How to Use Salt to Set Dye in Fabric


If you have ever searched for the right color fabric for a project only to come home empty handed, you may have considered dyeing your own fabrics. What you may not have known is that you can create vibrant, custom fabric shades right in your own washing machine, with items you can purchase at just about any grocery store. The simplest way to do this is by using a process known as immersion dyeing.

Things You'll Need

  • Washing machine
  • Fabric dye
  • Plastic container
  • Non-iodized salt
  • Fabric
  • Load the fabric into the washing machine. For optimal results, use a white or light-colored fabric and dampen it before loading the machine.

  • Adjust the settings on the washing machine. For all-over, even color use the highest water temperature and longest wash cycle. Start filling the machine with water.

  • Combine the salt and dye. Use one package of dye and 20 cups of salt for each pound of fabric that you are dyeing. Dissolve the dye and salt in five cups of very hot water.

  • Add the dye to the washing machine. Pour the salt and dye mixture into the soap dispenser of the washing machine. If there is no soap dispenser on the machine you are using, pour the mixture into the tub with the fabric. If you are using a machine with a dispenser, wait for all the dye mixture to drain into the machine and flush the dispenser with eight cups of warm water.

  • Let the washing machine run the entire cycle before removing the fabric from the machine. Immediately clean the washing machine with bleach after removing the fabric.

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  • Photo Credit salt image by Andrey Rakhmatullin from
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