Dyeing clothes has fallen sharply out of fashion in recent decades. But why? I remember my mother’s efforts to keep our wardrobes fresh and suitable by buying home dye kits and dyeing clothing, sheets, and even shoes in the washing machine. So why aren’t we doing this now?
Of course, part of the reason is that clothes are far more readily available nowadays. If you can’t find the colour or fit you need, you can nip online and find something that better suits your fancy. Cheap outlets like Primark offer clothing that costs so little, and is often so poorly made, that valuing it is the furthest thing from anyone’s mind. But dyeing clothing can easily help you take a more active role in enjoying your clothes and get precisely what you want or need.
Another reason for dyeing clothes would be staining. If an item of clothing has sustained a stain which you simply can’t get rid of, consider dyeing it a darker colour which will mask the stain and make your clothing look brand-new. You won’t see the stain and you’ll refresh your wardrobe at the same time – so dyeing may well be the perfect way to deal with light-coloured clothing when it becomes stained.
An important thing to consider when dyeing clothing is that the dye may run the first time the clothing is washed. The directions on the packet will inform you as to precisely what you need to do. If you’re in doubt, take your clothing after dyeing it and run it through two more cycles of washing. During the second cycle, add in a throwaway scrap of white fabric. This will allow you to see precisely what’s going on; if any dye is leaking it will be visible on the white fabric.
Before washing other clothing in your washing machine, if you have any concerns, wash it without any clothing in. If in doubt, add in that scrap of white fabric again and see if any dye turns up. This is not usually a problem, and again the guidelines accompanying your dye should stipulate whether or not you need to do this.
Check that the fabric you’re throwing in will take the dye. Some fabrics will not take dye at all, and others will take it unevenly. While this may lead to results you enjoy – I’m remembering white plimsolls which turned blue but left the elastic white – you want to be sure it won’t ruin the item for wearing.
Finally, don’t skimp on dye. Saving money on the dye may seem like a good idea initially, but when you have to replace clothing that has not been dyed properly due to cheap dye, it will turn into a false economy indeed. If you purchase the right supplies and take the time to figure everything out, you’ll soon be addicted to throwing your clothes in the wash and watching them come out looking brand-new!