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How to UN-dye something?

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Old Style MoneySaving
12 replies 1.2K views
travelodgertravelodger Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Old Style MoneySaving
On a whim I dyed my favourite pale stonewashed denim jacket and skirt with black dye. They have come out a really murky horrible grey which I hate.

I am gutted and don't know what made me do such a stupid thing!

What can I do to get back that lovely pale blue stonewashed look?


  • VfM4meplseVfM4meplse
    34.3K posts
    I've been Money Tipped!
    Sorry, you're stuck with it: once its black, its black! Although it may fade over time with multiple washes.

    If you're prepared to write the item off altogether, you could try washing in a warm bleach solution (taking care not to splash) and then dry in strong sunshine but I am not hopeful that you will get what you started with.

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy :D...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...I love chaz-ing!
  • travelodgertravelodger Forumite
    142 posts
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    That was the reply I dreaded.

    I wish the items HAD come out black, that was my intention. It's the grey I can't stand.

    OK if I cannot un-dye then what if I buy two more boxes of black and dye them two more times? Will they ever go proper black?

    Why hasn't life got an "undo" button like a computer?
  • yksiyksi Forumite
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    You have a few options. You can try a second dye, with more dye. But if it's a blended natural & synthetic fabric, you might find that it makes no difference - generally, pure cotton will take the dye correctly, but polycotton will take it only lightly (this might be what happened to you).

    Remember to make sure you add dye setter or a LOAD of salt if the dye pack recommends it.

    A strong hot wash with quite a lot of bleach will take out the dye (start with one cup, watch as the wash starts, and if necessary add more). You can pause the washer after a few minutes, leave it ten minutes, start it again to agitate the bleach for 30 seconds, leave it to sit another ten minutes, etc. It will strip out most of the colour, but the likely end result is creamy, it will not go back to blue. You might be willing to risk this since you hate them as they are anyway.
  • KatiehoundKatiehound Forumite
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    Dylon has a product that removes strong coloured dye so that you can redye it a paler colour, called PreDye. No idea if it works!

    Presumably if you can remove the dark grey you could then try redyeing a denim shade?
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  • rach_krach_k Forumite
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    I'd try again with more dye.

    If there is some synthetic material in the fabric, you might have to use different dye. Dylon doesn't do it but if you google 'poly dye' or similar there are places you can get it for home use. If it's mixed fabric, you might need two dyes - one for natural fibres and one for synthetics.
  • travelodgertravelodger Forumite
    142 posts
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    Thanks for the replies, everyone. I love this forum, the breadth of knowledge is fantastic.

    The items are pure denim, that heavy denim, the Real Thing and I didn't think denim had anything but cotton.

    Of the options I have decided to have another go with the black and have just popped a box onto my Amazon order. If that still does not work I might try the pre-dye and bleach etc.

    My worry about bleach is that it weakens the fabric.
  • littlegreenparrotlittlegreenparrot Forumite
    394 posts
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    Apologies, this is vague...

    I'm sure there is a product that does that.

    I remember at home every so often a whole washing load would come out pink, and mum would chuck it in the bath with some product that would remove it.

    I suppose that might not be strong enough for something that's been dyed deliberately though.
  • C_JC_J Forumite
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    There is something called Colour Run Remover, which is what you used if you accidentally put a red T-shirt into a hot whites wash with all your husband's work shirts, and turned them pink. I have never done this, obv.

    I think your best bet is to dye them again. Did you use enough packets of dye the first time? The amount you need is calculated by the weight of the items you want to dye, and denim is heavy so you probably need several boxes.
  • buildersdaughterbuildersdaughter Forumite
    470 posts
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    True denim is pure cotton, but it is rare nowadays to find denim that doesn't have some synthetic in it. My own take is this:
    Whichever course you choose is a punt. Any fabric has unknown elements.
    Denim, once dyed commercially is very unlikely to take up a great deal of other dye.
    You are right that bleaching (and any attempt to remove the dye is a variation on bleaching) will weaken the fabric, but true denim is very hard wearing.

    I would personally, be wary of throwing good money after bad. So my punt would be bleaching and washing as being cheaper than dyeing.

    I think we all feel for you, we have all done something similar! It's what happens when you're creative and want to be an individual. Only a few days ago, I was talking to a friend in her 70s, who showed me an Ossie Clarke 60s original (that she can still fit into!) tht she ruined by cutting too much off the hem - she keeps it as a Terrible Warning!
  • luxor4tluxor4t Forumite
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    Crossing fingers that more dye will be the way forward as my limited experience with a colour run remover was disastrous and bleach ate the fabric!
    I can cook and sew, make flowers grow.
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