Friday, November 4, 2011

Mama's Got a New Pair of Pants

You ever have that favorite pair of jeans that gets washed and worn so much that the color fades to a weird shade of blue? Yeah me too. I hate that. Everything about the jeans is perfect... they aren't torn, they fit great, they're all broken in... but the color looks crappy.

Have you ever noticed the Rit Dye in the laundry section of the grocery store? Have you ever wondered if it works? Or if it was actually feasible to dye your clothes? Well... so have I. But it's something I always just forgot about. But the other day as I was doing my shopping wearing my faded (and not so cute) pair of jeans I thought, why not? What have I got to lose? I don't like how these jeans look anyway so if the color gets ruined, no big deal. I read the box to see how much dye I needed and ended up getting 4 boxes of dye: 2 Navy Blue and 2 Black. I wanted a dark blue result and thought this would be the best way to achieve the look I wanted.

To my surprise, dying my jeans was not hard or messy. First you need to wash them to make sure there's no dirt or stains. I decided I wanted to dye 2 pairs of jeans and a hoodie and 4 boxes of dye just happened to be the right amount for this quantity. The dye needs to be dissolved in hot water first, along with a cup of salt (for cotton clothing). To avoid a mess, I dumped the salt and dye into an empty gallon jug, added the hot water, and shook it up to mix. I took my freshly washed clothes out of the washing machine, set it to the "Large" load size, and filled it up with hot water. After dunking each item of clothing in the hot water, I took them out and set them aside, dumped the dye into the washer and let it agitate for a few seconds to mix, then added the clothes back to the washer. The clothes need to soak in the dye for 30 minutes, so I set the washer to the longest cycle (18 mins. on my machine), then reset it for another 18 min. cycle before it got to the rinse stage. After the second 18 minute cycle, I let the washer run through the complete rinse and spin. Once the dye cycle was complete, I ran the clothing through a regular cold wash cycle with a little detergent then dried as usual. And that was it!

There is a little clean-up involved... I ran my washer through another hot cycle with bleach to clean out the drum a little more (as suggested on the dye packaging) and wiped off the splatters of dye on the washer lid, but it wasn't bad at all and my washing machine was just fine afterwards! I couldn't believe how well this worked. It's like I got a couple pairs of brand new jeans and my hoodie looks just as it did when I bought it! Woohoo! And the great thing is, this cost under $10!

Sadly, I forgot to take a 'before' picture of my clothes before I got them wet, but my jeans were a medium weird shade of blue, close to this:



Front View- Jeans & Hoodie
(Don't you just love my clunky work shoes?)

Side View

Also, you'll notice the stitching on my jeans isn't dyed, which is awesome. That's because generally the stitching on jeans is a different material which doesn't absorb the dye. This also means that this dye will not work with certain types of materials. 100% cotton is best, but there are some blends and other fabrics that will work, you just have to alter the process. Best to check first to see if your article of clothing is dye-worthy though.

So there you have it! A cheap, easy way to bring new life to old clothes. Who'd have thought?


Paul said...

Huh. You know, I actually did wonder how well that stuff worked. When I was in high school I worked in the downtown Woolworth's and we stocked that stuff.

thebluemuse said...

I've been contemplating the jeans dyeing for YEARS but didn't think it would actually work. So glad to see success! I wonder how well it will work with a front-load washing machine. Hrm.

Karen said...

I'm sure it would work just as well... they actually have front-loader specific instructions! Their website was more helpful than the actual box btw.

Collette Smith said...

That totally rocks!