Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dyeing in a Front Loader

I am excited to have something to add to the great list of tips at Works-for-Me-Wednesday on the blog We are THAT family!

My latest experiment worked! And it had been a long time coming. I was given some great pink capri pant hand-me-downs, several years before my girls were born (if that tells you how old they could be!). I got to wear them for one summer maybe before I stained them with something that would not come out. I was really sad about ruining these pants, so I decided to try bleaching them. That took the color out of everything but the threading and trim (Oh, how I wish I had taken a picture of them!). And then they sat in my to-be-repaired box... for years.

Now that we're moving again, I'm trying to go through things and get rid of what I don't want/need. I thought I should really give it a shot with these capris, especially since we're moving to a warmer climate. I found this at my German grocery store:

It is fabric dye with dyeing salts. It says it works for fabrics that can handle 60-95 degrees Celsius (140-203 degrees Fahrenheit) and wool, sink, and polyester. That was another risk. My pants said they needed to be washed in cold water, but many of my American bought garments say that while many clothes we've bought here say 40 degrees Celsius (which is 104 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher. So the pants had to take a heating!

As far as I could tell on the directions in German, this is what you are supposed to do:

  1. Wet the garment or fabric. Place in the washing machine drum.
  2. Open the package of dye and pour on top of the clothes in the washing machine. (For silk you have to add vinegar.)
  3. Set your machine on delicate or easy clean at 60-95 degrees Celsius (140-203F). My machine did not allow for those temps on those cycles, so I had to use the colored fabric cycle instead.
  4. After the cycle finishes, add normal laundry detergent and start a normal cleaning cycle at 40 degrees Celsius (104F).
  5. I read online that you should add bleach to the next cycle to make sure your machine is clean. I decided to skip that and try a dark load of laundry that wouldn't hurt to have a little dye (black or brown socks and t-shirts since I used dark brown dye). I also put in an old light colored rag to see if the dye was still around. Thankfully, the rag came out it's same color, so the dye had been washed through. I washed other darks next just in case, but had no problem.

You want to see the pants?

We are amazed at the success! My husband keeps commenting about how you'd never know they didn't come that way. I think I may try to dye some old lace next!
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  1. What a great result! I didn't even know you COULD dye things in a front loader, that's good news for me!

  2. Wow! How cool. i need to remember this. I have a frontloader too, as well as a few articles of clothing with "permanent" stains on them. This would be perfect.

  3. now the question is did they shrink????

  4. Great question Judi! Sorry I forgot to mention it. They still fit the same thankfully! It was worth taking the risk on something that would have otherwise been thrown out.

  5. wow! that doesn't sound as scary as I thought! and the pants look great!
    blessings on your move!



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