How to Keep Tie-Dye From Washing Out

by Kimbry Parker

When tapping into your inner hippie, you might go out and purchase a tie-dyed shirt -- or maybe you’ve decided to tie-dye some clothing yourself. Whatever the case may be, the bright, vibrant colors of tie-dye give everything a signature look, so you don’t want to just toss your tie-dyed garments in the washer only to take them out and find the colors have dulled and bled. A few precautions and simple steps and you'll have no problem keeping your tie-dyed clothes bold and whistling a hippie tune.

Rinse your tie-dye garment in cool water until the water runs clear if you’ve dyed the piece yourself. Do this immediately after removing the garment from the dye bath.

Wash your newly tie-dyed garment alone in the washer with laundry detergent and warm water. Run it through a cool rinse cycle, then machine or air-dry the garment.

Soak the tie-dyed garment -- whether purchased or self-dyed -- for at least five minutes in a sink filled with warm water and about a cup of white vinegar.

Wash the garment alone again in the washing machine, this time in cold water. Wash it in cold water every time thereafter to help keep the colors from washing out. Hot water will make the colors bleed.

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Items you will need

  • Laundry detergent
  • 1 cup white vinegar


  • You can set the color of your tie-dyed garment, regardless of how long you've had it. Just soak it in a vinegar solution to set in the color and always wash it in cold water.

About the Author

Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images