How to Re-Dye Clothes

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Skirt Re-dye

My sister is getting married this summer, and I’m one of her bridesmaids. A few weeks back she sent me an e-mail about bridesmaid outfits. Here’s what she had to say:

I would like to keep this as simple as possible and let everyone
pick their own navy blue skirt and white tank top.

To pull the look together, I would like everyone to have the same necklace:


For the skirt, pick any navy blue skirt. Keep in mind it should be
around knee-length and not a pencil skirt (don’t want to look like we
are going to work). I am thinking A-line. I found one that works:


After breathing a sigh of relief that I wouldn’t have to wear some poofy bridal shop confection, I hit the thrift stores in pursuit of the perfect skirt. And I found one rather quickly, except it was the wrong color. Rats!

How to Re-Dye Clothes

I decided to try it on anyway – it fit perfectly and was only a quarter, so I decided to buy it and redye it to the color that I needed. Surely khaki would be easy enough to dye.

Rit Dye

A quick trip to Walmart netted me a box of navy dye for around two bucks.

Redying Clothing

After reviewing all of the dying options, I decided the washing machine-method sounded like the way to go. I filled the machine with hot water, and added the dye and the cup of salt that was recommended for cotton.

Redying Clothes in the Washing Machine

Then, I rinsed the skirt in hot water, added it to the washer, and let it soak for thirty minutes.

Redyed Skirt

After rinsing the skirt, and running it through the dryer, I had my navy skirt, and it was even better than I expected.

Redyed Skirt - Closeup

See the white stitching? Apparently the skirt was put together with a synthetic thread, so it didn’t get dyed blue. I love how the stitches stands out against the blue.

Redyed Skirt - Buttons

And the buttons kept their original color, too. I now have the perfect skirt for my sister’s wedding, and it only cost me around $2.25. Thrift stores come through again!

Skirt Re-dye

Want to try your hand at redying clothes? Save money by reworking second-hand finds, as I did; or rework things that you already own. Redying is a great way to cover up stains or to revitalize outfits that you’ve grown tired of.

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  1. Wonderful. So I have to ask….how did your washer look after the dye? I have always wanted to do this but did not want to create a situation where everything will be that color for the next 2-3 washes? Thanks for tip!

    1. Hi Sharyl,

      The instructions on the dye box recommended running the washer through a full cycle with hot water and a cup of bleach. I did that, and you couldn’t even tell I had used it to dye something. We’ve since done several loads of laundry, and haven’t had any problems.

  2. We use to do this all the time growing up. Something got a stain that couldnt get out or jeans fading. Dont know why I stopped. Havent dyed anything since college.

  3. I too am about to do this because a red shirt got into the light color laundry and there are some guy shirts dyed pink accidentally now. We’re thinking to do them navy or dark green. That navy looks awfully blue… maybe I’ll try for an indigo or dark blue. I am concerned though, that the color will bleed in the next wash… will the item be color fast in warm water? Or do I have to go with cold water for home dyed clothes? Thanks.

    1. Hi Anna, I haven’t had any trouble with things that I’ve dyed bleeding onto other clothing in the wash, but I do wash them alone the first time, just in case. If you’re worried about it, Rit sells a Dye Fixative that’s supposed to prevent cotton clothing from bleeding. They also sell a product called Color Remover that you may be able to use to restore the shirts to their former non-pink color. It’s not something I’ve tried yet, but now that my daughters do some of the laundry, I’m sure it won’t be long before I get my chance 🙂 Whichever way you decide to go, I’d recommend following the instructions on Rit’s website. They’re a lot more detailed than what comes on the box or bottle. https://www.ritstudio.com/ Good luck with your dye project!

  4. Will the color runs after. I mistake and put bleach in my color clothing and my black pants turn a nasty redish color. I love the pants and want to redye it black again. I don’t have a washing machine. I wash in a Laundromat. Please advise me. Thanks

  5. I’ve just used this method to dye white tops red for our twin girls (no plain red tops anywhere to be found). The red isn’t as vibrant as I would have hoped, do you think if I were to follow the steps again with fresh dye it would be more vibrant or just a darker red?? I haven’t been able to find any info on any websites so thought I’d ask….Thanks in advance


    1. My best guess is that they’ll stay white. I’ve dyed jackets with plastic zippers, and those have always come out their regular color. If it’s important, you might want to do a test on a single button to see how it turns out.

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