How to Revive Black Cotton Clothing

by Lisa Finn
Use one or two boxes of dye, depending on the size of the clothing.

Use one or two boxes of dye, depending on the size of the clothing.

One of the advantages to wearing black is that even in its basic state, it can make you look thinner, and appear fashionably chic and edgy. Black clothing also coordinates well with virtually everything in your closet. The downside, however, is that black fades. After just a few washings, you may notice that your once vivid black T-shirt is more a shade of gray. With the help of a top-loading washing machine, you can easily reinvigorate the color so that your black cotton clothing looks fresh and new.

Fill a sink with water. Submerge your cotton item into the water and let it sit.

Fill a measuring cup with 2 cups of hot water. Pour both packages of black dye into the cup and mix it with a spoon until it's dissolved.

Set your washing machine to hot. Fill the machine half way with water. Making sure that the dye is completely dissolved in the cup, then pour the dye mixture into the machine.

Place the uncrumpled item into the washing machine, close the lid and turn on an extended cycle.

When the cycle is finished, leave the cotton item in the machine. Set the machine on a short cycle with cold water. Add an appropriate amount of laundry detergent and run the machine again.

Take the item out of the washing machine and place it into the dryer. Set it to dry for 30 minutes on medium heat. If you are concerned about shrinkage, hang the item on a clothesline or lay it flat to dry.

Items you will need

  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • 2 packages black fabric dye
  • Spoon
  • Mild laundry detergent


  • Add a tablespoon of salt to your next few washings to help keep the black vibrant.
  • Soak the item in distilled vinegar before future washings to help hold the new color.


  • Wear rubber gloves when handling dye.
  • After a dyeing project, run a short laundry cycle with old towels before washing anything else in your machine. The towels will absorb any dye left over in the machine.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.

Photo Credits

  • NA/ Images