Faded Black Denim? Here's how to Re-Dye It

How to re-dye black denim RIT dye

 Did you know that dyeing four old shirts you love produces 74% less CO2 emissions than buying four new fast-fashion shirts?-Rit 

Save an item of clothing you love, and lessen your carbon footprint while you're at it! I chose to go with Rit dye (and here if you are in Canada) products because they are non-toxic and are not tested on animals. If you want to watch the tutorial you can find it here and here.

What you'll need:

  • The proper fabric dye for the type of fabric you are working with, check to see if you are working with synthetic or natural fabric. Dyes often come in all purpose or synthetic. For these jeans I used Rit all purpose dye in black because these are a synthetic/cotton blend. When you are choosing the proper dye for a garment, be sure to check the composition label and get a dye appropriate for the fabric you are working with. All items should be pre-washed prior to dyeing so that there is no residue on the fabric, like oil from your skin.
  • Rubber gloves
  • Tongs
  • A large pot, stainless steel sink or bucket
  • One cup of salt (for cotton, rayon or linen) or vinegar (for nylon, silk or wool)
  • Liquid dish detergent: I used dawn, but it can be any dish soap, the greener the better ;) 

How to re-dye black jeans  


1. Add the hottest water your garment can handle. When using clothing dye the water needs to be as hot as the garment can handle (check the label!), this relaxes the fabric and allows it to absorb as much dye as possible. 

2. Add the unfolded garment to the hot water and make sure it's completely submerged. You can dye your garment in a stainless steel sink, pot or a bucket. The most important thing is to ensure that the garment is submerged in enough water so that it can move freely while you stir.

3. Add one cup of salt or vinegar depending on what kind of fabric you are dying (the bottle should tell you) and one teaspoon of liquid dish soap.

4. Shake your dye really well and pour it in. Because I wanted to get these jeans as black as possible, I used the whole container of dye.

5. Use your tongs to stir the garment for 30 to 60 minutes. I'll be honest, I set a timer for 10 minutes at a time and gave it a stir intermittently. The amount of time you leave it in the water will determine how saturated the colour will be. 

6. Once the time is up, rinse with cool water until it runs clear. You can now wash by hand with a mild detergent, or in your washing machine with cool water, mild detergent and an old towel.

Now that you see how easy it is, get creative, you can dye ANYTHING fabric, seriously, even a lamp shade! Dying a garment is also a great way to save clothing with stains that you couldn't get out. 

Keep garments from fading in the first place

When you get new clothing, especially if it is cotton, here's a tip to keep it from fading. Soak clothing in salt and vinegar to lock the dye into the fibres and preserve colour for far longer. Fill a bucket with cold water, add one cup vinegar and one Tbsp of salt. Turn your item inside out and soak in this pre-wash for 30 to 60 minutes. Wash with cold water and then hang to dry. Colour in clothing will always last longer if you skip the dryer and let it air dry instead. 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for weekly blog posts by joining the e-mail list (there's a bonus discount code waiting for you too!). 


Follow @purpleastervintage on Instagram for more tips and tricks. 


Love you to bits, 


Owner, curator and creator @purpleastervintage

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published