When dyeing a bra, it's best to use the stove-top method of dyeing instead of the washing machine due to its size. You'll have more control over the process and won't risk staining your machine's barrel. Before beginning, read your bra's label to see if it's 100-percent cotton, polyester or a blend of the two. For an all-cotton bra, you can use a dye made from coffee or tea, and avoid chemicals. If the bra contains any percentage of polyester, rayon or nylon, however, use a commercial dye for polyester products.
Dyeing a Cotton Bra
Wet the bra in the sink and wring it out. Fill the stock pot three-quarters full with water and bring to a simmer. Add the cup of coffee or 10 tea bags, and bring to a boil. If using tea, tie the teabags together before lowering them into the pot.
Turn the heat to a simmer and drop the bra into the dye bath. Stir with a spoon or tongs until the bra is completely saturated. If using tea, put on rubber gloves, pull out the teabags with a spoon and squeeze them to add more color to the dye bath. Discard the teabags.
Turn the heat to low and add 1 cup of salt to the dye bath, but do not pour it directly on the fabric. Stir gently and let the bra soak for 30 minutes.
Pull the bra out -- if the shade is lighter than you want, stir in another cup of coffee or more tea bags, and continue to soak for up to an hour.
Remove the bra with tongs and rinse it in cold water. Let it air dry. Wash separately at first to prevent staining other fabrics.
Dyeing a Rayon or Polyester Bra
Put on rubber gloves and a face mask.
Fill your stockpot with water and heat it according to the instructions on the commercial dye package. Add the dye to the water.
After the bra is submersed, add a fixative -- such as salt -- per the commercial dye instructions. Allow the bra to soak according to instructions.
Rinse, dry and wash the bra according to instructions. Wash separately.
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Amy Stanbrough is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in "Bust," "Woman's World," "Southern Exposure" and many other publications. Stanbrough holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from George Mason University.
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