How to Dye Denim

by Danielle Hamill ; Updated September 28, 2017

Make an old pair of jeans like new by dyeing them at home in your washing machine.

jeans image by Westa Zikas from

Before you think about throwing out one of your favorite pairs of jeans because they are faded and worn, consider revamping them to create a whole new look. Dyeing your jeans will make them unique, breath new life into them and save you money on new clothes. Best of all, denim dyeing is a simple process that can be done in your own home.

Pre-dissolve the proper amount of powdered or liquid fabric dye. Use the charts provided on the box of dye you choose to determine how much dye you will need for one pair of jeans (which weigh approximately 1 to 2 pounds).

Fill your washing machine about halfway to three-quarters of the way full with hot water.

Add the dye to the water.

Wet the jeans with a separate source of hot water. Smooth the jeans out as best as you can and add to washing machine.

Soak the jeans in dye bath for at least 30 minutes. Make sure to choose the extended wash cycle, monitoring the time and resetting the cycle before the washing machine goes into rinse mode, if necessary.

Rinse the dyed jeans in cold water. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear.

Hang the jeans to dry.


  • Make sure to thoroughly clean your washing machine before the next use by running a wash cycle and using detergent and one cup of bleach. This will prevent any remaining dye from ruining clothes in future washes.

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About the Author

Danielle Hamill began writing in 2007 for website developer Interactive Internet Website, Inc. She has contributed to websites such as Family Travel Guides and Caribbean Guide. Hamill holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Florida State University.