This rinsed the detergent area out nicely, but if you have some residual, you can keep adding water until it is clean.


After that, just let the washer do its work.  Once the cycle is finished, you need to wash the jeans with detergent to remove any excess dye.  After this wash, you can repeat the wash if you want, or you can just dry the jeans as I did.  Here is how my jeans came out!

The yellow stiching did not dye, which makes me happy!  And here are the stained spots that I was aiming to cover up.


As you can see, the blue color is refreshed in the jeans, but the stains are still visible.  They are not quite as bright as they were before, but they are still more visible than I would like.  The blue color is lighter than I would have liked, so I will be trying this project again soon.  Next time I will use a box of denim blue and a box of black (or liquid if I go that route) for one pair of jeans.  Hopefully that will give me a nice dark wash.