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How to Redye Fleece

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Columbia Fleece

Last week, I found a Columbia fleece at a yard sale for my oldest daughter, and I only paid $2 for it. I thought I’d gotten a killer deal, until I discovered it had a stain.

Stained Fleece

How did I overlook that?

I don’t know, but I was determined to salvage the jacket. Because, aside from the stain it was a really nice jacket.

Now, I could have tried to get the stain out, or bleached it, I suppose, but I decided to try to redye it instead.

Since the fleece was 100% polyester, I knew regular Rit Dye wouldn’t work, but I didn’t know if there was anything that would. So, I did a bit of research and discovered that Rit has a new dye for synthetic fabrics, like polyester and nylon. It’s called Rit DyeMore.

Then, I did a bit more digging, and learned that you can only get it three places: the Rit website, Amazon and Hobby Lobby. I checked both online options, and the shipping was pretty steep, so I hit Hobby Lobby, armed with a 40% off coupon.

iDye Poly

And … they didn’t have DyeMore. Bummer. But … they did have another dye for synthetic fabrics called iDye Poly for $3.99 ($2.39 after coupon), so I snagged a packet of black, figuring it would cover the stain well, and be a nice basic go-with-anything color.

The package said it was enough to dye two to three pounds of fabric, so I weighed the fleece jacket. Then, I headed to my closet to see what else I could find to dye. Here’s what I came up with:

Blue Fleece Hoodie

A blue fleece hoodie that my sister passed on to me when she was done with it. I’ve had it for years, and it’s my favorite jacket because it’s so cozy, but I’ve never liked the color …

Fleece Socks

and two pairs of fleece socks. Cozy, but again, not my color.

This brought me to just under two pounds of fabric. Perfect.

The directions recommended using the stove-top method to dye the fabric, so I pulled out my big stock pot, and got to work.

Here’s what I did:

I stuck all the stuff I wanted to dye into the pot, and filled it with warm water. The directions said to add enough for the fabric to move freely (kinda vague), so I filled it until everything was covered, and made sure the fabric moved around, when I stirred the pot. Then, I removed all the clothing, squeezed the excess water back into the pot, and set the clothes aside, while I prepared the dye bath.

Dye Bath

There were two packets to add to the water: a dye packet and a color intensifier. I stirred both in; then, added my clothes back to the pot, and brought it to a boil, stirring regularly.

It said to keep the fabric at that temperature for 30 minutes to an hour. Since I was using such a dark color, I opted for an hour.

Freshly Dyed Fleece

When an hour had passed, I slowly and carefully poured the pot into the sink, fabric and all (it’s sewer and septic safe). Then, I ran cold water over the clothing. Since everything was scorching hot, I used the spoon I’d been using to stir the pot, to move the clothes around.

Once everything was cooled down, and the water was running clearer, I squeezed all the excess water out of the clothes, and ran them through the washing machine on cold.

So how did everything turn out? Take a look:

Redyed Columbia Jacket

The Columbia jacket came out a deep charcoal grey, and the stain is undetectable. I love that the zippers stayed blue. My daughter will love that the Columbia name is still visible.

Redyed Fleece Hoodie

My fleece hoodie also came out charcoal grey. Much more my style than that blue ever was.

Redyed Fleece Socks

The pink fleece socks came out a true black. The blue socks didn’t take the dye completely. See how the dark blue stripes are still visible? That probably means they weren’t 100% poly, since the dye only works on synthetic fabrics. Still, I like them a lot more this way.

I think we can call this project a success.

Want to try your hand at redying fleece? Maybe you have a few things in your closet that are in need of a makeover? Here are some things to know before you get started:

  • 100% polyester works best. If you dye something that’s a blend, some parts will take the dye, others won’t. That could give you some cool results, or some not-so-cool results. It’s a gamble
  • If you want to dye something that has both natural and synthetic fibers, add a packet of natural dye and a packet of synthetic dye to your pot. The iDye packaging says you can even add two different colors to your pot
  • Getting really vibrant colors with polyester can be a bit of a challenge, so don’t be surprised if your color comes out lighter than the color shown on the package

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  1. This is truly excellent. Thanks so much for posting such detailed instructions and results! Your post has given me the gumption to plan a fleece-redyeing adventure of my own. I’ve ordered my iDye Poly, downloaded the instruction sheet for the product from the manufacturer’s website, and printed out this article of yours with an eye toward dyeing a 100% polyester, marled sweater-fleece with a style and feel that I love but a color that I hate. Without your article, I’d have lacked both the gumption and the info — i.e. about synthetic material dyes, etc. — to tackle this project. Thanks again!

  2. Thank you for this info! Just bought a jacket at a mountain refuge this past weekend (because it was freezing cold up there), and the only color they had was bright red. Practical and not my style, but soon it can be a more stylish black!

  3. Can you tell if the dye affected the softness of the material? I’ve used iDye Poly before (to dye plastic) and sometimes the solution can have a fair amount of grit… I’m wondering if it stiffened the fleece and what not. Thanks!

  4. HI! I am writing to you today as a last-ditch effort! I ordered a 100% polyester sherpa romper for a costume for Halloween.. unfortunately the color it came in is a rose off white rather than the mocha I had hoped for… I am being told all over the internet dyeing this material is never going to work but your post gave me hope! I was thinking of using the rit dye more in the shade chocolate brown following your instructions! Do you have any experience with this/do you think it would work/do you have any tips? I am begging any and all feedback is appreciated 🙂

    1. Hi Celeste, I wouldn’t use RIT dye, since it’s 100% polyester, but Jacquard iDye should work. It’s specifically designed for polyester. I’ve always had great results. Hope this helps.

  5. Your website is great. I found it when I googled “dyeing polyester fleece”, and stayed to read a number of your posts. Lots of good information delivered with an authentically friendly/helpful voice. I love your values and your sense of style. In the midst of a fraught election and a trying year, you made a 68 year old dad with two kids in high school/college smile.

    All the best to you and your family!

  6. Thank you! I really like your writing style – direct and clear, not fluffed up with bubbly asides. This is a great article too, and the photos really help. I’m going to try dying some plaid fleece jackets my son-in-law was letting go of, which are comfortable and good quality but all in dull greys. I’m going for a pink overdye, which will brighten them up. Thank you again.

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