How to Dye Jeans with Rit Dye

dyed blue jeans
Courtesy of Rit Studios

Whether you want to create colored jeans in your favorite hue or simply refresh the color of your blue jeans, Rit Dye offers a simple dyeing technique in a bucket!

Supplies You’ll Need:

  • 100% White Cotton Jeans
  • Rit Liquid Dye (1 Bottle)
  • Fabric Scrap or paper towel to test dye color
  • 1 Cup Salt
  • Dishwashing Liquid
  • 4 gallon dishpan, pot or bucket
  • measuring cup
  • large metal spoon
  • paper towels
  • plastic table cover
  • rubber gloves

    Select Your Color

    Use any color Rit Dye you want or create a custom color by mixing two different dyes. You can add a touch of black dye to the dye bath to make it even darker. To turn faded blue jeans dark again, use Denim Blue.

    Step by Step Directions

    1. Prewash jeans with a good laundry detergent to remove any finishes that may interfere with dye absorption.
    2. Spread a plastic table cover or plastic cloth on floor or counter to prevent stains from spills.
    3. Place dishpan or bucket on plastic cover and fill with 3 gallons very hot tap water (140° F). Note: If water is not hot enough, heat some water in a teakettle or in the microwave.
    4. As a guideline, one-half cup (half bottle) of liquid dye will dye one pair of jeans. To achieve a dark, more intense color, use the entire bottle of dye (1 cups)
    5. Dye Preparation: Wearing rubber gloves, shake dye bottle well and pour into the water. Then measure 1 cup of salt; dissolve with 2 cups very hot water and stir well. Add to dye bath.
    1. Add a squirt of dishwashing liquid and stir well.
    2. Test dye color to be sure you are satisfied. You can test using a cotton fabric scrap or by dipping a piece of paper towel into the dye bath.  Note: If color is too light, add more dye. If color is too dark, add more water.
    3. Wet jeans in warm water and squeeze out excess water.
    1. Immerse jeans in dye bath and stir with a metal spoon continuously for 20 minutes, then occasionally for 10 minutes or until desired color is achieved (up to one hour). The longer the jeans remain in the dye bath, the darker the color will be. (Color will appear lighter when dry.) Stirring helps to ensure an even color.
    2. Remove jeans from dye bath and squeeze out excess dye. Rinse in cold running water until water begins to run clear. Then machine wash separately with an old towel or two or hand wash jeans in warm water with mild detergent.

    Visit The Rit Studio for a step-by-step video and more projects using Rit Dye.

    Disclosure: All projects, techniques and photos included here are either the sole property of Rit Dye or are paid for content where Rit owns the rights to distribute it to promote Rit’s products.  We hereby grant about.com the rights to use this content.