How to Dye Curtains in a Washing Machine

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Dyeing curtains in the washer is less messy than in a tub or sink.

If you don't like the color of your curtains, you don't have to take them down and buy a different shade. Instead, dye the curtains at home in your washing machine. Dyeing curtains is an inexpensive way to give them a makeover. Proper preparation of the curtains and using the dye correctly will help ensure the curtains come out just the way you want them.


Step 1

Fill your washing machine with hot water. Set it to the largest load setting to ensure the fabric can move around freely inside the machine.

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Step 2

Add fabric dye to the water according to the package instructions. Different types of dye will require different ratios of dye to water. Also adjust the amount of dye according to how dark or light a shade you desire. The package instructions on the dye will give you instructions on how to reach the desired shade.

Step 3

Wet the curtains thoroughly with hot water. Wring them out lightly and smooth them out to remove wrinkles.

Step 4

Submerge the curtains into the dye bath in the washing machine. Set the washer to the longest wash cycle. Turn on the machine and let the curtains run through a complete cycle.


Step 5

Keep the curtains wet in the dye bath for at least 30 minutes before the rinse cycle begins. If the wash cycle stops before 30 minutes, reset the machine to start the wash cycle again. Once at least 30 minutes has elapsed, forward the machine to the rinse cycle.

Step 6

Run the curtains through a full cold water rinse cycle. More than one cycle may be necessary. Continue rinsing until the rinse water in the washer is clear.

Step 7

Remove the curtains from the washer. Use your hands to smooth out the wrinkles and hang them to dry.


If you are dying your curtains a deep shade such as dark blue, black or purple, after running them through the rinse cycle run them through another wash cycle with warm water and laundry detergent. Run them through a cold rinse cycle before removing them to dry.

Clean your washer after you’ve dyed your curtains to ensure no dye is left in the machine. Set the washer to the highest water level and the hottest water setting. Add the usual amount of detergent and 1 cup of bleach. Let the machine run through a complete wash cycle.

Keep in mind that not all fabrics dye the same. Fabrics such as silk, nylon and cotton absorb the dye more quickly than natural or synthetic fabrics, which take longer to dye. Check your curtains in the dye bath frequently and leave them in to soak longer if necessary to reach the desired shade.

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