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How to Dye Jeans Darker (Tutorial With FAQ)

Do you want to learn how to dye jeans darker? Have you found yourself staring at a pair of jeans that fit well, but aren’t your favorite denim wash, wondering, “how can I change the color of my jeans?” and “can you dye jeans darker?” YES!  I can show you how to make jeans darker!  I dyed my jeans darker a year ago and was so impressed by the results – they still stayed dark, even after a year of regular laundering!  I recently dyed another pair of jeans and took photos to share my denim dyeing “before and after”.  I will teach you step by step how to darken denim and, if you keep reading until the end, I will also answer all of your FAQ about dyeing jeans in the washing machine.

Learn how to dye jeans darker with these easy clothes dyeing tutorial. Dye new or old jeans a dark blue in the wash. #dyeing #dyeingclothes

I have been on a weight loss journey for many months (25 pounds down, 25 to go!).  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on new jeans because I still plan to lose more weight.  Pant shopping isn’t easy though, because I don’t like when jeans have any whiskering or fading on the front/back of the thighs.  I prefer a simple dark wash but jeans that fit me aren’t the wash I like – and the jeans with the wash I like are usually uncooperative and won’t zip up.  So I found inexpensive and comfy jeans for only $25 and started dyeing jeans darker at home to turn them into a perfect dark wash.

Can You Dye Jeans to Make Them Darker?

Yes!  You can easily dye jeans to make them darker.  My newly DIY dyed jeans are perfectly uniform and a lovely dark wash now – even the whiskering was covered up (see below and after photos below)!  I want to teach you how to darken denim yourself, so keep reading for my easy tutorial on how to dye jeans darker in the washing machine or just a plastic tub.  If you’ve read any of my DIY dye posts, you know that the dyeing clothes is really easy.

Here are my jeans before:

Here’s after dyeing jeans darker:

Supplies for Rit Dye Jeans:

  • Rit dye: 1 bottle Rit Dye Black and 1 bottle Rit Dye Navy Blue
  • Washing machine OR large bucket/basin
  • Hot water
  • Rubber gloves
  • Bleach
  • 1 cup salt
  • Timer

How to Dye Jeans Darker:

  1. Wash brand new jeans to remove any sizing
  2. Completely soak the jeans with water immediately before dyeing
  3. Fill the washing machine (or a large bucket) with hot water – enough water to cover the jeans completely (I set to “small” load)
  4. Add a cup of salt (a dye fixative) and make sure it fully dissolves
  5. Pour in 1 bottle of Rit Dye Black and 1 bottle of Rit Dye Navy Blue
  6. Put on a pair of rubber gloves for handling the dye bath and freshly dyed jeans
  7. Agitate the dye bath for 30-40 minutes (either stir by hand with a stick if using a basin, or agitate in the washing machine by re-setting to prevent it from moving on to the rinse/spin cycle)
  8. Rinse the jeans thoroughly in cool water until the water runs clear, to remove excess dye
  9. Air dry denim to preserve the color
  10. Once dry, enjoy your new pair of jeans!
  11. Immediately after dyeing, run the washer with bleach, or rinse out basin with bleach, to remove dye residue

Read on for my dyeing jeans darker FAQ:

What’s the dye formula to dye jeans darker?

The first time I dyed jeans, I used two bottles of black and one bottle of navy.  The result was very inky, like an indigo dye.  I loved it, but it did add to the cost because three bottles of dye was about $12.  This time I used only two bottles and did a 1:1 ratio of navy and black, which resulted in a dark denim blue.  I love the shade and it looks great.  Because these jeans are temporary, I wanted to keep the cost low so I didn’t want to purchase three bottles. If I’m being honest, I preferred the 2:1 (black to navy) ratio because the jeans were really dark – almost black, but with some inky blue depth.  I’d call the result a midnight blue and it looked really expensive.

How much dye do I need to dye jeans darker?

I used two bottles for one pair of pants and was happy with the results.  The Rit dye instructions indicate that one bottle covers 1 pound of clothing, but suggests using more for darker/brighter colours.  I could definitely have added another pair of jeans or t-shirt to my dye bath.

What is the best dye for jeans?

I have only used Rit dye on jeans because it’s cheap and easy to find and use.  I also opt for the liquid dye that Rit makes, sold in bottles, as opposed to the dye powder, because it saves the step of having to dissolve the dye.  For jeans you can only wash in cold water, I recommend using Procion dyes instead – I used them for ice dyeing because they work well in cold water.  To use those dyes, you’ll need to soak the denim in a soda ash solution first (that brand requires soda ash as dye fixative) and then make a dye bath.

Does Rit dye work on jeans?

Yes!  I used Rit dye to dye both of my jeans.  But you can, of course, use different fabric dyes if there is a brand you prefer.  It helps to consider the fibers in the jeans – even with a bit of synthetic stretch, I was able to use regular Rit dye. But very synthetic jeans may required a dye designs for synthetics, like Rit’s DyeMore Liquid dye.

Did the dye cover the denim evenly?

Yes!  All of the whiskering and fading was covered on both pairs I’ve dyed, and the result was a uniform hue.

Did the dye cover the denim stitching as well?

No, the dye didn’t cover the stiching.  The stitching remained light, so they don’t look like they were given at at-home dye bath.  This happened with the dress I dyed as well: the thread wasn’t dyed. Cotton threads will take the dye but usually garments are sewn with polyester or other synthetic thread, which doesn’t take the dye unless it’s dye made for synthetics.  
Did the dye wash out of the jeans quickly?

Did the dye wash out of the jeans quickly?

No!  The dye did not wash out of the jeans quickly – I was pleasantly surprised.  I never had to re-dye the first pair of jeans I dyed and I washed them once or twice a week (no dryer, though) for a year.  They faded a bit, like dark jeans normally do, but the whiskering didn’t come back and they were still a dark wash – they just looked like broken in jeans.  I was really impressed – my dyed dress has barely faded, if at all (although I don’t wear that nearly as often as the DIY dyed jeans).

How to dye jeans different colors, for example: how to dye jeans brown?

You can dye denim with any colour but I find that the black/navy combo looks most like a commercial “dark wash” denim.  But you could turn white jeans into bright teal or red – or dye jeans brown.  White jeans will take any dye color perfectly.  In terms of dyeing already blue jeans a different color, other than a darker blue or black, it’s a bit of a gamble how dye will look when applied over an already dyed fabric.  Layering new dye over old dye can create a new color – for example, dyeing red jeans blue might end up creating a purple color.

How to dye jeans black?

It’s easy to dye jeans black. I’d recommend doubling up the amount that Rit recommends: so try 2 bottles of black dye for 1 pound of fabric.  I do think the Rit dye is the best black dye for jeans because it’s so easy to find and use.

How do you keep dark wash jeans from fading?

I find that washing my jeans inside out, using cold water (preferably using a mild detergent or a detergent designed for dark colours), and skipping the dryer helps preserve the colour of dark clothing, whether I’ve dyed it or bought it that way.  Air drying/line drying dark items (out of the sun) really helps keep their colour longer than simply tossing them in the dryer – that’s probably the best colour-saving tip I have up my sleeves.

Did the colour rub off on furniture?

No!  The dye stays put once the jeans were dry.  After the initial dye, while they were wet and drying in my laundry room, they deposited dye on anything they touched while wet (like the wall and the lid to the washing machine – oops).  This contact stained, although with scrubbing I got 95% of it off.  But once the denim was dried, and especially after the first wash, there was absolutely no transfer, which was interesting because I’ve experienced colour transfer with commercially dyed indigo jeans.  When you wash these jeans, make sure to launder with like colors.

Did the jeans feel stiff after being dyed?

Briefly.  Any time I dye something, I notice that it feels a bit stiffer when it’s first dyed.  But after it’s ironed or worn, it immediately softens and the fabric feels completely normal again. 

Will dyeing clothes in my washing machine ruin it?

Nope!  BUT – you have to run the machine empty, with bleach, immediately after dyeing to remove any dye from the machine (otherwise it can stain the drum and plastic pieces).  I usually use this bleach load to wash my floor rags and other scungies, because I hate wasting water.

Can you dye old jeans darker?

I’ve also used this process to re-dye very old jeans once they’ve become faded from wear.  However, I find that dye always “sticks” best to clothing that hasn’t been worn.  So, while my brand new jeans took the dye very well and stayed dark, my old and faded pants were only temporarily revived by dye as it seemed to fade more quickly from the beat up pants.  It still worked!  It’s just that they faded a bit faster than the new jeans I dyed, which stayed dark even with a year of laundering.

How to Dye Jeans Darker

Please Feel Free to Ask More Questions About Dyeing Jeans Darker!

Overall, learning how to dark wash jeans myself has been a HUGE success – I will definitely keep dyeing jeans darker because it makes it so much easier to find the perfect fit when I no longer have to be concerned about the wash.  Plus it’s a great way to revive old, faded jeans – even if the results aren’t quite are good as dyeing brand new jeans, dyeing old jeans still works and helps extend the life of clothes.

Am I missing any questions about how to dye jeans darker?  Feel free to drop them in the comments.  I moderate comments, so I’ll always answer your question.  If you have a chance, read through the comments too, because other readers have shared their jean dyeing success stories, dyeing jeans dark blue.  I am so thrilled to know so many people have successfully dyed their jeans darker after using my tutorial.

Like I mentioned, you can use this tutorial to dye other clothes as well.  I dyed a dress darker in the washing machine because it fit well but only came in beige, which wasn’t very flattering on me.  It took a bit of trial and error to get the right color, but it’s always easy to just re-dye something with a darker color so don’t stress too much!

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86 Comments

  1. Maggie Overby
    January 4, 2016 / 1:23 pm

    I don't use it often but I have to agree that Rit dye is a great tool. I have even used it in the bathtub to dye slip covers and it worked great even on such a big job. Never thought to use it to refresh my jeans though. All mine end up fading in the knees so this mix might give them a little more life.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 4, 2016 / 3:52 pm

      Wow – I've never tackled something as large as a slip cover! It's so good to hear that it works even on such a large application. Maybe one day I'll be brave enough, lol.

  2. Kirsten
    January 4, 2016 / 3:34 pm

    Holy crap! You are the cutest thing ever just as you are, but 25 lbs is an incredible accomplishment! Especially in such a short amount of time! Even though you are a complete stranger, I am proud of you! Weight loss is never easy, but it's particularly tough when the temps drop and the most entertaining thing to do with your time is snuggle up and eat delicious foods. You are a total badass.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 4, 2016 / 3:54 pm

      Awww, thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ I packed on weight very quickly this spring/summer due to lots of stress eating, so at first I just wanted to loose the pounds I gained, but I've been trying to loose weight for years so now that I have momentum I decided to keep going. I fell off the wagon a bit during the holidays, but I enjoyed it, lol.

  3. Anonymous
    January 4, 2016 / 3:45 pm

    This is great. I have thought about doing this but I was definitely concerned about wrecking my washing machine. Thanks for the tutorial!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 4, 2016 / 3:55 pm

      That is the beauty of always living in a house with crummy old machines, lol. Just make sure you run it through with bleach as soon as you're done and be generous with the bleach and water levels (fill the machine). i think I used half a jug of bleach!

  4. Cussot
    January 4, 2016 / 4:51 pm

    Do you wash your jeans separately after dyeing them? Inside out? I love dyeing stuff, especially prints as the results are generally a surprise. It's a great way to tone something down that seems a bit too loud – but then, I lean towards the dark and smudgy.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 4, 2016 / 9:21 pm

      I was them with darks, inside out most often (sometimes I forget). No dryer – that seems to fade my clothes faster than washing. I turned a printed dress a bit smudgier too, but only tried it the once. I agree, the unexpected results can be fun!

  5. Rit Dye
    January 4, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. It's a great jeans tutorial, but then all your dye tutorials are great! As an FYI, we have a dye fixative you can use after dyeing your jeans but before they're rinsed to make the color last even longer–it reduces the amount of bleeding. It's great for cotton fabrics. Lots of info on how to use it in our techniques on our site. And the thread doesn't dye because it's usually made of polyester and our core dye line doesn't dye polyester (though our new DyeMore one does!).

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 4, 2016 / 9:16 pm

      That's a great tip! I've never seen the dye fixative at my Michael's location, but I'll ask for it next time I'm dyeing something! I was able to dye a polyester dress with your core dye, but I added vinegar. It was a little lighter than expected, but still did the job – I was impressed! I'm going to try the DyeMore next time!

  6. The DIY Homegirl
    January 4, 2016 / 9:13 pm

    I did this recently and found about 2/3 bottle of each was enough. I wonder if certain jeans may need to be rinsed more than once after dying/before wearing? I rinsed my hand before I gave up and then had to put them in the washer 3 x's before the water was clear. Plus now I can wash them with other darks and no dye comes out onto the other clothes.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 4, 2016 / 11:17 pm

      I've dyed two new pairs and four old pairs and haven't had to rinse them more than once. But they did transfer dye when wet right after dyeing. No problems after that, though. Were your jeans transferring colour to other clothes in the wash?

  7. sarajane
    January 4, 2016 / 10:09 pm

    Oooh! Thanks for this! I've tried dye-ing jeans before but was never happy with the results, but now you've shared the secret.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 4, 2016 / 11:18 pm

      Happy I can help! What was the problem when you dyed jeans?

    • sarajane
      January 5, 2016 / 8:43 pm

      I just used plain old dark blue dye and they looked like I dyed them myself – not a good darkwash color. If you like dye-ing, I really like to use Procion MX dyes. They are a little more fiddly (you need lots of salt + soda ash) than good old RIT, but they are super colorfast and come in all kinds of luscious colors. Now if I can just figure out how to machine dye in my new HE topload washing machine, I'll be all set.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 7, 2016 / 5:37 pm

      Ahhh, that's good to know – I've never used just the plain navy or "denim" blue Rit sells. I think the secret might be the added black, for some depth and richness. I'll definitely look into that Procion Dye, thanks for the tip! I've never used fancy new machines – I've only ever had really ancient washing machines. Dyeing things easily is my consolation prize, lol. Good luck with your new machine!

  8. Vin@hiphiphome
    January 4, 2016 / 10:43 pm

    Hi Tanya, wish you a happy new year! This is actually unrelated, but I love your home so much. I always go back and see your photos. The aqua and your husband's grandfather's paintings are my favorite parts! I am actually planning a living room makeover, with navy and other shades of blue and a bit of green-yellow, and looking at some of your pictures has convinced me that shades of blue are indeed my favorite color. There is nothing like the calming qualities of blue. And I also wanted to say, I think your home is incredibly calming. It is so colorful, but it is extremely calming. I guess it is because of the blue. ok, in short, I love your home if I wasn't clear enough. lol

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 4, 2016 / 11:19 pm

      Thanks so much!! I find blues so calming too. I'm at peace as soon as I walk in the door. Good luck with your living room makeover, I can't wait to see it on Instagram!

  9. Haley
    January 5, 2016 / 2:00 am

    Great idea! I love dark wash or black jeans, but whenever I got shopping I can only find light wash in my size (and I hate spending money). I'm definitely going to have to try my hand at dyeing some things. Ps. Congrats on your weight loss!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 7, 2016 / 5:32 pm

      Thanks Haley! Isn't that the way it goes? Knowing that I can dye jeans myself has made it so much easier to shop for pants. If you like a really dark wash, do the 2:1 ration of black to navy – it will be inkier and I think you'll really like it.

  10. cred
    January 5, 2016 / 4:46 pm

    This is great. I am currently in the market for new jeans- looking for another pair of skinny jeans for tall boots. I'm new to this cut and the search is painful but until you posted this, wash colour was just another requirement making my search all the more difficult. It looks like this works remarkably well.Good for you and your fitness achievement- keep riding that success train to your end goal! Very impressive!And thanks for all the tips In the faq section- I think a long overdue dip dye project is a great January project. My procrastination on this may see me finish my dip dye throw just as the trend leaves the building- haha

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 7, 2016 / 5:35 pm

      I hear you! I only just started wearing skinny jeans this fall and it seems like it's so much harder to find a good fit because they are cut so snugly. I'm excited you're going to try dip dyeing – it's so much fun. If you wait long enough, trends circle back again anyway, lol.

  11. Anonymous
    February 20, 2016 / 5:59 am

    Did the inside of the jeans turn dark blue as well?

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      February 20, 2016 / 5:06 pm

      Yes, the dye thoroughly covers the jeans, inside and out. But in my experience, the dye did not rub off on my skin (if that's what you're curious about).

  12. Janet and Bob Syder
    March 21, 2016 / 4:19 pm

    I want to re dye my favourite black stretch jeans, wont the hot water affect the stretch in the fabric, can I dye them on a lower temp for longer??

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      March 21, 2016 / 5:00 pm

      That's a good question! The jeans I've dyed have all had a lot of stretch and I don't think it affected them. I have dyed new and old pants and haven't noticed a difference in fit immediately after dyeing. BUT I have been losing weight since the fall so they've been getting bigger and perhaps that has distracted me from any breakdown in the stretch material which might have occurred from the hot dye bath. According to an e-How article, cold water will work but could result in a less saturated dye bath:http://www.ehow.com/how_8658544_use-cold-water-rit-dye.htmlHowever, you don't need to use Rit Dye for this – it's just what's readily available. If the jeans are really special and cost a bit, you might want to invest in a better quality dye and once you start shopping for more professional-grade dyes, you can find ones designed for cold water. Here's a link to one that looks good and they have a black dye:http://prociondye.com/I hope this helps you safely dye your favorite jeans! Good luck (I'd love to hear your experience).

  13. Carrie
    May 4, 2016 / 3:33 pm

    I did an old faded jean jacket and it came out great! The only thing I would say… it came out a bit darker than I really wanted (more toward black than navy blue) so I should probably have used 1 bottle navy and 1/2 bottle black. But I think after I wash it a few times it might be right. I have a front-loading HE machine, so I used a bucket. I was careful to keep it submerged and move it around frequently to make sure the fabric wasn't staying creased in the same spot (so it wouldn't get a tie-dye effect.) After 35 minutes, I (slowly!) poured out the dye into the sink, and refilled the bucket with cold water and 1 cup vinegar to set the dye. I let that soak about 10 minutes, then rinsed with cold water until it was running pretty clear. Then I transferred to the washer and washed with another cup of vinegar. Then I washed again with detergent and dried. Came out great for $6!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      May 4, 2016 / 10:10 pm

      So happy to hear your jacket turned out! My jeans lightened a smidge with wash, so hopefully your jacket will be perfect.

  14. Belley Family
    May 9, 2016 / 5:02 pm

    Can you wash the jeans with other clothes and be sure that the colour won't run and affect the other garments?

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      May 9, 2016 / 8:32 pm

      I wash them the way I wash store bought dark wash jeans: inside out, in cold, with other dark colors. I've never noticed dye transfer, but I wouldn't toss them in with a white blouse or anything.

  15. Nikita
    July 14, 2016 / 6:11 pm

    So glad I stumbled upon this tutorial! Exactly what I was looking for! I want to dye 3 or 4 pairs of jeans. Can I dye them altogether? If so, should i just multiply the quantity of dye and salt? Thanks!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      July 14, 2016 / 11:13 pm

      Happy I could help! I've done bigger batches and, yes, I just added more dye, water and salt. Most bottles/brands will say how many garments one bottle with cover, in case you're not using Rit.

  16. BJK
    March 13, 2017 / 4:08 am

    Do you dye your jeans inside out too?

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      March 13, 2017 / 4:12 pm

      Right side out but they dyed all the way through.

  17. Linda D
    June 8, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    I just tried this and it's amazing. I had boight a pair of levis that were in clearance. The color wasn't so great they were that worn look in the front that looks kind of yellow. Now they are great dark jeans. Totally awesome and the threads did not dye. I have a new pair. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      June 10, 2017 / 8:14 pm

      Yay!! So happy this worked out for you and that you scored a great pair of jeans. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, I love hearing from people who try my tutorial ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Paul Hardman
    July 7, 2017 / 8:40 am

    Hi Tanya, I've got a pair of bright red jeans that I'd like to darken to a more subdued, dark red. Could I use your technique perhaps with just one bottle of black dye? Would that work?

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      July 7, 2017 / 7:29 pm

      I worry black would make it a muddy grey. It could even come out some random color. I'd try a deeper red dye. If you look on amazon for fabric dyes there are some more professional dyes that come in wider range of colours than Michaels craft stuff. Dharma trading co supplies great dyes for crafters. I'd choose a rich dark red but remember that dye, even on white, is always a gamble to be prepared for a surprise. Don't dye anything irreplaceable! If you still don't love the red try mixing a bit of brown. But honestly I'd stick with a rich red dye and go over the red you have now to make it deeper. Good luck!! Let me know how it turns out ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Andrew Barnett
    July 19, 2017 / 8:18 pm

    I finally decided to bite the bullet and re-dye a few pair of my jeans that had faded pretty significantly. I did the 2:1 method and they are the PERFECT color! Thank you for your tutorial! I'd much rather spend $15 on dye than $85 on a new pair of jeans.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      July 21, 2017 / 2:24 pm

      Thanks for your comment Andrew, I'm so happy this tutorial was helpful for you!! If you're trying to lower the cost even more, sometimes Amazon has dye at a really cheap price as an add-on to a purchase and craft stores run great sales too with Michaels doing a regular 40 or 50% off coupon each week. I normally shop with my spouse and we each buy a bottle with a coupon lol. Thanks again for taking the time time to let me know this worked out for you!

  20. Baking & More With Clarissa
    August 18, 2017 / 10:30 pm

    Hi I'm clarissa I've been wanting to try dyeing my kids pants for school.They have a lot of jeans that are still brand new but have white knees.Thanks for the tips.Lets see how I do!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      August 19, 2017 / 6:07 am

      I was able to cover the lighter "whiskering" which never faded so I do hope the white knees will get covered! I dyed a dress once and under the arms it reacted with deodorant (although it had been washed) and was lighter there but a second soaking with dye and it was all one color. I recommend going dark and measuring a little extra dye to be sure. Good luck!!!

  21. Viviana Cortez
    November 12, 2017 / 5:06 am

    Can I dye my ripped denim jeans without getting the ripped part dyed?

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 12, 2017 / 3:19 pm

      Oooo good question! You could try something similar to shibori or tie dye: cover the part you donโ€™t want dyed with rubber bands…? But Iโ€™ve never tried it and dyeing anything is always a gamble! Another option is looking into resist dyeing and applying the same provincials: you apply a wax to what you donโ€™t want dyed and it protects that fabric. You can buy the supplies online, Dharma Trading has tutorials and products required. Those would be two options I would try. Good luck!

    • Unknown
      January 21, 2018 / 3:45 pm

      I just did some of my ripped denim and the white part looked like it was dying in the bath, but once I washed them it came out. So the white part stayed white.Thanks for the tutorial Tanya. I did mine on the stove top, and it all came out perfectly. I did 3 dark wash denim pieces and 1 black. – April from http://www.stunningstyle.com

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 21, 2018 / 7:01 pm

      Hi April! So happy this worked out for you and that you were able to refresh some of your denim pieces. I love hearing success stories, so thanks so much for commenting ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Unknown
    November 25, 2017 / 12:40 pm

    So you put the dye right in the washer???

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 25, 2017 / 2:04 pm

      Correct, right in the washer! And it wonโ€™t cause any problems. I clean it through with bleach after and then wash a load of darks but thatโ€™s me being too cautious. Iโ€™ve never had dye linger and transfer to other clothes. Although on my old machine, the plastic parts inside became tinted. But it actually looked better, lol, because they were yellowed and old.

  23. IDris Mustapha
    November 25, 2017 / 1:09 pm

    Hello Tanya! The tutorial is so interesting, I reside in Nigeria, when you said salt, are you referring to salt that is used in cooking food? And how can someone get Rit Dye? The one that I have seeing in the market is in powder form which I have not really tried thou. i

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 25, 2017 / 2:02 pm

      Hello! Itโ€™s so amazing to connect with someone from Nigeria! I love knowing where people are reading from. Yes, the kind of salt you cook with. You can use powdered dye also. Just look for a deep navy and a black to mix together following the directions on the package. I like the convenience of bottle dyes but I have used powdered dyes also. Shipping might be too expensive, but you could try ordering online from Amazon.com? But if you have powdered dyes there, I suggest trying them! Thereโ€™s nothing special about Rit, itโ€™s just easy to find in North America. Although some dyes need a fixative so you might need to discard my instructions and follow the ones for that particular kind of dye.

  24. Rich
    January 23, 2018 / 7:55 pm

    I have several pairs of dark blue Levis with two problems.One is that the knees are fading from occasional kneeling.The other is that one pair has some white spots because I accidentally dripped a little bleach on them.What do you think? Is your dying technique likely to revive them?Thank you!Rich

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 27, 2018 / 12:33 am

      Hi Rich, the one thing I always read about dyeing fabric is that you have to be willing to take a risk. For my jeans, the dye covered all of the whiskering and turned them into a uniform wash, so I am hopeful that for yours the dye would cover up the faded knees. Bleach is another story and I've read that it doesn't work (http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/2017/05/does-rit-dye-work-on-bleach-stains/). The bleached part still stays much lighter. I have heard that Marvy Marker Pens work well – or just a deep blue sharpie. You could also try just adding dye to the one spot – maybe take a q-tip of whatever dye you're already using for you other pair, and experiment a little. But I am less hopeful about those, I'm sorry to say!

  25. Unknown
    January 24, 2018 / 10:04 am

    Hi Tanya! I just stumbled upon your blog and have a couple of questions. I have two pairs of blue jeans that are faded can I dye both of them at once? and would I put the water level on small or medium? Also, do you think 2 navy and 1 black would do the job in dying the jeans a darker color? Thanks for all your help.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 27, 2018 / 12:37 am

      Hi! Yes, you can do more than one pair at a time. I'm not sure what your machine is like, I only put enough water that it can agitate freely without diluting the dye too much. So for two pairs, I imagine small setting should be good! I did a one part black to one part navy and you can see mine turned out pretty blue. I worry that yours might be REALLY blue with that ratio. Of course, dyeing depends on what shade of denim you're starting with, because it builds color on existing color. Compare your jeans to my starting point and see if you like my finished look. If you'd like them darker than mine, go with more black. If you want them bluer, go with the ratio you've suggested.

  26. JaeBelle
    February 20, 2018 / 7:44 am

    I'm so excited to try this!! I had these favorite Silver jeans in college (one style in particular manufactured sometime between 2003 & 2004 I think?) and started looking for the same style last year–just in a bigger size–and found a couple pairs on EBay and while they're still adorable I don't like that they're a medium wash so I am so happy you posted this! I'm a little nervous to do it in my washing machine…I'm going to do it when my husband is out of town so he doesn't freak out ๐Ÿ˜† one question: when you run the bleach after to clean the machine, does it matter if the water is hot or cold? And how long a load should it run? Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      February 21, 2018 / 4:23 am

      I promise it won't ruin the machine. The dye might tint some of the plastic parts the tiniest bit (if they're white), but it won't ruin subsequent loads. I have run SO much dye through my machine(s) over the years and never had any issues. For the bleach clean, I use a very full cycle to get as much water agitating as possible and I usually just use the regular warm/cold cycle – whatever my default cycle and temperature is. If the dye really stained any plastic (it's rare), I'll also put on some rubber gloves and grab a rag to use a bit of bleach to wipe down any areas and that does the trick. Good luck dyeing! I am so excited that you could track down your favorite style of jeans on eBay (I know that feeling).

  27. lindseymarie7
    August 5, 2018 / 10:05 pm

    Hi there! I’ve been searching for an answer to a problem all day and your tutorial and comments have helped a bit. Do you think a white denim vest that is not supposed to be put in hot water would dye okay in cooler water?

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      Author
      August 7, 2018 / 4:38 pm

      I’m so happy I could help! If you use a dye like Rit then it will just be lighter. I’ve tried their dye in cooler water and the result is paler. So you could try doubling up on the dye or choosing a darker color than what you ultimately want. But there are other dye brands to try that allow for colder water. I’ve used Dharma Fiber Reactive Procion Dye, which can be used in cold water. You just need to use a fixative for the dye (called soda ash). It’s a bit more money and time, but then you can use a colder dye bath and still get a deep or vibrant hue. Here’s an ice dyeing post I did (http://danslelakehouse.com/2016/08/how-to-ice-dye-pillows-blue-pillows-for.html), which lists how I prepped the fabric and shows one of the colors of that brand. You’d prep it the same way, but then create a normal dye bath. Then you can get better color without putting the vest in hot water. Good luck! Be sure to wash it first, to remove an sizing (if it’s new).

  28. Rebecca
    August 19, 2018 / 10:09 am

    Thank you for this wonderful post! Do you think I could dye two pairs of jeans at the same time if I used two black and 1 navy bottle? Thank you!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      Author
      August 20, 2018 / 11:25 am

      You can always add a second pair of jeans, although you might find they both come out a bit lighter. With dye, there are so many variables (the material, the water temperature, how much water, how long it sits in the dye bath, how much it’s agitated the dye itself) so I always err on the side of caution and do more dye/less material and water if I’m going for an inky look. But they will definitely dye, it’s just a question of how deep. Happy dyeing!

  29. LyneinVirginia
    January 5, 2019 / 7:03 pm

    Hi. I’m enjoying reading your blog. I have some ideas of my own.

    I’ve washed in my front load washer but I always feel like it’s a compromise to dying in a tub or bucket because it’s really hard to have a long soak in the washer. I have to keep stopping it right before it drains, then turn it back to the wash cycle, then stop it again, and so on. The timing is really difficult. (All of this is my compromise. I’m always trying to really really save money.) You get a deeper color if you use more dye, but you also get a somewhat deeper color if you leave the fabric in a hot bath for longer. What I’ll often do is set my big bucket or pot for dying in the kitchen sink, then periodically I’ll remove a couple of cups of the dye bath and reheat the liquid in the microwave to keep the dying going. Another thing that I’ll do is remove the main stuff that I’m dying once it’s finished, then throw in some clothes that could use a boost and, again, reheat some of the dye water, and brighten up those clothes before I dump the dye.

    The main reason that I even started a response, though, is that you told lindseymarie7″ to pre-war her vest to remove any sizing and you didn’t mention that anywhere else. I think it’s important for you to clarify when the pre-war is necessary and when it is not.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      Author
      January 7, 2019 / 1:42 am

      Thanks for you kind words and sharing your dye process ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m always on the fence about getting a front loader washing machine but they just don’t sound like fun, haha. I’d definitely miss the ease of machine dyeing things because I don’t enjoy the other methods – you can end up with a splotchy dye if you’re not agitating enough.

      Question: if you’re already using a big pot, is it a stove top pot? Because you can also dye on a stove top and then skip the hassle of having to add more hot water.

      I can certainly update the post to recommend removing sizing. I do mention rinsing or pre-washing first in the tutorial, but I can elaborate. To be honest, removing the sizing isn’t reaaallly necessary – I have skipped that and it doesn’t impact the results but in theory it can (dyeing is always a bit of gamble) – esp. in the case of Lindsey’s vest, which can’t be washed in hot water. Because she’d be missing a crucial step of the dyeing process, I wanted to be sure her best was as primed as possible. Cold water dyeing can be a struggle with some brands of dye, like Rit, so washing first was what I recommended to get her as dark a dye as possible.

  30. Rod
    March 6, 2019 / 7:21 pm

    Hi. Great stuff! I recently renewed a pair of Carhartt overalls by removing paint from the denim etc. I stupidly used a toothbrush on one section which has caused fading spots on the knee. I have one dylon jeans blue pod and was thinking of adding a black into the wash to give hopefully a deep indigo look. Any ideas/thoughts? I dyed in the past a pair of jeans which did NOT turn out as expected, and then just for an experiment, dyed a cheap jacket for laughs and it turned out brilliant. I dont want to ruin my overalls, but jeez, once you take the plunge theres not much going back. Haha

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      Author
      March 6, 2019 / 7:32 pm

      Hi Rod! The one thing with dyeing is that it’s always a bit of a risk (adventure!) because the initial factory dye, color, plus any chemicals/stains/etc all impact the final look. I have used dylon dye packs in the past and I don’t like the brand so I can’t say whether it would work or not. I use rit (or also procion dyes from dharming trading – but for the latter you need to treat with soda ash first). The one nice thing is that you can always re-dye a fabric! If it’s not dark enough you can try again. I suggest using the formula I used in my post – it worked even for the whiskering on my jeans and created an even finish, so hopefully it covers the fading for you. If you’re really committed to using your dye pod, I would be inclined to do the same as you: adding a pack of black. However, you might also want to double the dye amount recommended. So maybe two denim pods and one black (I don’t remember their recommended dose). As well, make sure your overalls are washed well to remove any fabric sizing/paint/cleaner etc. Good luck!

  31. Sheri Lee
    April 11, 2019 / 5:34 pm

    Hi, thank you for the great information, step by step instructions, and helpful pictures! I’m brand new to dyeing, so I’m a little nervous. My question is about shrinkage. I read that you need to fill your machine with HOT water. I never wash my jeans in anything but cold water because I want to avoid shrinking them. Won’t my jeans shrink when I dye them using hot water? Is there a way to prevent that from happening? What has been your experience? Thank you in advance!

    • April 11, 2019 / 5:53 pm

      Good question! I did not experience shrinkage but then again these were skinny jeans with stretch, so maybe I just didn’t notice? I have also dyed cotton dresses and cotton hoodies and never noticed shrinkage. But with dyeing, there’s always an element of surprise.

      You could pick up a cheap thrift store pair of jeans in the same fabric blend as yours and experiment first! Once you dye something once, you’ll be hooked and feel much more confident.

      If you’re really very concerned, I have started using Procion Dyes since this post. You can find them on Amazon and Dharming Trading. They are designed for cold water, although you’ll have to buy a bag of soda ash plus the dye. On the bright side, there are many more colors of dye compared to Rit Dye, so you can choose a darker wash. I have used Procion Dyes for mainly ice dyeing, but here are instructions for tub dyeing with it: https://www.dharmatrading.com/techniques/tubdye/the-tub-washing-machine-vat-bucket-dye-method.html. A bit more work, but if you’re worried about shrinkage this might be worth it.

      I can totally understand the fear about dyeing but I think your best bet is to buy some inexpensive jeans and experiment. Once you have done it, you’ll be much more at ease and then you can re-dye jeans anytime, or if you find the perfect dress or top in a boring white, dye it the perfect color. I became very hooked on dyeing and the process. Good luck!!

  32. Adam
    April 28, 2019 / 8:25 pm

    Cool article. I bought these “rust” colored jeans that were a dark orange/red color in the picture, but are basically orange in reality. If I just use a 1/4 of the oz Rit Black Dye do ya think it’ll turn em darker? I’ve never dyed jeans before, so any advice would be awesome. Thanks.

  33. Heloisa Portela
    May 16, 2019 / 3:40 pm

    I want to dye three pairs of old jeans. Do I need to dye them separately or can I dye them all together?

    • May 16, 2019 / 3:49 pm

      You can definitely dye them all together. I would just add more dye than what I’ve recommended if you want to make sure you get that inky, dark color. Most bottles of dye will say how much to use per pound of fabric. For a dark color like this, as a rule I’d say double the recommended dye that the bottle suggests. It’s always better to dye them a bit darker, in my opinion.

  34. Kim
    July 13, 2019 / 3:48 pm

    I followed your instructions exactly and my jeans came out great! It is so hard for me to find jeans that I feel comfortable with the way they fit, so when I found a pair but they were a very faded light blue wash I bought them anyway.

    Only issue I had is that even after running an empty load with bleach, my washer still looked terrible with the blue/black stains. I fixed this by spraying the drum and agitator with tilex bleach spray and waited 10 minutes, all the stains disappeared which was such a relief because my husband would have flipped out (he’s a bit of a neat freak).

    • July 16, 2019 / 11:33 am

      I’m so happy your jeans turned out! But that must have been very stressful about the washer though! I have never had that happen, but I’ve always had really old washing machines. Perhaps newer plastics absorb the dye more? Well, I’m glad to hear the spray bleach worked. Thanks for leaving a comment because if anyone else runs into this problem, I can recommend your solution!

  35. Chelsi Delcour
    July 25, 2019 / 9:09 am

    Have you tried a lighter color mix? I want a nice med/dark wash

    • July 25, 2019 / 3:01 pm

      I’m sorry I haven’t tried a different mix, but I think Rit Dye has a color chart on their website that shows different combinations and the outcome. It’s not 100% but it will help guide you.

  36. August 12, 2019 / 3:27 pm

    I finally found a pair of maternity jeans that actually fit me (I’m short and it’s so hard to find jeans in general), but the wash is light and has those bleached whispys on the thigh. I’m like you, I don’t like those so I’m super excited to try your formula (1 bottle of black + 1 bottle navy) to get a uniform darker wash like I want and get rid of those whispys. I also found the same jeans on sale 50% off, so I’m going to try 1 bottle of black and 1 bottle of denim on those.

    • August 12, 2019 / 10:30 pm

      What a great find! Those whispy lines should disappear quite nicely. I hope your jeans dyeing experiments go well!

  37. Jen U.
    September 22, 2019 / 12:54 pm

    I tried this today. I did it in my laundry tub as I was nervous about doing it in my washer. It worked great. I used the 1 black, 1 dark blue bottles of dye. One note: I only swished it around once while it was soaking and it worked out fine. After rinsing, I hung them on a hanger and put on the door knob to dry, with towels all around to catch any drips. I think poured about 1/2 cup bleach and hot water in the tub and swooshed it around. It got all the dye out. Now we will see what the jeans ook like when dry! Thanks for posting this.

    • September 22, 2019 / 9:47 pm

      I’m so happy to hear about so many success stories! Thanks for taking the time to comment and let others know what steps worked for you, in case other people would like to try dyeing in a tub this is so helpful to have. I have had issues with dyeing in a tub and not agitating enough, but it sounds like this dark formula doesn’t cause any problems – so yay!! Hope you love your “new” jeans!

  38. Christina
    September 3, 2020 / 9:50 pm

    Hi Tanya! I want to try this but curious; since I roll up my jeans all the time cause I’m so short ๐Ÿ˜, would the cuff still be lighter than the rest of the pants or will it all turn darker/ the same shade after dyeing?

    • September 3, 2020 / 10:26 pm

      I don’t currently have any jeans I dyed right now to check – this was so long ago and these jeans are since bit the dust because I wore them out – but the fabric should be dark on both sides – they will look like store bought indigo jeans. The dye typically penetrates both sides of the fabric, but they might be a bit lighter inside?

  39. April 26, 2021 / 5:28 pm

    Wow!!! I dyed 3 pair of jeans using this method yesterday and the results were perfect! Thank you for this tutorial. I was super nervous about dyeing jeans and this was great. The only thing I did differently was I added 1 tsp of dish detergent to the dye water and I also used the RIT ColorStay Dye Fixative at the end when I was done. Thank you for saving me tons of money and reducing clothing waste!

    • April 28, 2021 / 4:27 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that your dyeing was a success! Thanks for sharing your tips.

  40. Caroline Bonifacio
    May 20, 2021 / 4:39 pm

    Hey Tanya,

    Iโ€™m going to attempt dying my Jeans, little nervous so I was hoping you can help me out ๐Ÿ™‚ . They are a light blue, stretchy Jean material. I want to turn them into the dark classic navy colour. Iโ€™ve read some of the comments but I wanted clarity. What ratio of Rit Dye do you recommend? And do I follow the same method above?

    • May 21, 2021 / 10:32 am

      If you’d like them approximately the color I dyed mine, go for a 1:1 ratio of Rit Dye Black and Rit Dye Navy Blue. If you’d like to go even inkier than the color I got to, go for a ratio of 2:1 with more black than navy. I did that ratio on another dye bath and I loved how dark the jeans turned out.

      And don’t be nervous! It’s really easy, I promise. I find it’s easiest to do it in the washing machine and keep the machine agitating the whole time – re-set if you have to. If you can’t use a washing machine, you can agitate by hand but just make sure the dye bath is always being agitated because that keeps the dye from being splotchy.

      And yes, just follow the method outlined in my tutorial and you’ll be golden!

      Dye will stain your hands and surfaces, so be sure to wear gloves if you’re doing this by hand.

      Dyeing is sort of no-risk because if for any reason it doesn’t turn out, you can always re-dye it again! Good luck!!

  41. November 11, 2021 / 8:06 am

    i need to buy the day for makining real jeans to be black were can i gat the dayer?

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