Dying clothes rather than dying planet

Did you know that the world fashion industry produces as much pollution as the worldwide aviation industry every year. Our fashion habits are lamentable – 23% of clothes never get worn and it’s the ultimate in disposable assets.

As part of your role in achieving sustainable clothing, why not consider having a yearly dye day. That is taking those ageing clothes that are still in good shape, but it looks worn or dated and then dying them for a new lease of life?

Below is a guide to this

Stuff you’ll need

A dye (plus fixative if you choose); 3 containers for dying, fixing and rinsing; salt; washing up liquid; rubber gloves; stirrer:

Step 1: Wash the garments to be died

Don’t let them dry either before dying them.

Step 2: Dye the garment

Fill the dye bucket with hot water. Mine was at 60 degrees Celsius. Add a cup of salt and a splodge of washing up liquid. Stir well. Insert the garment/s.

The first 10 minutes is crucial, so keep the material moving to ensure equal coverage. If you’re dying cotton, then there are some recommendations you leave in over 30 minutes. I left mine in for 50 on the initial dye.

Step 3: Fixative

Fill another bucket with hot water (again – 60 degrees C on mine). Add the fixative. Transfer the garment from the dye bath to the fixative bath. At this point, you can add more clothes to the dye bath, maximising the dye usage.

Stir occasionally + leave the garment in fixative for 20 minutes.

Step 4: Rinsing

Fill another bucket with hot water again. The aim of this is to rinse the garment in time from using very hot water to using cold. I did mine in 3 stages with the last being the coldest. You can also tend to the other clothes being dyed etc during this period.

Step 5: Wash

I put my garment into the washing machine @ 30 degrees C. Use a quickwash if possible. Put an old towel in to absorb any bled dye.

Step 6: Dry

OK  – not as environmentally friendly, but place in a tumble dryer. The heat will help the dye take. Again, put an old towel in to take up any of the dye.

Finished results

So, of course I forgot to take before pictures! Anywhoos, a faded pair of shorts and old set of pyjama bottoms came up like new from the above process:

About stigzler 47 Articles
Chief crook and wattle bosher.

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