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How to Set RIT Dye in Fabric


Dyeing your own fabric can give you the unique color and style you want, at a fraction of the cost of purchasing custom material and clothing. Although dyeing fabric is a relatively straightforward and simple process, setting the dye is the key to obtaining the desired results. Skipping this application can result in faded and uneven colors that quickly wash out. Consider a few steps and options to learn how to set RIT® brand fabric dye.

Dying Basics
If you’re new to dyeing fabric, make sure you follow the instructions on the RIT® dye package exactly. Not all fabrics take dye the same, so visit RITdye.com for a simple tutorial. Always wash your fabric first, and make sure it is completely wet before dyeing. This will help distribute the dye evenly.

Choose Setting Method
After completing the dyeing process successfully, choose from several methods of setting the dye. Setting methods include heat by microwave oven, iron, oven, dryer or hair dryer, and setting with vinegar or salt.

Heat setting by oven or microwave oven
– If you’re using the heat setting method for your Rit®-dyed fabric, make sure you do not use dry heat, as it could scorch the fabric and cause fire. It is not recommended that nylon fabric be heat set, as it can melt.

– Place the wet, dyed fabric in an oven-safe uncovered container and bake it at 200 degrees Fahrenheit until dry, or in the microwave on high for two minutes. You could also steam the garment in a steamer pot on the stovetop for about 30 minutes.

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– Make sure you sanitize any kitchen pots and utensils completely before use and after dyeing. Do not use dyeing pots and utensils for food again, as they could contain toxins.

Heat setting by iron or hair dryer, or dryer
– Place a towel on top of the ironing board, and situate your wet, dyed fabric on top.

– Iron the fabric on a medium-to-high setting, taking care not to scorch. A good once-over with the iron should set the dye.

– If you are using a hair dryer to spot dry your fabric, place a towel on a flat surface and your wet, dyed fabric on top. Set the dyer to low heat and run the dryer over the fabric with even strokes for about 30 minutes.

– Place your wet dyed fabric in the dryer on high heat for about 15 minutes. Take care not to have any other clothing or laundry in the dryer, as the dye will run. Also, dye may come off the fabric and adhere to the dryer walls, so this method may not work for you.

Chemical setting with vinegar or salt
– For setting with salt, add the recommended amount of salt directly into the dye bath. The amount may vary, but is generally around a cup for a pound of fabric. Let the fabric soak for at least 30 minutes.

– For setting with vinegar, add one cup of vinegar do the dye bath. Vinegar is especially helpful in setting nylon, polyester or animal fiber fabrics, but not particularly effective on cottons.

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Rinse newly dyed and set fabric separately in cold water. After the first washing, wash your fabric with similar colors in cold water to avoid the color fading or running.

Dye will stain-make sure you wear old clothes and rubber gloves to avoid skin contact with the dye. Beware that the dye will also stain your container, including the washing machine basin. After dyeing, run your washer empty with hot water and bleach.

RitDye.com: Dying Techniques

BrandLandUSA.com: About RIT Dye