Ways & How

how to dye polyester

how to dye polyester

One big advantage of polyester over natural fibers is its ability to resist stains. However, this advantage has its downside: polyester does not take kindly to dyeing. For polyester to absorb dye, it needs extremely high heat and even then, the effort is not always successful. There is no guarantee that you will get the exact shade you want or a consistent coloration. However, if you must dye polyester, then being acquainted with the particulars of how to dye polyester will come handy. Dyeing polyester requires specific tools in order to work. Have all the necessary ingredients ready. In addition, you’d be better off doing this process outdoors where you can move freely, the ventilation is good and you can easily dispose of the dye water. It will also be easier to hose down the fabric than indoors, where the dye could stain sinks, walls and floors.

  1. Use disperse dyes. Synthetic fabrics such as polyester do not dye easily like cotton or wool. Ordinary dyes that work for natural fibers have no effect on polyester. Only disperse dyes will do.

    These are dyes that are ground very finely and suspended in a dispersing agent. They are sold in paste or powder form.

  2. Pre-wash your fabric or launder your garment in high heat. This is to ensure the cloth is clean and the heat will prepare it for dyeing.

  3. Prepare yourself with protection gear: rubber gloves and apron. Disperse dye on your skin is difficult to remove and even more so on clothing. Wear clothing that you won’t mind throwing away should the dye get on it. If you’re using powder dye, you will need safety glasses and a dust mask to keep the dye from getting in through your eyes, nose and mouth. Doing so could cause irritation or even an allergic reaction.

  4. Boil about two liters of water in a large steel or enameled pot. Do not use aluminum because the metal will react with the dye. However, it would be best if you can find a large enough container that you can boil water in (again, it must be steel, not aluminum) and not use for preparing food afterwards. By the same token, use steel utensils or wooden ladle to stir the cloth with, ones that you will not be using for food preparation after.

  5. Scoop up a cupful of hot water and dissolve one to three teaspoons of dye in it, depending on how strong you want the color to be. Make sure the powder or paste is thoroughly dissolved in the water before adding it to the dye bath. Strain the dissolved dye through a piece of rag when adding to the dye bath to make sure no undissolved lump goes into the bath, thereby causing uneven color on the dyed fabric. Add half a teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent to the boiling water as well, so that the fabric will accept the dye better. Stir well.

  6. Add the fabric to the boiling dye bath. Stir it in the bath constantly for about thirty minutes or until you achieve the color you want. Stirring will ensure that the entire fabric is immersed in the dye consistently, and that no part is stuck in the bottom or hidden under a thick pile. Also, there won’t be creases or wrinkles that will cause uneven color.

  7. When the fabric is the desired color, rinse it off with warm water. When the water runs clear, wash the fabric by itself in the washing machine. Afterwards it will be ready for use.

Dyeing is not all that hard. Next time you’re thinking of doing something with polyester; consider these tips on how to dye polyester.


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