How To Dye Polyester

Give old garments a new life by learning how to dye polyester. You cannot dye polyester the same way you would other fabrics such as cotton or silk. Instead, you need to use a dye specifically designed for synthetic fibers such as polyester. You should be careful when dying any time of fabric, but especially when dying polyester, since you will need to boil a large vat of water. Work in an area with plenty of ventilation and wear a mask so that you don't inhale any dust from the dye. It is also important that you do not dye polyester using a pot or spoon that you use with food or work in an area where food is also prepared.

To dye polyester, you will need:

  • Safety goggles
  • Face mask
  • Rubber gloves
  • Apron
  • Stainless steel pot, 11 quarts
  • Disperse dye powder
  • Small disposable plastic cup
  • Dispersing agent
  • Polyester garment
  • Metal spoon
  1. Put on your apron, goggles, face mask and rubber gloves before starting. You don't want to breathe in the dye or get it in your eyes and you do not want to stain your hands or clothing.
  2. Fill the stainless steel pot with 3.5 quarts of water. Place on a stovetop and begin to heat.
  3. Test the garment to make sure it can absorb the dye. Sprinkle a few drops of water on it. If it absorbs the water, it's ready to go. If the water beads and floats on the surface, add a small amount of laundry detergent to the water.
  4. Combine up to 4 grams of the dye powder with a bit of warm water in the plastic cup. Use just enough water to wet the dye powder. Vary the amount of dye you use based on how deep you want the color. Use less for a lighter color or more for a deeper color.
  5. Pour the dye mixture into the water. Add 3 grams of dispersing agent and stir.
  6. Place the polyester garment in the dye bath. Raise the heat until the bath is boiling. Stir the fabric in the bath, letting it sit in there for up to 30 minutes.
  7. Turn off the stove. Let the dye bath cool to about 100 degrees. If you want the color to be more intense, add more dye and raise the heat again. Let the fabric sit for another ten minutes.
  8. Remove the polyester when it is the desired color. Rinse it in warm water until the water runs clear. Let the garment dry, either in a dryer on low heat or on the line.
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