How To Wash Tie Dye Clothes?

Tie-dye clothes have been steadily increasing in popularity, and with a good reason. They are beautiful, extremely fun to make, and they look so good on everyone.

As with any colorful clothes, you may be wondering what is the right way to wash them. Find out all about it in this article.

How To Wash Tie Dye Clothes

The methods you can use to wash the tie-dye clothes defer depending on a number of factors. Let’s see what those factors are and how to properly take care of your pretty, colorful clothes.

First Time Wash

washing a tie dye shirt

Washing your clothes for the first time after painting them is a very important part of making the colors set properly.

This is only in the case you tie-dyed the clothes yourself, if you bought them then the following steps do not apply as the manufacturer probably took care of that already. Follow the next steps to make sure the dye sets well.

  • When you have applied the paint to a garment, you need to wait for a few hours to a whole day or two before washing it. The amount of time you need to wait depends on the manufacturer of the clothing paint you used, so always make sure to check those instructions. If there isn’t anything specified on the bottle, don’t hesitate to contact the company and ask.
  • When this time has passed, you should soak the garment in cold water. You can also add a few drops of white vinegar to the water. Let the piece of clothing soak for around half an hour. This step will help get rid of the excess paint.
  • When the garment has been rinsed, it’s time to wash it. You can either hand-wash it or put it in the washing machine.
  • If you want to hand-wash it, you still need to use cold water. Empty the container you previously used and pour fresh cold water into it. Add a few drops of detergent, and make sure to use the one that is intended for use on the colored clothes. If you don’t have that one specifically, any milder detergent will do a good job. Hand-wash the garment without scrubbing it too much, and then rinse with cold water.
  • If it’s easier for you to wash the garment in the washing machine, you need to do it without any other clothes that are not tie-dyed. It would be best if you have an option of setting your washing machine to a program intended for small loads. Use mild detergent in this case too, and set your washing machine to a 15-minute program at the maximum of 30 degrees. Don’t use fabric softener.
  • When the garment has been washed, it’s time to dry it. Make sure to set your dryer to a low heat program or just let it dry naturally without using a dryer.

Regular Washing

tie dye instructions washing

When the dye has set properly, you can wash your tie dye clothes regularly. There are a few rules that you need to follow, but other than that, you don’t have to think about it too much. Here are those rules.

Wash Tie Dye Clothes Inside Out 

This is an important step to follow. Turning clothes inside out will minimize the detergent getting in direct contact with the clothes, and therefore prevent unnecesssary discoloration of your colorful clothes.

You can also dry your clothes this way and return them back to the normal when you are ready to fold or wear them.

Use Liquid Detergent 

If you normally use detergent pods, you might want to switch to liquid detergent. Pods dissolve directly on the clothes you put in a washing machine, so the chemicals come in direct contact with the clothes.

Liquid detergent, on the other hand, doesn’t come in contact with clothes as much, because it dissolves in the water first. This will prevent discoloration of your tie-dye clothes.

Use Cold Water

Whenever you wash tie dye clothes, make sure to use cold or at least just warm water. The program you use should be set at the maximum of 30 degrees.

Washing your tie dye clothes at high heat water can remove or smear the colors on your clothes. This can be a good thing when you get tired of one pattern and want to mix it up a bit though as you never know how it will turn out!

Wash Tie Dye Clothes Only

It’s best to wash one tie-dyed item at a time, but if this is not possible, or if you have a lot of tie-dyed garments, wash them together without mixing them with your other clothes, especially the whites.

If tie-dyed clothing is of high-quality, it’s not likely that it will color other clothes, but it’s best not to take any risks.

Don’t Use Bleaching Products

Unless you specifically want to lighten the colors of your tie-dyed clothes, avoid using any bleaching products. If there is a need for that, for whatever reason, you should use bleach that is specifically intended for use on colored clothes.

How To Remove Stains From Tie Dye Clothes

If you own tie dye clothes that somehow managed to get stained, don’t worry, there are options for that too. It’s a bit trickier to get the stains out, but surely not impossible. Here are some of the methods you can try.

Hydrogen Peroxide

how to wash tie dye

If your tie-dyed clothes are stained, you can use hydrogen peroxide to get rid of the stains. Follow the next steps to do that.

  • Place your garment on a straight surface, like your washing machine.
  • Spray hydrogen peroxide over the stained area.
  • Leave it on for around ten minutes.
  • Run the garment through cold water and see if the stain is removed. If it is, proceed to wash it regularly. If it’s not, repeat the process until you get rid of it. Do not dry the garment until the stain is completely out, as it can only make it more difficult to get rid of it later on.

Baking Soda

how to wash tie dye clothes

Baking soda is another awesome product for stain removal. It is suitable for tie dye clothes because it is color-friendly and it doesn’t cause damage to most of the common materials. It is easy to remove stains using baking soda, just follow these steps.

  • Place your stained piece of clothing on a flat surface so you can clearly see the stain.
  • Pour baking soda so it covers the whole stain. You can also use cornstarch if it’s easier for you.
  • Leave it on for around 15 minutes.
  • Scrape the excess of baking soda (cornstarch) and run the garment through cold water.
  • If the stain is gone, proceed to washing the piece of clothing as you normally would. If not, repeat the process or try some other method.
  • Once the stain is not visible anymore, air dry the garment.


how to rinse tie dye without it running

When the stain is already set or very stubborn, you can feel free to use ammonia. It does not have bleaching properties like bleach so it is safe to use on colored clothes. Here is the process.

  • Wear gloves. This is very important because you will be dealing with a chemical, so make sure to be safe at all times.
  • Mix half a cup of ammonia with a cup of water.
  • Take a clean, preferably white cloth and dip it into the mix.
  • Dab with a cloth on the stain for five to fifteen minutes, depending on the size of it. When you see the cloth drying out, dip it in the mix again and repeat the process.
  • Do this until the stain is gone. Wash and dry the garment regularly.
  • If you see any discoloration happening, stop using ammonia and try some other method instead. Dispose of the ammonia after treating the stain, and remember to keep your gloves on throughout the whole process. If you want to the mixture to be as effective as possible, add a few drops of liquid detergent to it. Don’t ever mix bleach with ammonia as it can be highly dangerous.

More Dye

If you can’t seem to get rid of the stain on your tie-dyed garment, consider adding more color. Color is what makes these clothes so beautiful, after all!

Buy a color for clothes of your choice and smear it over the stain. You can use any color and any pattern that you like, so you can also renew the garment that is stained.

Follow the instructions of the manufacturer on how to exactly apply it and enjoy your (kind of) new garment!


Tie-dye clothes are colorful, fun to wear, and they are an amazing addition to any wardrobe.

Washing them can seem a bit tricky until you get used to the right method, and getting rid of the stains is a bit more difficult than with regular clothes, but definitely not impossible.

Follow the steps explained in this article carefully and you won’t have any problem washing your tie-dyed clothes.

wash tie dye first time

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