How to Revive Old Towels

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How to Revive Old Towels

When we got married, I registered for white towels. Bad call on my part. I know a lot of people swear by white linens because they can be bleached, but I don’t like to use a lot of chemicals, and I’m not a fan of making extra work for myself.

So those white towels, they got dingy, and then they got shoved in the back of the linen closet.

Now, we use chocolate brown towels, and that’s a much better fit for our lifestyle and my tastes.

Old Towels

But every time I opened the linen closet, I’d see those towels, and think it was such a waste that they weren’t getting used.

Well, I’m happy to say I’ve solved that problem. This week while I was reorganizing our linen closet, it hit me that I could redye my white towels (plus some random tan towels) to match the rest of my towels. (I seem to be on a bit of a redying kick lately).

Rit Dye

So, I picked up several bottles of Rit dye at the store, and I got busy with my towel makeover. The instructions recommended using two bottles for dark colors, so I doubled up on the dye.

However, the instructions also said one bottle was enough to dye two pounds of fabric. I weighed it out, and that would have gotten me one bath towel and two hand towels. Not very impressive.

I prepared my dye bath in the washing machine, and tossed my two pounds of towels in, and quickly decided I could dye a lot more than they’d said. So, I grabbed a bunch more towels, and threw them in, too. (Adding more towels doesn’t dilute the dye in any way, so as long as you have enough dye to submerge the towels fully, you should be good).

I had quite a few towels to dye, so I split them up into two loads.

Towels in Linen Closet

And you know what? They all came out beautifully. Now all of our towels match, and there aren’t any relegated to the back of the linen closet.

Isn’t it great when you find a way to love what you have again?

So, if you have towels in a color that you no longer love, or you’re just tired of having towels in a hodge podge of colors, this could be the fix for you.

If you’re starting with white towels, you can dye them any color you want. If you’re starting with colored towels, I would recommend going with a dark color. It’ll do a better job of covering the original color.

And if you still like the color of your towels, but find that they’ve gotten faded over time. You can fix that by redying them the same shade. So many great possibilities.

Wondering how much this project costs? Here’s the break down:

I used four bottles of RIT dye to dye (6) bath towels, (5) hand towels and (1) wash cloth. At $2.98 a bottle, that comes to $11.92. That’s less than the cost of one new towel, so I’d consider that a worthwhile project.

Want to see what else I’ve dyed? Check out:

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  1. That’s a pretty cool way to re-use your old towels. Especially if you get bored with your current color, you can dye them in a new darker color and get an entire brand new towel sets.

  2. Do you have to have a top loading washing machine for this to work? I have a front loader.
    Should I use a liquid dye only? I am not sure that I will be able to find this product.
    Great idea.

  3. Thanks for the great idea. I have all white towels. I have to double wash to get the dingy stains out. Then i want to change the color of my bathroom. Great Idea!!!

  4. What a great post, thank you! I love my indigo towels and they are still fluffy, but have faded in spots over time. Since dying your towels, have you had problems with the dye bleeding?

    1. Hi Angela,

      I haven’t had any problem with bleeding or color transfer. Just follow the instructions on the dye, and wash your towels on their own the first couple times, and you should be good to go.

    1. Nope. They’ve held their color well. If you’re using a dark color, and are worried about fading RIT makes a color fixative that you can spray on the fabric after you’ve dyed it.

  5. After dying the towels, do you have to clean the washing machine? I wouldn’t want my regular clothes to be brown.

    1. Yes, I just follow the instructions that come with RIT dye. Basically you add 2 cups of bleach to the machine, along with a few old towels, and run a load on hot. Works like a charm, and as a bonus you get a really clean machine.

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