Thursday, February 9, 2012

DIY: new jeans

Last June, I committed another year to not buy clothes. It's less about swearing off buying clothes, more about loosening the grip, focusing on what is truly needed. So, we were in the mall recently, browsing the sale racks. I almost talked myself into buying a new pair of jeans, comparing them with my faded ole' pair. 
Then, I remembered this li'l trick.
Faded-ole' jeans + Black Rit Dye = "New" jeans!
That's right, my favorite pair of old jeans thrown in the washer with a packet of black rit dye {$1.78 at Wal-Mart}, and they come out looking as good as new!  
(You all have to thank my friend Brooke for this sheer brilliance. I take no credit, besides appreciating the brilliance :)  
Meet faded-ole'-jeans #1, before:
Pair #2, before:
It seems a little personal to post pics of my jeans. You now know I'm not one to iron jeans, or iron much of anything, really. Pardon our wrinkles :) 
And, I'm horrible at remembering to check the pockets. Which is bad when your kids stick crayons in their pockets. But fun when you pull out a freshly-dyed kleenex:
Follow the package directions, and here are some tips:
- I have thrown in some of the boys' shirts before with a pair of jeans. Bright yellow dyed in black turns a neat-dark-mustard color. White turns a purplish-blueish-gray shade, like the above kleenex. It works well if you have a kids' shirt that has a stain that won't come out - just dye the whole shirt!
I use 1/2 a bottle for 2 pairs of jeans (what I did for the above 2 pairs) OR 1 packet per pair of jeans (you could add a few kids' shirts in the load too).
- Be sure to use hot water, and dissolve the dye in the water before adding the jeans.
- Start the washing cycle, then stop it to let the jeans sit in the water for 1 hour total, starting and stopping now and then to mix it up so that it dyes evenly.
- If it leaves your washer with a blackish tint, wash a load of darks or rags next. It will come out. I haven't ever had a problem with the dye rubbing off on the next load.
Cost breakdown:
bottle of black rit dye = $2.99 {will dye 3-4 pairs of jeans}
packet of black rit dye = $1.71 {will dye 1 pair of jeans and some shirts}

If you're unsure, test it on something you're throwing out anyway. Hey, it's worth a try! You just might get your favorite ole' jeans back for less than a buck!


  1. What a great, great idea! Sarah, I'm always gleaning from all your ideas, thank you! Please keep sharing them!

  2. hee hee. thanks for the credit. and all of this came about because I had to have black pants for work or something, and tried to dye my jeans black so I didn't have to buy new ones.:)

  3. I remember you telling me about this. I thought it turned them black so I have never tried it!! Good to know :)Sooo looking forward to your visit. Let's chat soon to figure out a few arrival time etc. :) Love you friend. Happy V-day, one day early!

  4. tara! thanks for your sweet words, so glad you like them!
    brooke, my pleasure - i love giving you credit for all your awesome ideas. you are a human-pinterest :)
    jules, if those jeans can make it 27 more days, i can give dye them myself, AND make you a blueberry milkshake ;) love YOU!

  5. I've done this before but how many times do you have to wash them before they don't run with your other clothes?

  6. Hey Wendy! I dye them in the washer, then dry and wear them. I haven't had a problem with the stain running onto other clothes, but I wash them with a load of jeans for the 1st time in case.
    P.S. Can't wait to see you guys!!