How to Wash Hand Dyed Fabric

by Contributor ; Updated September 28, 2017

How to Wash Hand Dyed Fabric. Purchasing clothing made of hand dyed fabric can be a dream or a nightmare. The best hand dyed fabric is sumptuous in look and feel. Some of the dyes may be naturally derived from vegetables. Generally composed of natural fibers, pants, shirts, blouses and dresses of hand dyed material retain their softness and drape. Learn to separate the good stuff from badly dyed clothing that can ruin a laundry load.

Hand Wash Delicates

Select delicate hand dyed clothing to wash, such as scarves, summer tops, short skirts or swimsuits. Wash like colors together. Otherwise, use several separate washings.

Get Woolite or another gentle laundry soap.

Fill a bucket or tub with a couple of gallons of cold water. Add 1 tsp. or more of soap, depending on how many items you want to wash.

Swish the water to get some suds, and then drop your hand dyed items in and let them soak for a few minutes.

Swish the clothing to run the soapy water through them.

Rinse your items well with cold, running water. Don't worry about any dye that escapes. This is natural.

Machine Wash Regular Clothing

Select heavier-weight, hand dyed items for a machine wash, such as shirts, blouses, pants, dresses or suits. Wash each item separately unless you know it doesn't bleed.

Select a low water level for separate clothing items or for smaller loads.

Select a cold-water wash, and go light on the soap while using the package as a guideline.

Add clothes to soapy water and allow the machine to work its magic.

Dry clothing as directed by the garment labels. Many garment-dyed items can be machine dried on medium or low.

Dry most delicate items by hanging or laying them flat on a towel.


  • Check store tags before you by clothing. Hand dyed clothing will usually be labeled as such on purchase labels, but not necessarily on interior care tags. Such a label might say "hand dyed" or "individually garment dyed." If your garments are sweaty or soiled, let them soak for a longer time before washing them. Heed any clothing labels that say, "dry clean only." Buy high-quality pieces to avoid lots of bleeding. Good-quality items will only bleed out a certain amount of dye while low-quality fabric can bleed forever. Red is always a big question mark. When in doubt, wash hand dyed red items separately.

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