Rit Dye comes in thirty colors that can be combined with each other and colored fabrics to created hundreds of possibilities (See a color chart here). The original Rit Dye is intended for natural fabrics and the Rit Dyemore formula is for use in dyeing synthetic or man-made fibers.
Rit Dye is available in two formulas - liquid and powder. In late 2011, Rit reformulated its dyes to produce more vibrant colors leaving some colors available only in powder and others only in liquid. Both formulas work equally well when directions are followed. Read the directions carefully as the dyeing procedure is slightly different with the new formula vs the old formula.
Rit Dye works best and creates the most rich, vibrant shades on these washable fabrics:
Rit Dye will not work on certain types of fabric fibers and fabrics with special surface treatments such as:
- 100 percent Polyester
- 100 percent Acrylic
- Metallic Fibers
- Water Repellent Finishes
- Stain Resistant Finishes
- Fabrics with Rubber Backing
- Dry Clean Only Fabrics
- Cold Water Wash Only Fabrics
- Excessively Stained Clothes
- Polyethylene plastics such as golf discs
- Polycarbonate plastics such as eyeglass frames
UPDATE: Rit introduced a new product in 2016 - Rit Dyemore - That is formulated for dyeing synthetic fabrics.
For clothes or fabrics that are a polyester/cotton blend or an acrylic/natural fiber blend, Rit Dye will adhere but the color will be lighter than on a natural fiber and may give a heathered or muted look to the color.
Man-made fibers will not absorb an after-manufacturing dye solution well.
Each eight-ounce bottle of liquid dye will dye two pounds of fabric and one box of powder is needed for each pound of fabric. The fabric should be washed first to help remove any manufacturing finishes and any stains should be removed before attempting to dye. Fabric dyeing can be done in a sink, bucket, washer or even in the microwave!
If you want to move beyond simply dyeing fabric a solid color, you can create designs and even create fashion and home accessories. Follow package directions carefully and these tips on how to use liquid fabric dye.
Rit Dye Fixative
A companion product to Rit Dye is Rit Dye Fixative. This laundry treatment is designed to reduce color bleeding in fabrics after home dyeing. It is recommended for fabric dyed with Rit Dye and for commercially dyed washable fabrics. For best results, the Rit Dye Fixative should be used immediately after dyeing fabrics and can even be used with other types of dye like those you create from natural products like leaves, bark and berries.
The fixative is added to a hot water wash cycle and the fabric should remain in the solution for at least twenty minutes.
The fabric then goes through a cold water rinse and then dried. If used in a washer, the machine should be cleaned immediately with hot water and detergent to ensure that no dye is left in the machine that would stain future laundry loads.
While Rit Dye Fixative helps fabrics hold their color, it does not completely prevent dye transfer or loss from fabrics. Any non-colorfast or dyed fabrics should always be washed separately and in cold water.
The World of Rit
Rit Dye began in Chicago with an entrepreneur, Charles C. Huffman, who created a formula of dye and soap that would color fabrics and wash them at the same time. The name came from his friend, Louis Rittenhouse, who invested in the company and became its first vice-president. In 1917, the company opened with the slogan: "Never Say Dye...Say Rit!" As America went through the Great Depression, Rit Dye was there to help women extend the life of clothes and household goods.
In the 1940s new fabrics were hitting the marketplace and Rit developed a new all-purpose formula that would dye nylon and other synthetic fabrics as well as natural fibers.
The 1960s signaled the hey-day of fabric dye as tie-dyed fabrics become the uniform of the counter-culture movement. Rit Dye is now popular in crafting circles for use on fabric, paper, wood and plastics.
Rit Dye is a product brand of Phoenix Brands, LLC based in Stamford, Connecticut.
Product Review and Laundry Recommendation
I grew up using Rit Dye because in my small town it was hard to always find the color of fabric that I wanted. Today's Rit Liquid is easy to use and gives excellent results when used as directed. The addition of Rit Dye Fixative did reduce the amount of post-dyeing color bleeding.
I used the black dye to return a pair of black jeans and black capris to their original color. It was simple and the slacks look great - better than new because they are broken in!
I was disappointed with the information printed on the Rit products. While the instructions are clear, there is no information on product ingredients. When I contacted Phoenix Brands, I received an e-mail stating: "We do not publish information on the ingredients for this product other than the information you find on the product packaging as the product formula is proprietary information which we consider to be a trade secret. Please be assured however that the ingredients have been evaluated for safety and appropriate warnings are included on the product package."
The packing is recyclable plastic.
I would recommend Rit Dye and Rit Dye Fixative for anyone who enjoys being creative or needs to refresh a garment to give it a longer wearable life.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer.