What Would Happen If I Tried To Dye This Bedspread?

I have a white comforter . . . well, it used to be white. Now it’s got quite a few stains which have resisted all attempts at bleaching them out. I’d like to dye it to try to hide them.

It’s made of cotton, with polyester batting. It will fit into my washing machine, but doesn’t agitate freely.

My only other attempt at dying fabrics was when I tried to dye my white lab coats dark brown. One of them came out a lovely light tan, while the other turned a dark brick orange. So, I know that I won’t necessarily get the color the bottle promises. That doesn’t bother me.

What I’m concerned about is whether it will dye evenly if the comforter can’t agitate freely in the water.

Any thoughts? Advice?

Hit it with a 1920s style dyth ray. Dye, bedspread, dye!

If the stains are colour-resistant, they will show even with a dark dye. Consider, too, how the colours of the stains will react with the colour you choose to dye.

No, if the comforter does not agitate freely in the washer, there will be pockets of dye trapped into it, and you will get a variegated / splotchy effect. This may or may not be attractive though.

However, my experience with using a washing machine to dye fabric, is that you’ve got quite a bit of rinsing to do before you can count on not dying your other laundry.

Actually, for very little expense, you can probably make a cover for the comforter, and if you’re set on dying some fabric, such a cover will agitate freely. Two flat sheets, sewn together at top and sides and with a simple closure at the bottom. Really easy.

Be careful putting something with that polyester batting in the washing machine also. I’ve had that stuff just disintegrate after even a gentle wash cycle (hmmm, could have been the death ray :D).

Have you tried taking the comforter to the cleaners?

Also, when dying very light fabric to very dark, the dye manufacturer usually recommends using more than one package or bottle of dye.

I think that there is a chart for amount of material/amount of dye needed/time left in dye.

Hope that helps.

Oops, and your question on will it dye evenly without agitating freely?

No. I used to use dye quite a bit, and that’s pretty important, unless of course you wouldn’t mind a “tie-dyed” effect.

If you decide to try this, I’d do a “test spot” if you can find a seam where it won’t show.

Then, since dye is pretty cheap anyway, you can try it, but if you want it to dye evenly, I’d do it in the bathtub (you’ll have to agitate it with some sort of large paddle (a couple of clean spatulas might work).

Also, make sure the bathtub is COMPLETELY scrubbed clean and rinsed very well before you try this. Soap residue can interfere with the dyeing process.

In fact, if you dye stuff in your washer??? I’d recommend that you run an empty wash and double rinse first.

Not to be disingenuous – but why don’t you just get a new comforter? It doesn’t sound like this is a particularly nice or valuable one, and you can get nice ones for not that much money.

It’s not, but I hate to throw it away without at least trying to rescue it. If the dye job goes badly, I plan to use it on the dog’s bed.

One of the stains comes from a glass of tea spilled in a tickling incident, the others are “mystery spots” which are yellow in color. (I’m sort of afraid to speculate on that one.) The comforter comes clean in the wash, I just can’t remove the stains. I don’t know if they would be dye-resistant or not.

The bathtub might not work for me. The comforter might be pretty heavy when wet, and wringing it out may be challenging. Plus, my bathtub is plastic, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it may dye, too.

Oh, geez, when I first glanced at Lissa’s last post, I saw “mystery spots”, “yellow”, and a word I read for a moment as “ejaculate.” I had just enough time to think, “Well, that’s not much of a mystery, then, is it?” before I registered that the word was actually speculate.

I’ve dyed a lot of things and sometimes it works really well and other times it hasn’t. A lot depends on the fabric that the thing to be dyed is made of and also the size (because of agitation in the washer. Personally I’ve always used the washer rather than messing with stovetop dying. So, my advice:

  1. Don’t ever dye anything very valuable – the possibility exists that you will screw the item up beyond salvaging.

  2. Choose a color that will look good with the original color if the end result is somewhat splotchy or marbled. I died a mauve bodysuit orange once (I had started dying my hair red and the pink didn’t look good on me any longer) – the spandex-ish fabric didn’t take the dye real well, so the end result was kind of tie-dyish. Fortunately the two colors looked good together and I’ve gotten a lot of wear out of the bodysuit since. With a white comforter, I would choose a lighter color. Tan would be pretty marbled with white. So would most pastel colors. I don’t think black, or forest green would do as well.

  3. Give it a shot. If it doesn’t work out you can either recover the comforter (very easy to do with even minimal sewing skills), add it to the camping or beach blanket pile (where looks don’t matter) or give it to the dog.

  4. Run empty cycles on the washing machine 3 times after using it to dye someting – first with a full cup of bleach, second with detergent only and last with water alone.

  5. Let us know how it comes out!