If you’ve recently dyed your hair, you might want to take advantage of the remaining hair dye kit. Hence, you may try to color clothes from hair dye without spending a penny on the fabric dye.
In general, dyeing is the process of adding dyes or pigments to textile materials in order to obtain the desired color. It involves absorption, diffusion, temperature, and time undoubtedly playing a vital role.
But, one question often comes to mind is “Can you use hair dye to dye clothes?”. If this question is still lingering in your mind, we’re here to help. So, keep reading the article to find a satisfying answer and several how-to tips to effectively dye fabrics at home.
See also: Can You Use Shampoo To Wash Clothes?
Can You Use Hair Dye To Dye Clothes? (Helpful Facts)
You can use hair dye on clothes, but it could dry out the fibers or fray the cloth over time. Moreover, it tends not to obtain pure and correct colors. Thus you would end up with disturbingly dull fabric and faded colors.
Typically, hair dye is specifically designed to work on hair cuticles, different from fabric. When hair dye is applied, it often bleaches or lightens the hair by penetrating the hair cuticles so that the chemicals in the dye enter the hair cortex and become vivid prominently.
As a result, this process often frays the cuticles, causing the hair to be more porous.
On the other hand, clothing does not require a “bleaching” effect as the fabric is thick and porous enough to hold the dye. Also, it does not have cuticles that need to be lifted by being exposed to alkaline chemicals.
Hence, fabric dye that works perfectly on clothes is way better.
Therefore, hair dye and fabric dye cannot be used interchangeably, and each should be applied in specific cases to avoid unwanted damage from different harmful chemicals.
3 Useful Methods To Dye Clothes Safely
Washing machine method
Before jumping right into the dyeing process, ensure to determine the type of fabric, then follow the hassle-free tips below to prepare for different fabrics:
- Fill the washer with the hottest water. Remember to switch the mode for the washer to fill adequate water for a small load.
- Pour the dye with an equal part (4 cups) of hot water into the detergent tray.
- If you dye cotton or linen, dissolve one cup of salt in the mixture.
- If you dye silk or nylon, add one cup of white vinegar to the mixture.
- Pre-wash the clothes in lukewarm water and mild detergent to eliminate any shreds or stains that may linger in the clothes and hinder dye absorption. Also, this facilitates color to set on clothes more vividly.
Note: It’s not required to stir the dye as the high-speed water flow in the washing machine can blend the dye.
After careful preparation, the dyeing process is ready to start.
- Let the clothes stay wet and place them in the washing machine.
- Adjust the washing machine to the hottest temperature, then let it wash for approximately 30 minutes. In case you desire more vibrant colors, switch the setting to a longer cycle.
- After the dyeing process has finished, wash the clothes in another regular cycle using cold water and mild detergent to set the dye and eliminate excess dye and fixative.
- Then, use a dryer or hang the clothes in a drying rack to dry the clothes.
To eradicate the dye and clean up the washing machine, wipe inside the tray, and pour two cups of detergent bleach into the dispenser.
Then, set the washing machine through a complete wash cycle without clothes at the highest water level.
Similar to the above method, preparation is the key phase to guarantee a thorough and flawless dyeing process.
- Firstly, cover the tabletop or counter with a plastic drop cloth or newspaper as the procedure can mess with fabrics and surfaces.
- Remember to wear protective clothing and gloves to avoid harmful materials or stains.
- Fill a large pot (2L) with water over medium heat. Make sure water is full enough for the garment to submerge and move around in it.
- When the water starts to simmer, stir the dye into the water until it is evenly spread. Remember to follow the dye’s directions on the package to regulate the quantity of dye.
- Submerge the clothes into the dye bath entirely. Also, use a large spoon to dip the clothes completely under the surface.
- Let the garment sit in the mixture and keep the pot at a low simmer for around 1 hour.
- Stir gently and constantly for even dyeing. Besides, focus on the process carefully for the first 10 minutes as this is the most crucial phase in the procedure.
- Once the dye reaches the satisfying colors, grip the clothes from the water, then rinse them under hot water in a sink. Then slowly reduce the temperature until it is cold to set the dye in the clothes.
- Squeeze excess water and dye out the clothing by hand.
- Hang out the clothes in a drying rack to air-dry completely.
This method makes use of natural materials because they’re not only easy to source but also environmentally-friendly to the skin.
However, note that not all fabrics are compatible with natural materials. Only natural fabrics such as cotton, silk, wool, and linen can absorb the dye perfectly.
Firstly, it is critical to determine which colors you’re using to dye and gather the suitable materials following the direction below. Also, combining materials is a fantastic way to produce lively colors.
- Orange: carrots, gold lichen, onion skins, or butternut seed husks.
- Yellow: bay leaves, yellowroot roots, marigold blossoms, dandelion flowers, celery leaves, mahonia roots, paprika, etc.
- Pink: berries, cherries, red and pink roses, red raspberries.
- Brown: dandelion roots, chestnut and oak bark, walnut husks, tea, coffee beans.
- Red-brown: pomegranates, red onion skins, bamboo, dried hibiscus flowers.
- Red-purple: daylilies, red sumac berries, basil leaves, basil.
- Green: peppermint leaves, grass, peach leaves, snapdragons, lilacs.
- Blue: red cabbage, purple mulberries, blueberries, lavender elderberries, purple grapes, etc.
- Gray-black: Blackberries, butternut hulls, walnut hulls, oak galls, iris root.
Then, the next step is to source the materials to prepare natural dyes. Ensure the materials are ripe, mature, and fresh for the best results.
Before the dyeing process, start the preparation for materials and clothes. For clothing, just wet it and wait for the dyeing procedure. For materials, use salt or vinegar depending on the material used to create a fixative solution that facilitates effective absorption.
- Chop the prepared materials into small pieces.
- Prepare the fixative: Use salt (half cup of salt in 8 cups of water) for berries and vinegar (one part vinegar and 4 parts water) for other plants.
- Soak the clothing in the fixative for at least 1 hour before dyeing, then rinse out with cool water.
Now, ready for the dyeing process using natural materials:
- First, transfer the plant materials into a large non-reactive pot.
- Fill the pot with sufficient water to cover the materials.
- Simmer for around 1 hour or longer, depending on the colors needed. To obtain stronger dye, just leave the plant materials simmering in the water for 4 hours. But remember to pay attention to the progress to avoid any unwanted incidents.
- Once done, put wet clothes in the dye bath and let it simmer for 1 hour to 8 hours, stirring continuously until the desired color is achieved.
- Then, take the fabrics out and wash them separately under cold water.
- Allow clothes to air-dry entirely as usual.
- Let the clothes soak in the dye bath for at least 1 hour for light dye.
- For a solid shade, allow the clothes to immerse in the dye for 8 hours or overnight.
- When dyeing large items such as bedding or many clothes, you may have to work in batches or bring them in a bathtub because it’s vital to keep the fabrics immersed in the dye bath. Also, use a long spoon or ladle to stir the mixture continuously for even dyeing.
- It might be surprising to expect the colors to come out the desired way. Hence, if you don’t want to waste the dye, prepare a small dye bath first to test the result. To do this, pour the dyes into hot water in a small cup, concentrating on the number of colors. Then, use a paper towel to check if you’re satisfied with the result.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, you’ve grasped a satisfying answer for the question: “Can you use hair dye to dye clothes?”. Notably, hair dye and fabric dye are not interchangeable as each has different sources and compounds that adhere and react to the materials.
Also, after reading the article, you’re now ready to practice the dyeing techniques for clothing. But always keep an eye on the process as this might be messy and splash colors over the surfaces.