I’m The Guinea Pig: Dyeing Jeans

Dyeing Jeans

In this fun installment of “I’m The Guinea Pig,” I am dyeing jeans to bring them back from fading oblivion.  You know that you’ve thought about it, and you’ve wondered if it was worth all the trouble.  My favorite regular old blue jeans style was discontinued by Kohl’s and I despise shopping.  I spent 6 hours, and eventually drove to 5 stores looking for the trouser jeans.  The trouser jeans were in good repair, but were faded along the ironing creases.  The regular blue jeans are my hanging out jeans, and I love them even horribly faded.

I prefer a very dark wash on my jeans.  So I chose to add black dye to the blue jeans dye to achieve that wash.

How did I go about dyeing jeans?

  • Step One: I Googled, a lot, before possibly destroying all four pairs of my jeans.
  • Step Two: I bought two RIT blue jeans liquid dye, and one RIT black dye.
  • Step Three: I insisted that my husband keep all living things in the house shorter than me out of the kitchen, kids and fur kids alike.
  • Step Four: I boiled a lot of water…a roasting pan, a huge soup pot, and a four cup glass measuring cup full – four times.  I also soaked my jeans in the bathtub in plain water to get them wet.
  • Step Five: I poured the 1/2 the black and a whole blue jeans dye in my trusty Rubbermaid Roughneck, added two roasting pans and two soup pots full of  water [one boiling and one hottest sink setting each].  I also added the 1 cup of salt, which was dissolved in the measuring cup of water.
  • Step Five: Wearing two pairs of gloves, one long sexy yellow pair and one short medical pair, I proceeded to stir and mix and agitate the daylights out of two pairs of jeans for thirty insanely long minutes.
  • Step Six: The jeans were completely rinsed of all the excess dye.
  • Step Seven: The jeans were hung to dry on the deck.
  • Step Eight: I had fears of my legs turning blue, so I turned the jeans inside out and rinsed them a few more times in the washing machine.
  • Step Nine:  I hung them dry again, and admired my work.

Was it worth it?

YES!  I salvaged four pains of jeans that were on their way out the door due to fade marks on the creases of the trouser jeans from ironing, and massive fading from wear of the regular jeans.  I will take better care of my jeans in the future.  I will be cold washing and using delicates detergent, with my jeans turned inside out from now on, as I know that I will not likely be able to dye them again.


Would I do it again?

Maybe.  If the jeans are in good repair, probably, as a lot of the dye set and the dye restored their dark color.  If the jeans were faded and in bad repair, then I would be more likely to replace them.  Note:  I do not wear jeans with holes or with fraying areas.

I was frustrated that the areas that I really wanted to absorb a lot of dye, specifically the creases [note arrows], did not absorb as much dye as I wanted.  Perhaps adding another bottle of the blue jeans dye or soaking for a full hour instead of 30 minutes would allow additional dye to set.  [Those creases were done by a dry cleaner, who permanently set the fabric creating the fade line sob.]


Total Cost?

The dyeing jeans project was under $11 for 3 packages of RIT dye at Hobby Lobby with one 40% off coupon I printed from their website.


What other projects would you like for me to do as your guinea pig?

Disclosure/Disclaimer:  My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own.  I was not compensated in any way for this posting nor by any mentioned companies; these were simply the companies and products that are convenient to me and/or readily available in my locale.  Perform due diligence and take all requisite safety precautions when working with dye.  Contact the dye manufacturer with any specific questions.  Water Rolls Uphill/Elizabeth Copeland is not responsible for any damage to your belongings or injury to your person in imitating the main topic of this post.


  1. Paula Parker says

    It’s been years since I have dyed anything, except my hair. This is such a money saver. I buy at garage sales too. Jeans for 50 cents. So now, they will be new.Thanks for the reminder!

  2. says

    I have had to stop wearing several pairs of jeans to work because of fading in the past. What a money saver this is! Found you on Blogging to Success

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