Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Saving Stained Clothing, One Dye Bath at a Time

Little children stain their clothes.

It's just a fact of life. They don't have great self-feeding skills, they relish all things dirty, and I don't want to strip them down and pre-treat every time they drop something on themselves.

Usually extremely stained clothing is relegated to the category "play clothes". But I was noticing the other day that Doozer has way more play clothes than nice things. Several of her play clothes were shirts that I love and want to be worn in a more publicly acceptable way.

The idea I had was to dye her shirts a color that was dark enough to cover the stains. I love all things brown so that's what I went with. Cocoa Brown by Rit fit the bill perfectly.

I used the bucket method but used nearly boiling water for part of the bath. After throwing in the three shirts of Doozer I noticed that I had a lot more dye I could use. I scrounged in my own closet and came up with a light blue shirt that had a yellow stain on the front.

The clothes took the dye beautifully. The brown is a bit purple, but that could be because the initial color of the shirts were blue or pink. Right after rinsing I was a bit worried that the appliques were too dark, but washing a drying fixed the problem nicely. Here are the results:

I love how the ric-rac didn't take the dye. The buttons also stayed blue. On the other shirts the buttons became brown.

This one is still a bit stained, but it's a huge difference from before.

Here's my shirt. Sorry, there's no before. Just imagine a light blue shirt. The Hubby says the brown suits me better than the blue. I like how the stitching didn't take the dye.

And now for the last shirt. IN ACTION!

"Show me your shirt. No, not like that!"

In my humble opinion this was a great success. Doozer has gained three more outfits, we have some matchy-matchy clothes, and we got to play mad scientist in the backyard with the dye bath.

Have any of you guys dyed clothes you thought to be without redemption? Have you considered it? Any qualms or fears holding you back? Jump in! The dye bath's fine.


  1. Azy has asked before, but I am a little scared. I guess I feel like I would pull out something that looked really funny or really freaky. I miss you Krista! I promise I am going to make a big effort to try and come see you more!

  2. i have no dyed anything yet, but i'm been thinking about it. I love how they all turned out for you!

    my problem is that most of my stains are grease stains and i don't think any amount of dying will fix that problem :(

    I love the action shots though, she's such a cute little girl!

  3. Have definitely considered it. But my big fear is that I might have to be fiddly with washing that re-dyed garment. -- that it would bleed in the wash, and end up ruining a bunch of others. And having something I have to wash separately might not be worth it. Wondering what you have found?

    I do like these - a good solution for kids clothes as they are usually cotton too. I should dye goose's old stained white T-shirts some other color probably.