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How to Dye Jeans [2 Easy Methods]

We all have a favourite pair of jeans. They fit us like they were made especially for us. They look great, they feel great … but they’re starting to fade. This can happen after years of heavy wearing and washing, but it never gets any easier to part with our favourite denim.

But what if you could revive them?

Dying your jeans would mean no painful goodbyes and no wasting of an otherwise loyal and excellent pair of jeans. To this end, we’ve put together a guide on how to dye faded jeans at home, so you can give your denim a new lease of life. You can dye your jeans by hand or using a washing machine, so pick your preferred method below.

Let’s get started:

Note: We are basing this guide on the use of Dylon clothing dyes, which are widely regarded as the most popular and most well-known fabric dyes in the UK. If using a different brand of dye, please consult the individual manufacturer’s instructions before you start.

Which Dye Colour Should I Use?

This entirely depends on the colour of your existing jeans and the colour you want them to be after you’ve dyed them. Dylon offers a huge range of dye colours including Jeans Blue (perfect for reinvigorating classic blue denim), Pewter Grey and Velvet Black. This should cover most classic denim shades, while the wider range of colours gives you options for creating more unique denim pieces of your own.

You can buy Dylon washing machine dyes and hand dyes online direct from Dylon’s website or from Amazon.

how to dye jeansImages: Dylon

How to Dye Jeans by Hand: What You’ll Need

  • Your jeans
  • Rubber gloves
  • Your Dylon hand dye
  • 500ml of warm water (for dissolving dye)
  • 6 litres of warm water (40°c) for dying
  • 10 tablespoons of salt (table salt or dye salt)
  • An old, flat-bottomed bowl or stainless steel sink

Tip: You also need to check your care label to see the fabric content of your jeans. This dye is suitable for cotton, linen and viscose fabrics. Any other garments made of wool, silk, polyester/cotton and polyester/viscose mixes are also fine but will dye to lighter shade. Your jeans cannot be dyed if they have any special finishes and/or are labelled as ‘Dry Clean Only.

How to Dye Jeans by Hand: Method

Step 1: Weigh your jeans

You will need to weigh your jeans when they are dry. A single pack of hand dye is enough to dye 250g of fabric, so make sure you have enough packs to suit your fabric weight. Once you have a sufficient amount of dye, thoroughly wash your jeans and leave damp.

Step 2: Dissolve your dye

Pop your rubber gloves on and dissolve the pack(s) of dye in your 500ml of warm water until fully dissolved.

Step 3: Fill your basin

Fill a stainless steel basin or flat-bottomed bowl with 6 litres of 40°c warm water. We would not recommend using your bath as the dye can stain plastic.

Step 4: Add salt and dye

Add your 10 tablespoons of salt and pour in your dissolved dye mixture. Stir well to ensure the mixture is evenly mixed.

Step 5: Add your jeans

Fully submerge your jeans in the dye and salt mixture. Stir continuously for 15 minutes to agitate the fabric and dye mixture.

Step 6: Stir regularly for 45 mins

Return to stir the mixture regularly for the next 45 minutes to keep the mixture agitated and ensure your jeans get an even coating of dye.

Step 7: Rinse, wash and dry

Rinse your jeans in cold water to remove any excess dye and salt. Then wash your jeans in warm water and dry them away from direct heat or direct sunlight. A clothes maid or shady garden is ideal.

You’re done! Now your favourite old jeans look good as new. Just make sure you wash them separately or with similar colours for the next few washes to avoid any excess dye transferring.

How to Dye Jeans with a Washing Machine: What You’ll Need

  • Your jeans
  • Your Dylon machine dye
  • A washing machine

How to Dye Jeans with a Washing Machine: Method

Step 1: Weigh your jeans

You will need to weigh your jeans while they are still dry. A single pack of washing machine dye is enough to dye 600g of fabric, which should be more than enough for a single pair of jeans. However if you’re dying more than one pair you may need more dye.

Step 2: Dampen your jeans

Wet your jeans with warm water and squeeze them out so they remain damp. Place in the empty drum of your washing machine. Note: Only use this type of dye in regular, front-loading washing machines.

Step 3: Add your dye pod and start wash cycle

Remove any outer packaging from your dye pod and peel off the lid. Place the pod directly into the drum with your damp jeans and close the door. You do not need to add salt as this is already included in the dye mix. Run your washing cycle as normal at 30°C or 40°C.

Step 4: Run an additional wash cycle

Once your first wash cycle is over, start the same wash cycle again but with detergent, as if you were doing a regular laundry wash. Dylon promises the dye will have no effect on your washing machine or subsequent washes.

Step 5: Dry and enjoy

Dry your jeans away from direct heat and direct sunlight, then slip them on and enjoy your favourite pair of jeans in their reinvigorated state.

All done! Remember to wash your jeans separately for the next few washes to avoid colour transferring to other clothing while the dye settles.

And that’s how to dye faded jeans! If your favourite denim really is on its last legs, there’s no harm in having a nosey at a few new pairs of designer men’s jeans or women’s jeans here at CHO Fashion & Lifestyle. There are plenty of big-name designer brands and stylish cuts to choose from.