How to Dye Fabric Using a Front-Loading Washing Machine

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Dyeing fabrics is a lot of fun, and it's pretty easy as long as you can use your washing machine to do part of the work for you. If you have plans to dye clothing or bedding but aren't sure how that works in a front-loader, follow this process.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Dye
  • Measuring cup
  • Salt
  • Old towels
  • Laundry detergent
  • Bleach
  • Place wet fabric into the front-loader. Wet the fabric in the sink, or run it through a quick cycle in the washing machine before attempting to dye it. Note that the fabric should be wet but not soaking.

  • Pre-dissolve the dye before placing it in the washer. You will need to dilute the dye with four cups of very hot tap water. You can even boil it if your tap water doesn't get warm enough. Allow the dye to dissolve completely before adding it to the washing machine.

  • Add the four cups of dye and water to the soap dispenser. The washer will automatically add it to the washer at the correct time.

  • Watch the washer. You have to wait around for a bit until the washer adds the dye mixture to the wash. When it does, add another four cups of hot water into the dispenser to further dilute the dye mixture.

  • Hold off for another 10 minutes, then add the salt mixture to four cups of hot water. Add it to the dispenser just as you did in the previous steps.

  • Add in another four cups of hot water immediately after the salt. Remember, the more water, the better the dye job will be. Allow the washing machine to finish the cycle and then take the fabric out to check.

  • Clean out your washer. Once you're done dyeing in your front-loader, remove the fabric and add a few old towels along with some laundry soap and a cup of bleach. Run it through a cycle or two in the washer to remove all dye residue.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use the hottest setting possible on your washing machine. Many front-loaders have a sanitary cycle, which works great for dyeing fabric.
  • Read the instructions on the dye carefully before proceeding. Different types of dye require different steps, so always refer to the packaging instructions before trying to dye your fabric.
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