How To Wash Tie Dye – How do you wash a tie-dye shirt & More

How To Wash Tie-Dye – How do you wash a tie-dye shirt & More

Turning your dull white t-shirt, pair of socks, or jackets you own into a rainbow-color masterpiece is an excellent way to escape boredom or get a new wardrobe without spending much money. However, another challenge now arises: how to wash tie dye without having all your hard work fade or worse having the dye bleed upon the rest of your closet, turning everything you own a gloomy shade of greige? We hear you, and so here’s how to wash tie-dye, whether you plan on washing it with your bare hands or you’ve got a washer and dryer on hand. Here’s how to wash your tie-dye clothes and the before and aftercare you should take for your tie-dye clothes.

How To Wash Tie Dye

Knowledge to have before you wash your tie dye

If your tie-dye clothes have not even appropriately dried, then step away from the washing machine. You should wait for about 24 hours before washing your tie-dye cloth so that the dye has plenty of time to set and dry properly. Then when it is time for you to give your clothes their first scrub, wear gloves and provide them with a good rinse under the running water to get rid of any additional dye. You might see that the water is looking dark brownish grey, and the garment might also look a little dingy but don’t be afraid because, at this stage, this is normal.

From there, you can put all of your tie-dye garments into the washing machine but just put the tie-dye garments and no other clothes. Try to separate the garments on the basis of colors you’ve used: All the greens, purples, and blues together and then the oranges, pinks, and reds.

If you use a top-loading washer, the recommendation would be to use a Synthrapol SP detergent, which tends to get out loose dye better than other detergents. You can usually find it at the arts and crafts store. If you have a front-loading or low-water machine, don’t go for Synthrapol because it gets sudsy, and it can overwhelm these types of machines. Instead, go for the traditional detergent and do use it sparingly.

While you can put your rainbow creations in the dryer together, you will get the best results by drying each item you have tie-dyed individually, hanging to dry or sans dryer sheet.

before washing tie dye

How to machine wash tie-dye

After the inaugural wash, you can wash most tie-dye as usual. But if you see that the saturation of colors is too much and you’re worried about the bleeding, you can do your tie-dye garments as their separate load for the subsequent two to three washes. Past that point, you don’t need to worry about the colors bleeding. However, your new goal would be to keep the shorts or any other garments from fading. Here’s how to achieve that goal:

  • In the initial few washes, use hot water as it will help remove excess dye. After that, use cold water to prevent your clothes from fading.
  • The Laundress Dark Detergent or Woolite Darks Laundry Detergent are detergents you can use to be color-safe.
  • Set the washing machine to the appropriate settings for the type of fabric you’re washing and for the load’s size, and the washing machine will do its job.
  • Hang the clothes to dry rather than using the dryer.
  • Hang your clothes after completing the washing part as soon as possible because the longer the clothes sit wet in the washing machine before being hanged, the higher the chance you have of the colors bleeding, especially for the first few washes.

Machine washing tie dye

How to hand wash tie-dye

Hand-washing is the best way to preserve your die dye garments for years to come, even though it’s a bit more tedious.

  • If you are washing your garments for the first time after tie-dyeing, wait for the next 24 hours for the dye to set before washing it. Then thoroughly rinse each garment under running water, just as we said in the above section.
  • Fill your tub or sink with room temperature water.
  • Add a mild or gentle detergent to the water, such as Soak Wash or Delicate Wash, using your hands to mix, creating a sudsy bath for your laundry.
  • Merge the clothes using your hands to mix the water. Let the garments bathe for about 30 minutes before thoroughly rinsing off the soapy water all the garments.
  • Rather than wringing your garments out, press each piece of clothing against the tub or sink basin to remove the extra water, as wringing your clothes is rougher on the fabric. You can also try laying out your garment flat on top of a towel and rolling it up tightly to gently remove excess water.
  • Hang them up to let them dry.

hand washing tie dye

How to get the dye off your hands

Even if you wear gloves, you might get some splashes of colours on your skin when you are washing the new clothes. For removing that, try this fabulous tip: Mix baking soda with a splash of water and form a paste. Make use of that to wash your hands, then rinse your hands clean. The dye will come right off your hands.

For your benefit, here are few tips for caring for your tie-dye clothes.

  • You can try soaking your tie-dye in equal parts of cold water and white vinegar for about 30 minutes after you initially rinse out the dye from your garments. This tip of using white vinegar will help with the colorfastness.
  • After the first few washes, wash tie dye in cold water to avoid the fast fading of the tie dye from your fabric.
  • Always use gentle and colour safe detergents.
  • Rather than using a dryer, try to hang your garments to dry.

How to get the dye off your hands

How to treat stains on the tie-dye

If you somehow get a stain on your tie-dye shirt, you must be careful while selecting a pre-treatment product or even a spot remover. If you end up using the wrong product, then you will end up removing the dye on your shirt along with the stain. For the most outstanding results, use a pre-treatment spray that does not include bleach. Even a tiny amount of bleach can ruin your shirt, so you should not use any product containing even a small amount of bleach.

While applying a pre-treater, follow the given instructions carefully and don’t leave it to soak for a longer period than recommended. Wash your garment immediately after with cold water.

How to treat stains on the tie-dye


Tie-dye is a very bright and colorful addition to any weekend closet, even if you wear wholesale polo shirts to work every day. Give your tie-dye garments the care they deserve, and they will look great for many years to come. Keeping all the points on how to wash tie-dye clothes in your mind, you will get to wear your tie-dye clothes for a long time. 

How do you wash a tie-dye shirt in the washing machine?

Tips for Future Washing to Avoid Fading – Before washing, turn your tie dye garments inside out to protect the colors. – Run the washer on the gentle cycle using cold water. – Avoid leaving the garments in the wash too long after the cycle finishes, so the colors don’t bleed! – Air dry if possible.

Are you supposed to wash tie-dye?

After the initial wash, most tie-dye can be washed as usual. \For the first few washes, hot water will help remove excess dye. After that, switch to cold water to prevent your clothes from fading. Use color-safe detergent, like The Laundress Darks Detergent or Woolite Darks Laundry Detergent.

What do you do after you tie-dye a shirt?

Here’s how to do it: Let the Dye Marinate — Don’t wash your shirt for at least 24 hours after dying it. The longer you wait, the more time the dye will have to set into the fabric. Wash It On Its Own — When you’re ready to wash, put it in the washing machine by itself or with other similarly colored tie-dyed shirts.

Will tie-dye ruin my washer?

Tie-dyed fabrics can make a fashion as well as a home decor statement. Unfortunately, tie-dyeing techniques may leave residual dye in the washing machine after laundering the fabric. Dye producers commonly recommend a method for cleaning dye from the washer.

Should I wash my tie-dye in hot or cold water?

Again, it’s a good idea to wash your tie-dye shirt alone. The loose and excess dye will stain other clothing. Also, do not use fabric softener! For best results, use hot water because the high heat helps set the color.

Why did my tie-dye wash out?

Just like when the dyes have been mixed up too long. So more of your color will wash out in the end, on rare occasions, all of it, when you use hot water to mix your dye instead of warm, as suggested. Cold water is a problem with some colors. You may end up with undissolved dye in the bottles, even when using Urea.

How long should you let tie dye sit before rinsing?

Leave it tied up and leave it alone. Let the fabric sit for 2-24 hours. The longer you can let the fabric sit, the easier it will be to wash out the loose dye from the fabric.

Can you let tie dye sit too long?

You definitely can let the tie-dye sit for too long, and it can leave you with very unpleasant effects that can ruin your tie-dye creation. We have lived this a lot at our workshop where we would forget a shirt for a few days or we were waiting to test it out.

What is Synthrapol detergent?

Synthrapol® is an industrial-strength, pH neutral, liquid detergent used as a prewash and after wash for dyed or painted fabrics and as a wetting agent for fabric dyes and paints.

Do you have to wash each tie-dye shirts separately?

We only recommend washing multiple dyed fabrics together if they are dyed with the same color scheme. If the fabric items each have different colors, they should be washed separately to avoid muddying and dulling of the colors on the fabrics as they bleed out into the wash water.

How do you set dye after tie dying?

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