Re-Dyeing Jeans?

I have a couple of pairs of jeans I really like that are in good shape except that they’ve faded some, and I’d like to dye them a nice dark blue (they’d look nicer in general, and especially at work) but I’ve never done anything like that. I’m assuming I’d need a bucket and whatnot, and getting the dye would be easy enough, but is there anything I’d need to know? Any tips or hints for doing it well? Is this actually a bad idea and I don’t know it?

Any help would be appreciated. I hate shopping for clothes and would really like to keep these pants looking as good as I can for a loooong time.

I tried dyeing some jeans a while back. I bought a box of Rit dye and followed the instructions.

The denim seemed quite resistant to the dye, so I didn’t get the effect I wanted. But I was going from a fairly light wash to what I hoped would be a dark brown. They went kind of an odd purpley-brown colour.

Since you’re staying the same colour but just a darker shade, you will probably have better luck.

I found too that the dye didn’t seem very colour-fast, so that it something I would check with whatever brand you go with. In spite of their gruesome colour, I wore them a couple of times out of desperation, and each time I washed them, the washwater looked dirty from the dye.

Honestly I don’t think you have anything to lose, but I would try just one pair first. I also seem to recall reading something somewhere about using salt or vinegar to help the colour “hold”.

Yes, you need to use a “mordant” to fix the dye to the fabric’s fibers. Usually with cottons, you need to use a salt, rather than an acid.

If you forget the mordant, the dye will wash out pretty quickly, as you’ve already discovered.

Both RIT and Dylon have good how-to info and tips on their sites. Whichever brand you go with, be sure to read the instructions as there will be differences depending on the kind of fabric and the color of the dye - some dyes are pre-packaged with mordant already in them, for example.

Don’t use Rit or any of that crap. It’s good for virtually nothing.

Go to and read the directions for dyeing cotton.

You can order the dye and mordant from them. Regular fiber reactive dyes for cotton are cheap and easy and work beautifully. I haven’t checked the site so I don’t know for sure, but I’ll bet they have some nice denim/indigo colors.

ETA–in case anybody’s interested, they offer 4 different blacks, and one of them is specifically recommended for re-dyeing black cotton clothing that has faded a bit. I’ve been meaning to do that…

That looks like a great site. I will definitely check them out.

I’ve had pretty good luck with RIT. My aunt, who frequently sends the oddest most out of date outfits and clothing items (but new, so I have no idea where she finds this stuff), once sent me a truly hideous pair of red, white and blue jeans.

The jeans were off-white and the graphics were all over the jeans in red and blue, odd things like wagon wheels and other “Americana”. The funny part was that they fit wonderfully and actually were cute on fit and style-wise. I happened to have some chocolate brown RIT sitting around and I decided it couldn’t hurt, after all, neither the RIT nor the jeans had cost me anything.

The color turned out nice and the silly cutesy graphics faded into the now newly brown background in sort of a tone on tone look. I never had any trouble with them fading either. But IIRC, I did do the vinegar afterwash thing.

Hope that helps.

Heh. I’ve bought a couple of boxes of RIT just in hopes of dying something a weird color. :smiley: But I also love your user-name in conjunction with this thread.