How to Dye a Swimsuit

by Rachel Murdock ; Updated September 28, 2017

Dye a swimsuit to your favorite color.

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For a personalized bathing suit, dyeing is an enjoyable and attractive option. A swimsuit can be dyed one solid color or tie-dyed in a variety of bright or pastel colors. It's important to use color-fast dye and color-fast fabrics to avoid running colors. Choose the right fabric for a swimsuit that can be dyed. For the easiest dyeing, choose a swimsuit that is mostly cotton. Dye outdoors or cover floors and counters with plastic before dyeing to avoid unwanted stains.

Wet the swimsuit. Soak it with warm water so that it is completely wet.

Mix the dye in a plastic or stainless steel container. Using a porcelain sink will dye the sink, and the stains do not come out. For fabric-reactive dyes in powder form, use 3 gallons of warm water, 1 to 4 tsp. of dye and 2 cups of salt. Stir until salt and dye dissolve.

Place the swimsuit in the dye bath. Submerge the suit completely and stir periodically. It should be in the bath for 20 minutes.

Dissolve soda ash. In a separate metal container, dissolve 1/4 cup soda ash in 1 cup of water. After the swimsuit has been in the dye for 20 minutes, add the soda ash mixture.

Soak the bathing suit for 50 minutes. Again, stir the mixture periodically to get even color throughout the swimsuit.

Remove the swimsuit and rinse. After the water runs clear, wash, rinse and dry the swimsuit according to the fabric care instructions.


  • Do not try to dye spandex or nylon with fabric-reactive dyes. Only swimsuits that are mostly cotton will work with these dyes.

    A swimsuit can also be tie-dyed with fabric-reactive dyes. Mix small batches of several colors and spray the swimsuit with the dyes.

    For nylon or Spandex swimming suits, use fabric paints.

    Fabric-reactive dyes bond to the fabric fibers and are extremely durable and long-lasting.

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About the Author

Rachel Murdock published her first article in "The Asheville Citizen Times" in 1982. Her work has been published in the "American Fork Citizen" and "Cincinnati Enquirer" as well as on corporate websites and in other online publications. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism at Brigham Young University and a Master of Arts in mass communication at Miami University of Ohio.