Almost all black clothes start to lose color from washing and drying, and then you end up with a wardrobe full of gray t-shirts and pants. Instead of replacing them with new clothes, try to restore them to their color at home.
Method 1 of 3: Use dye
Step 1. Examine the fabric
Determine if your garment will absorb the color. The dye works best on natural textiles like cotton, linen, and silk. It can also be effective for certain synthetic fabrics such as rayon and nylon. Others, like the 100% polyester fabric and spandex, do not absorb the dye well at all. Don't try to color them with it.
- It is not recommended that you attempt to dye any fabric item marked “dry clean only”.
- Different fabrics absorb the dye differently and results vary. If you are unsure of a particular garment, try it out on a small part first.
Step 2. Prepare your work plan
Cover it completely with plastic or newspaper before you start. Make sure you have sponges and paper towels handy in case you spill any stain. Use plastic or stainless steel buckets or a stainless steel sink to prepare the coloring solution.
- Do not use a porcelain or fiberglass tub for the dyeing process, as these materials will be stained.
- Wear rubber gloves throughout the dyeing and rinsing process.
Step 3. Fill the container with water
Fill the bucket or stainless steel sink with very hot water. The hotter it is, the darker the color obtained. 60 ° C is the highest temperature you can use and the one which will give the darkest black. Use enough hot water to completely submerge your garment.
If you want really deep black and the tap water isn't hot enough, heat some in a kettle, saucepan or microwave
Step 4. Prepare the dye
Dissolve the powder in very hot water in a separate container. Make sure it is completely dissolved. Stir the solution with a Chinese chopstick or other tool that you can stain until well mixed. If you are using liquid tincture, you just need to shake it well before adding it to the water in the main bucket.
Read the directions on the package to make sure you are using enough dye for the amount of clothing you are dyeing. The amount to use depends on each brand, so consult the packaging or the leaflet for the exact dosages
Step 5. Pour the mixture into the water
Add the tincture you made to the hot water in the bucket or sink. Mix the two liquids well. The container should contain enough water so that your garment can be moved and stirred easily in the dye solution. This is important so that it takes on a homogeneous color.
- Add a tablespoon of lye to the coloring solution. It will help the fabric to absorb the dye. Stir the liquid until the lye is completely dissolved.
- If you are dyeing cotton, rayon, ramie, or linen, add a glass of table salt to the solution. It will make the color more intense.
- If you are dyeing nylon, silk or wool, add a glass of white vinegar to the solution to intensify the color.
Step 6. Immerse your garment in the solution
The longer it soaks, the darker the black will be. You can leave it for up to an hour. It will have to be stirred and turned over constantly during this time.
- Try to keep the temperature of the hot water as constant as possible. Make sure you have a kettle, stove, or microwave next to you so you can heat some water to supplement the coloring solution.
- You can also put the solution in a large stainless steel saucepan that you heat on the stove during the process to keep the water at the same temperature.
- If you soak your clothes in hot water alone before dipping them in the coloring solution, they will become smoother and absorb the dye even more easily!
Step 7. Rinse the garment
Take it out of the coloring solution and rinse it with lukewarm water. Lukewarm water will remove the dye from the surface of the fabric more effectively. Then rinse the garment in cold water. Continue until the rinse water is clear.
- When you remove the clothes from the solution, they will be wet and look darker than they will when dry.
- Turn the items over and put them in the washing machine. Wash them alone in lukewarm water. Use mild detergent and select a gentle wash program.
Step 8. Dry the clothes
You can hang them out to air dry or use a tumble dryer. Natural drying is still preferable, as it retains dark colors better. Once dry, your clothes will be ready to wear.
- The first three times you wash your dyed clothes after wearing them, wash them in cold water without any other items. Use a mild detergent without bleach and select a gentle wash cycle.
- After the first three times, you can wash the dyed items with other clothes of the same color that you did not dye, but always use cold water and a mild detergent.
Method 2 of 3: Using coffee
Step 1. Put the clothes in the washing machine
If you are treating more than one, make sure they are the same color. Run a normal wash cycle with cold water.
- This method is most effective for cotton items, such as faded black t-shirts. It does not work as well on other fabrics.
- If you want to make black very intense, coffee is not as effective as black fabric dye. It gives more natural looking results.
Step 2. Brew coffee
Prepare very strong black coffee in a coffee maker. The stronger it is, the darker the result will be. Take this into account when making coffee. You need 500 ml for this method. Use a large coffee maker rather than a small one for brewing one or two cups.
- If you prefer, you can replace the coffee with 500 ml of very black tea to achieve similar results.
- It doesn't matter how you brew the coffee, as long as it's dark and fresh. If you drink soluble coffee, you can use it. You don't have to use a coffee maker.
Step 3. Add the coffee to the rinse water
When the washing machine's rinse cycle begins, add 500 ml of coffee to the water. Turn off the machine and let it do the job with the coffee. Let it run normally until the end of the cycle.
- If you have ever dyed your clothes with commercial dye, you will notice that the smell during and after the process is much better with coffee.
- Coffee is also non-toxic and won't stain your washing machine drum.
Step 4. Dry the clothes
Spread them out and let them air dry. If you use a tumble dryer, dark items may wash out. Get in the habit of systematically spreading your black clothes after washing them to maintain their color. Once dry, you can wear them.
Method 3 of 3: Protect colors
Step 1. Don't wash too often
Wash dark clothes only when really needed. Each wash removes some color, which means the less you wash the better, especially for denim items, which wash out the fastest.
- To avoid having to wash your black clothes too often, take them off and air them after wearing them instead of washing them. Put each item on a hanger and hang it on its own somewhere for a day before putting it back in the closet.
- After you've worn and aired an item two or three times, you can wash it.
Step 2. Sort the laundry
When washing clothes, sort them by color and weight. Always wash dark clothes together to avoid rubbing off on lighter items in the machine. Also sort the fabric by weight and type.
If you wash fragile laundry with items made of heavier fabrics, fragile clothes may be damaged and those that are thicker may not be as clean as possible at the end
Step 3. Wash fragile clothes by hand
Agitation of the washing machine during a wash cycle is too aggressive for some delicate fabrics. Hand wash them in cold water to keep their color and avoid damaging them.
- If you really don't want to hand wash these clothes, put them in a small mesh bag before putting them in the washing machine. The bag will protect them and they will be damaged less.
- If you are unsure of how to wash certain items, have them dry cleaned.
Step 4. Turn over the clothes
Turn black clothes inside out before washing them. This will protect their color from agitation and friction in the washing machine. During the wash cycle, the fibers of the clothes rub against each other, damaging them and eventually causing them to lose their color.
Step 5. Wash the laundry gently
Wash your black items in cold water on a gentle cycle. Hot or lukewarm water can wash out the fabric, and too vigorous a cycle can cause dark clothes to lose color. Machine washing is quite aggressive, but a delicate laundry program will protect your clothes and keep their colors better.
If you can adjust the soil level on your washing machine, always select the lowest (unless your clothes are heavily soiled). This setting is less damaging to dark clothes than others
Step 6. Use a suitable detergent
Buy black or brightly colored laundry detergent. Never use normal laundry containing bleach. Several manufacturers sell detergents made specifically for dark laundry. Try to find some.
Use as little detergent as possible to wash your clothes. Too much detergent can deteriorate the colors
Step 7. Hang out your laundry
Do not dry your black clothes in the dryer, as this appliance can remove the color. Take items out of the washing machine, shake them out and immediately hang them out on a drying rack, pulling them apart to dry.