With its bright bohemian vibes, rainbow riots of color, and hypnotic style - it’s no surprise that we have carried our love of tie-dye from the swinging sixties right up into the present day. While we often link tie dye to the summer of love and pure Americana, it is actually a dying method that is present in many cultures and countries. Tie-dye does get a rap as being a homemade craft activity often involving plain white tees, rubber bands, and powders as part of the tie-dye kit - but many fabulous fashion brands have welcomed tie-dye into their designs, creating inspired clothing that echoes with individualism, artistry, and the celebration of being carefree. In this guide, we let you know the best ways to wash tie-dye clothes and how to care for your bright and zesty garments.
How to Wash Tie Dye Clothes?
Knowing how to wash your tie-dye clothes correctly will help you keep them looking fresh and fine. One of the pure pleasures of tie-dying is its bright and bursting color and without the right care instructions - you can risk fading and color stripping or the loose dye bleeding. Fortunately, tie-dye isn’t actually that tricky to care for as long as you employ a few simple steps to keep things colorful.
Rinse - when you get your tie dye, the first thing you want to do is to rinse with cold water a few times, followed by rinsing with running water. Start with warm water, and work your way up to hot water. This will remove any excess dye colors and make machine washing safer and cleaner for subsequent washes. Rinse and repeat until the water runs clear. If you want to protect your hands from any loose dye staining, you can also wear gloves (rubber gloves for example will do the trick).
Wash alone - the first time you throw your tie-dye clothes in the wash, you want to let them go solo. This is because you don’t want any excess dye that hasn’t been rinsed properly from destroying your wardrobe.
Choose detergent carefully - if you can, find a color-safe detergent that will help preserve the brightness of your tie dye without encouraging fading or stripping it off its color. Synthrapol detergent is your best bet for the safest wash when it comes to tie-dye.
Dry on high heat - drying your tie dye on a high heat setting will help lock in the color and prevent any future fading. Always double-check the label for the specific item of clothing though as some tie-dye pieces may recommend air drying instead of using the dryer.
Effective Tips to Care for Your Tie Dye
While the first wash is definitely one of the most important washes, it also helps to know how to care for your tie-dye pieces in the long run. Caring for tie-dyed clothes isn’t tricky business but you do want to stay mindful of preserving both the fabric and the color. Part of the beauty of wearing tie-dye is keeping it vibrant and vivacious, here are some care tips to help you get the very best out of your gorgeous garment.
Wash with Care
One of the most important ways to keep your tie-dye clothing loud and proud in terms of color and style is to wash with care. Washing with care can mean turning your item of clothing inside out before putting it in the wash so the colors don’t drain. It can also mean washing with similar colors or washing alone. It also means washing with cold water or low-temperature water and making sure that you use the right detergent. Also, try not to leave your tie-dye garments sitting around the washing machine all damp - the sooner you get those colorful clothes dry, the better as sometimes dampness can encourage the color to bleed.
Avoid Certain Products
While fabric softener can be a glorious addition to laundry day, you should steer clear of it when it comes to your tie-dye care. The same is true for anything containing bleach which is sure to mess up the pretty pigments of your tie-dye delights. Use gentle detergent - preferably synthrapol detergent as this will be the kindest to your tie-dye clothes. However, synthrapol doesn’t suit front machine loads so in this case, you can also choose a mild colorfast detergent when it’s time to wash tie-dye shirts.
Don’t Give It the Chance to Bleed
Make sure that you take damp clothes out of the washing machine as soon as possible and get them in the drier or on the line. Having tie dye sit damp in your machine gives the dye a chance to bleed out which will lead to a mess and faded colors. If you are drying your clothes on the line, try and find some shade or dry inside because the sun’s rays can also lead to fading.
Machine Wash On the Gentle Cycle
When it comes to machine washing your tie dye - a light hand is needed. Wash your tie dye on a gentle cycle or a short wash and don’t wash it with heavy items like jeans. The aim of washing it on a gentle wash cycle is to reduce the amount of friction rubbing up against your tie dye as this can lead to fading.
How Can You Get it Right With the First Wash?
Get it right the first time when it comes to your tie-dye wardrobe by picking up on these tips for an easy fuss free and frictionless wash that won’t strip your gorgeous garments of their color. The first wash is important when it comes to tie-dye as this is where the fabric dye can run the most and not only spoil your other laundry but also have an impact on the bright colors that made you fall in love with tie-dye in the first place. Get it right straight off the bat and you can enjoy your tie-dyed items for even longer.
Wash It On Its Own
Remember to wash your tie dye alone when it comes to that premier wash. This is a safety step to ensure that any excess die doesn’t get all over your other clothes. Even beyond the first wash, you may want to consider washing tie dye with similar shades or other tie-dye items.
Dry on High Heat
Drying your tie dye on high heat can help to set the color and also prevents it from staying damp for longer. Leaving your tie dye damp can lead to color loss whereas high heat can prevent future fades.
Choose the Right Laundry Detergent
The right detergent also ensures your tie-dye items stay fresh and funky. It’s recommended to use a laundry detergent that is gentle and color safe. Using a synthrapol detergent for the first time if you have a top-loading machine is your best bet.
Do You Need to Wash Each Tie-Dye T-shirt Separately?
The first time you wash your tie-dye shirts you should try to wash each of them separately if possible unless they are the same color scheme. Tie-dye items that share similar colors can be washed together as any color bleedings will have minimal impact. However, if you want to avoid the possibility of color bleeding, you can keep them separate at least for that first wash.
Do I wash tie-dye in hot or cold water?
For the first few washes, you may want to rinse your garment with cool water or cold water to encourage the excess dye to flow. Afterward, you can use a hot water wash to lock in the color of your tie dye but be sure to use a mild detergent and a gentle cycle.
Can tie-dye go in the washer?
Yes as long as you use a gentle detergent and a gentle cycle, your tie dye can go in the water. Make sure that you wash with similar colors or other tie-dye pieces so that if the color does run, it doesn’t destroy your other clothes. If you want to play it safe, hand-washing tie-dyed shirts is also an option as it gives you more control over the process and keeps your regular laundry loads safe. Another tip is to turn your tie-dye clothes inside out when putting them in the washer or dryer as this can also help prevent premature fading.
Can I put a tie-dye shirt in the dryer?
Yes, tie-dye shirts can go into the dryer and this can actually even help lock the color in and prevent fading. You can also air dry your shirt if you prefer, although remember to keep it out of direct sunlight.
How much soap do you use when washing tie-dye?
Use a small amount of soap when washing your tie dye and make sure that the detergent you choose is color safe and mild. After the first few washes, tie-dye can be treated like your regular laundry although it is certainly recommended to wash with similar colors, turn inside out, and use mild detergents and mild cycles.