Dye the Dead

13 Aug

If an old shirt is looking beyond repair, stained and faded I say “that’s dead” and toss it. Well I used to, until a few years ago a stylish friend confessed that she re-dyes many of her clothes to freshen them up and hang onto her favourites. What? Bells went off in my head, stars twinkled around my eyes. Of course! What a fabulous idea! Since then I haven’t looked back. I think twice before ditching a faded item and I even op shop with re-dying in mind. If I find a fantastic dress that is not quite my colour I now have the potential to dye it.

Re-dying fabric is not as hard as you might imagine thanks to Dylon. You can buy Dylon dye sachets in your supermarket for around $10 and here’s the best bit – your washing machine does all the work! Simply empty the dye into the drum of your machine, top with 500g of table salt then 500g-1k of fabric and run on a 40 degree delicate cycle. Then run another wash cycle with detergent to remove excess dye, wipe any residual dye from the drum & rubber of the machine. You will be amazed when you hang your once faded clothes on the line to find that they now look brand new! Its pretty satisfying. unfortunately the sachets come in a limited colour range – black, brown, navy and purple. You can of course still dye the old fashioned way with Dylon’s hand dyes.


Tip: Cotton will yield the best colour retention though I have dyed synthetics with varying success. You may get a more subtle effect or the dye will only take to the cotton parts of the fabric mix. Check the fabric type beforehand and guesstimate the result. Take a risk!

Tip: The more fabric you add the less saturated the colour will be. The Dylon machine packs recommend 500g-1kg of fabric per pack. If you want the best results try to limit your fabric load.

Tip: If the item you are dyeing is multi-coloured or has contrasting details, then the dye will affect those too. You may end up with a black item with grey details for example. Printed fabric works well. I’ve had no issue with printed logos or transfers.

Tip: After you have run the first wash cycle with the dye and are ready to run the second cycle with detergent, throw some other like coloured clothes in to pick up any residual dye. It freshens them up a bit.

Just follow the instructions, use a bit of common sense and you can’t go wrong. If like me you wear a lot of black then you will find this trick a great investment. Nothing fades faster than black and nothing looks tackier. How many times have you thrown out a favourite item simply because it had too much wash fade? Despair no longer. Next time you find a great set of sun faded curtains or a beautiful worn in linen shirt that was black sometime ago, buy them with confidence and re-dye.


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