How To Dye Your Jeans

by Jamie Wilson

Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA

So your favourite jeans fit you perfectly, make you feel slim and are the best length. No wonder you don’t want to throw them away. Read on to find out how to restore your old pair of jeans and make them look brand new. Let’s dye them!

Chances are you wear your jeans more often than any other piece of clothing in your wardrobe. Since you wear denim pretty much every day, it’s probably worn out now. If your jeans faded from too many wearings and washings, you may consider dyeing them, or just going all out and lightening / bleaching them.

How To Dye Denim

You can easily revive your faded jeans by dyeing them! The process is simple and you’ll only need to buy a Rit dye colour which is considered the best fabric dye. Read on if you want to find out how to dye jeans black.

Where Can I Buy Rit Dye?

You can choose from many Rit dye colours and they’re available anywhere from grocery stores to pharmacies. Rit dye comes in both powder and liquid and it doesn’t matter which one you decide to use.

Mom always said don’t play ball in the house. But she never warned you off using Rit Dye because it’s safe to use, indoors and out.

– Rit Studio

What You’ll Need

  • Your jeans
  • One box/ half a bottle of Rit dye colour
  • Bucket
  • Three gallons of hot water
  • Gloves
  • Old wooden spoon
  • Two cups of chlorine bleach

You can also check out the video below to find out how to dye your jeans in a bucket.

Step By Step Guide

  1. Fill your bucket with three gallons of hot water.
  2. Pour half a bottle of black dye into the water. If you decide to use Rit dye powder, use the whole box.
  3. Mix Rit dye liquid/ powder with hot water.
  4. Slowly immerse your jeans in the bucket.
  5. Stir until the jeans are soaked thoroughly.
  6. Let your jeans soak for at least an hour.
  7. Rinse your jeans with cold water.
  8. Wash your jeans in a washing machine.
  9. Let the jeans air dry.
  10. Clean your washing machine.

Pro Tip: Use an old wooden spoon to stir. Jean dye should come off with soap but you still want to avoid getting dirty, don’t you? In addition, it’ll take you a long time to get rid of the denim dye remnants around your fingernails.

Pro Tip 2: Stir your jeans every ten minutes to avoid random darker spots.

Pro Tip 3: You should clean it immediately after the dyeing process has finished using the hottest water setting on your washing machine. You don’t want your whites to turn grey next time you do the laundry.

Pro Tip 4: Washing machines automatically weigh your clothes to determine the water level. You should put some old fabrics/ towels into your washing machine along with your detergent and two cups of chlorine bleach. There are also washing machine cleaner pouches which can be used as well.

How To Dye Your Jeans

If you’re not up to dyeing jeans using our first option but still want your navy blue jeans look brand new, you can also re-dye jeans in a washer.

What You’ll Need

  • Your jeans
  • Glass measuring cup
  • Cup of table salt
  • Two Rit dye navy blue powder packets
  • Metal spoon

Step By Step Guide

Add fade to blue jeans to your wardrobe using our simple step by step guide.

  1. Add four cups of hot water to your glass measuring cup.
  2. Add one cup of table salt.
  3. Add two navy blue powder packets.
  4. Stir the contents using a metal spoon.
  5. Wet your jeans in warm water and then put them in the washer wet.
  6. Use your washer’s hottest water settings and start your chosen cycle.
  7. Pour the dye solution into the spot where you’d put your detergent.
  8. Open your detergent compartment once the dye has gone to the cycle and fill it with four cups of hot water to flush the colour out and avoid stains.
  9. Once the cycle is done, wash your jeans again with detergent in another warm cycle.
  10. Let the jeans air dry and clean your washing machine. Follow the tips in the previous guide.

How To Dye Jeans Using Stovetop Technique

This is our final guide to dyeing your jeans black.

What You’ll Need

  • Your jeans
  • Rit dye liquid/ powder
  • Large four gallon cook pot
  • Measuring cup and spoons
  • Salt/ white vinegar
  • Metal tongs and a spoon
  • Gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Table cover

Step By Step Guide

  1. Protect your work surface using a plastic table cover.
  2. Pour three gallons of hot water into your large cook pot.
  3. Add one powder box or half a bottle of Rit dye liquid.
  4. Add one cup of salt along with a squirt of dishwashing liquid. Stir.
  5. Use a paper towel to test your dye colour to make sure it’s the shade you want.
  6. Wet your jeans and then add them to the dye bath in your pot.
  7. Bring the dye bath to simmer and stir constantly for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove your jeans from the dye bath using metal tongs and rinse them with water.
  9. Hand-wash your jeans or put them in the washing machine. If you decide to put them in the washing machine, you’ll need to clean it afterwards.
  10. Hang your jeans to air dry.
  11. Clean everything you used immediately with chlorine bleach.

Pro Tip 1: Prewash your jeans to remove any finishes that could interfere with dye absorption.

Pro Tip 2: Smooth out wrinkles on your jeans to prevent uneven dyeing.

How To Lighten Jeans

Lightening, also known as stone washing, isn’t a difficult process and can easily be achieved in the comfort of your own home. Do you want to rock a light coloured jeans but don’t want to spend a fortune on a new pair? We’ve got you covered! Check out our easy step by step guide to find out how to make your dark coloured jeans lighter.

What You’ll Need

  • Your jeans
  • Bleach
  • Bucket
  • Gloves

Pro Tip: Start with a relatively small amount to avoid lightening your denim too much. You can always add more bleach later.

Step By Step Guide

  1. Fill a large bucket with water.
  2. Put on a pair of rubber gloves.
  3. Fill the cap from a bleach bottle. The amount of bleach depends on how much you want to lighten your jeans. Mix water with bleach.
  4. Immerse your jeans in the bucket.
  5. Let your jeans soak in the water and bleach mixture. Check the progress every 15 minutes.
  6. Remove your jeans from the bucket when you’re happy with how light they are.
  7. Rinse your jeans with cold water.
  8. Hang your jeans out to dry.
  9. Wash your lightened jeans in the watching machine. Use detergent and fabric softener to get rid of the smell of bleach.
  10. You may want to repeat the lightening process if you haven’t achieved the desired shade.
  11. Remember that denim appears darker when it’s wet.

Pro tip 1: If you don’t want to lighten some areas more than others, make sure that your jeans are fully submerged.

Pro tip 2: Lay your jeans out flat and wrinkle free to achieve even lightening.

How To Keep Black Jeans From Fading

If you’re a fan of black jeans, it’s a necessity to know how to wash them properly. Faded black jeans look great, but we assume you don’t want to spend a little fortune on a perfect black pair of jeans just to see them fade after a few washes. Your jeans will eventually fade, but there are few easy tricks which will prolong their wear life period.

  • Wash Jeans In Cold Water: The dark colour of your jeans will fade quicker if you let your jeans soak up the heat in high temperature.
  • Wash Your Jeans Inside Out: Washing denim inside out should help your jeans keep their colour in and lessen the contact the fabric has with your detergent.
  • Wash Your Jeans With Dark Colours: This seems a bit straight-forward, but it’s extremely important. Colour catchers are great, but these will only prevent colours from mixing, however, they’ll allow colours to fade each other out.
  • Use A Gentle Cycle: Check the label on your jeans for more details. You should use a very gentle cycle or hand-wash them because the rougher the cycle, the more fade will happen.

If you decide to hand-wash your jeans, fill your bath with a few centimetres of cold water, turn your jeans inside-out, lay them flat and let the water cover them. You should then let them soak for 45 minutes and finally, rinse them with cold water to remove detergent.

  • Use A Detergent Made For Dark Colours: We highly recommend buying a detergent specially made for dark colours. These detergents aren’t expensive and if there’s a detergent made for keeping your clothes dark, why wouldn’t you give it a try?
  • Try Adding A Cup Of Vinegar: This sounds like a bit weir suggestion, right? However, vinegar should help seal the dye within the fabric so that they won’t continue to bleed.
  • Try Adding A Teaspoon Of Salt: Adding a bit of salt can help set your dye in to prevent your jeans from bleeding too much as well.
  • Don’t Tumble Dry: As we’ve already mentioned, black jeans will fade quicker when exposed to high temperatures. Hang your denims to air-dry upside down.

Your Quick Guide on How To Dye Jeans

  • Washing your jeans inside out in cold water should prevent your favourite jeans from fading.
  • If you’re up to darkening your jeans, you’ll need to buy Rit dye colours no matter what option you choose.
  • You can dye denim in a bucket, in your washing machine or even in your stovetop.
  • It’s important to clean your washing machine right after you’ve finished dyeing your jeans. Don’t forget to use the hottest water setting, your detergent and two cups of chlorine bleach.
  • If you want to stone wash your jeans (make them lighter), you’ll need to use bleach.
  • The length of lightening process will depend on how light you want your jeans to be. It’s important to remember that jeans appear darker when they’re wet.

On That Note…

It’s hard not to love a good pair of jeans. And it’s even harder to say goodbye to jeans after years of wearing them. Luckily, this may not be the case anymore! We hope you found this article helpful and are now ready to revive your old pair of jeans.

Feature image from Pinterest

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