Ever Dye Something In Your Washer?

lynninnewmexicoSeptember 9, 2011

I've been wanting to dye a few things navy blue for a while now. DH's faded light blue golf shirt and a few pale blue placemats. All are 100% cotton. I've had the (Rit) dye for over six months now, but I keep chickening out! I'm worried that I'll stain the insides of my washer, although it's fairly new and stainless steel (inside). It does have some white rubber/plastic near the top, though. I'm also concerned about how long any residual dye might linger and ruin any clothes I wash afterwards.

Questions: have you ever dyed something in your washer? How did the washer ~ and the dye job itself ~ turn out? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


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I have - years ago. Also used Rit. I washed tub/washer as instructed afterward and there was no staining of plastic/rubber parts.

The project turned out well, although the bedskirt did fade with time (few years). It was in DD1's bedroom, so it wasn't like it was to last forever.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 11:12AM
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I have done this too, also a long time ago. I remember I was worried about staining clothes with residual dye too and I ran a few empty cycles to rinse the washer thoroughly. It didn't stain the inside of the machine.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 12:08PM
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I saw Rachel Ashwell demonstrate this on her show once. She used a top loading machine because it uses more water. I don't know how well this sould work with a low-water HE model. The reason a lot of water is important is because the fabric must be completely wet or you'll end up with a tie-dye effect. After the dying was done she ran an empty cycle with bleach. Haven't tried it myself, always wanted to but like you I keep chickening out.

If you want to see a video try You-Tube, surely someone has made a how-to on this.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 12:46PM
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OMG, I never thought about a tie-dye effect, but I'm REALLY glad that you mentioned it, Flyingflower :~O

I think, if I can get up enough nerve, that I'll run the water in the washer first; add the dye; stir with a stick, trying not to get any dye on me (LOL!); and then wet the things completely in the sink before adding them to the washer.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 12:58PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

It has been years, but I had a gorgeous, expensive white dress that my mother dyed (w/Rit in the washing machine) purple. It turned out magnificent. And, again, years ago when my mother was around and helping me with my wardrobe, she used to dye my blue jeans dark when they got faded. Always rit. She would run an empty load with some bleach after dying but otherwise, never had any issues.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 1:00PM
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Thanks for the encouragement, Bumblebeez. You all have talked me into going for it!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 1:35PM
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Wait!! Don't use Rit dye. It will forever fade. I am the queen of dying around here and I always use professional dyes that are totally colorfast. Procion is the brand I have now. You can order it online. Use salt and soda ash and you will love the results. I don't dye in my washing machine. I dye in buckets. Just follow the directions carefully and you will not be sorry.

I buy my dye at my local Craft Store. It's not a chain store so I don't know if Michael's carries it but you may want to call around. They usually have instructions close to the display that you can peel off a note book type of thing.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 2:48PM
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Golddust...what if after the clothes had been dyed she soaks them in a salt or vinegar solution to set the dye, will it be OK then? I do that everytime I buy dark colored clothes to help prevent bleed. And then I wash in cold water from that point on. But having never dyed anything I don't know if this would be sufficient.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 4:13PM
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When I was teaching kindergarten, we always died large T-shirts for the kids to paint on to make an Indian outfit.
Many years I had a mom do it for me but the last few years
I ended up doing it myself. I would use the two shades of brown that Rit made and they always came out a pretty reddish brown that was perfect for painting on.

I used the directions on the Rit package and then soaked them in salt water to set the color. Ran them through an extra cycle or two until the water came out clear. Never had problems with parents complaining that other clothes were ruined either by the dye or the fabric paint we used.

I always wiped out the washer especially around the rim and run a cycle with bleach after I was finished. Never a problem.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 7:09PM
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Fly, honestly I don't know. I was taught to dye in an art class and it's the only way I've dyed anything I cared about.

With the brand I mentioned above, you can wash navy with whites and it will never fade or bleed. The non- iodized salt is mixed with the dye. Soda ash is mixed in after about 50 minutes.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 9:10PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I have known that Procion is the better dye for many years but have never used it, probably because I buy dye on impulse at the grocery store. And it wasn't around locally when my mother was dying things for me.
But if Michael's and Hobby Lobby are convenient, I would look into that instead.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 10:37PM
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Thanks for all the great info. The dye job has been put on hold for the time being. Got a call this morning that our good, longtime friend passed away suddenly. I've been at their house all day today until just a while ago, comforting his wife, my good friend, and helping out. I'll be there for the next few days at least ( just around the corner). I won't be able to get back here for a while, but will get back when I can to read all. Hope you all understand.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 12:16AM
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I have always used the dye in the wash tub because I didn't want to chance having the inside of the washing machine stained, or worse, having subsequent loads of laundry being stained.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 9:57AM
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Quick update:

I just wanted to thank everyone for the information and encouragement about dying something in my washer. As a result, I went ahead and, using Rit, dyed my DH's (formerly)favorite golf shirt with the medium blue (powder)dye and it turned out perfectly! It had had some kind of liquid previously splattered on it that lightened it in spots. I first used their color remover on it and then the blue dye. Perfection . . . and no stains in my washer!

Thus encouraged, I used their Scarlet liquid dye on 6 cotton placemats that I'd also put thru the color remover bath. Because they were still a very pale blue, I thought that they would come out to be a nice scarlet color, as on the bottle. Instead, they came out to be a red with a slight yellow cast . . . more apple red, than scarlet (go figure!). But, since any red would do for these casual placemats, I'm not complaining.

The bottom line is that Rit dye does a good job and absolutely does not stain your washer. My DH thanks you for getting his favorite golf shirt back as good as new!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 12:04PM
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I love feedbacks !!!!! thanks.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 2:17PM
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Lynn, i'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I'm sure it's very comforting to the spouse knowing someone is so close if needed. God bless you, Lynn. ;o)

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 3:04PM
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Wherever you buy your dye, I think it is worthwhile looking through this site for its descriptions and explanations

Here is a link that might be useful: Dye process expanations

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 8:21AM
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Lucille, Thanks for that link! I learned a lot of stuff I never knew before about dyeing fabrics. This is a very handy site and I've already bookmarked it for future reference. . . thanks!!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 3:44PM
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Does anyone know if you can dye a polyester
drape from dark green to black?
I could really use some help on this.
Thanks a lot

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 2:11PM
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I would try to cut a small piece from the hem to use as a sample and give it a try. Color wise, black is darker than dark green so I don't see why not, it's just a matter of if the fabric will accept the color.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 2:17PM
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I only dye natural fibers.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 4:45PM
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I was once told that polyester doesn't take dye very well. As a result, like Golddust, I've only dyed natural fabrics.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 7:37PM
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According to the Dye it Black FAQ, it's not something you can do easily at home.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dye it Black FAQ

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 8:12PM
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Has anyone tried dying clothing in a front load HE washer?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:57AM
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I would not dye anything in my HE washer. Not enough water to saturate the fabric so the fabric might come out streaky. But I'm a dye snob. I only use very high quality dyes and set dye with soda ash so the dyed fabric can be washed with whites, no matter how dark I dye the fabric.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 12:41PM
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