tested and approved: idye natural fabric dye

before and after

Confession time: I’m too cheap to throw out clothes just because I splatter a little spaghetti sauce or fudgesicle on them. I had a whole pile of faded and stained t-shirts when I came across iDye, a natural fabric dye. The process is foolproof: just throw the whole packet into the hot washing machine with a little salt or vinegar and it will dissolve and dye 2 to 3 pounds of rayon, cotton, silk, wool or linen. For just $4, I got a whole new wearable wardrobe including a former cheerful orange bridesmaid dress that was too bright for everyday wear until it transformed into a strawberry red. –Katie D.

From our partners

This is a really cool idea.. thanks for sharing :)


I’m in an apartment building with shared washers/dryers – after using this yourself, do you think it would be safe for me to use it in one of those without worry that I’d end up washing my neighbor’s clothes pink? I’d love to try it, but I’d hate to ruin someone else’s laundry!

Melissa- There wasn’t even a hint of the dye in the next load of laundry I did! I’d say use your judgment- if the washers in your building are trustworthy (i.e. not rickety and wash well), then you’re probably fine using them. After all, I’m sure people bleach their whites without worrying that the next person’s colors are going to get bleach spotted. If you’re still worried, I would get a batch of your dark colored laundry together to do a test run after you finish dying your project. Good luck!

T Bone

Finally i can wear my really old underwear and tshirts again. thanks idye!

Mary T

Wow, I am so excited to read this — I have to say that my dye jobs (with RIT) have not held; the dye faded out quickly. ANy word on how it was after a few washes?

iDye is indeed convenient, since it is in a water-soluble pouch ranter than being loose dye powder. What it is NOT however is a “natural” dye, (such as indigo, madder, and other plant and insect materials) but rather it is simply good quality fiber-reactive dye, similar to standard procion-type dyestuff, just packaged for easier useage.

It is definitely a better option than Rit-type dyes, I’ve tried it once and aside from the fact that the “silvery grey” color was actually olive green, it was indeed an easy process. Personally I prefer to use procion dyes, as they are almost as easy and the colors are strong and highly light and washfast. I’ve been dyeing clothing and fabrics sporadically at home for years.

iDye dye: http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/5590684-AA.shtml?lnav=dyes.html
Procion dye: http://www.dharmatrading.com/procion.html
natural dyestuffs: http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/9323186-AA.shtml?lnav=dyes.html

Question… How well does the dye hold up in the wash cycle. Do you have to worry about your dress bleeding in the regular wash?

This is a great idea. And I love the red you chose for your dress.

Melissa, or anyone else worried about dying in a shared washer: You can use iDye on the stovetop, too. I dyed a dress black in a pot in my kitchen and it worked great. The girl at the craft store where I bought it told me that the stovetop actually works better than the washing machine for some colors.

oh, i’m so excited to try this! rit dye scares me for some reason, but this sounds more foolproof, perhaps? fingers x’ed i don’t ruin my washing machine!

I have been looking for this exact product forever for a skirt I have. After one wearing, it got a bleach spot on it. I tried to cover it up with a fabric pen but it didn’t work. Does this really leave no trace of the stain behind? I am so excited, I’m ordering now.

Mary T & KimberJ- So far, so good! I did give the clothes one good wash on their own after I dyed them. They haven’t faded or bled into other clothes since.

Rachel- Good tip- thanks!

glurf- I didn’t have any bleach stained stuff but it’s definitely worth a shot! Besides the bridesmaid dress, I had one shirt with a weird, faded spot on it (almost like it was sitting in the bright sun in a shop window folded strangely before I bought it) and another white shirt with- TMI ALERT!- big yellow arm pit sweat stains. Everything was dyed evenly with no discoloration. You would never known there were any stains at all looking at them now.

We Heart This - we heart weekly – 8.07.10

[…] right, so I can’t exactly sew, but I can run a washing machine. Check out how Katie over at shelterrific turned a few stained tees and a bright orange bridesmaid dress into solid red, wearable pieces for […]

shelterrific » Blog Archive » five things we learned last week

[…] 1) IDye is the fabric dye you’ve been looking for, but you had questions. We had answers! Melissa says: “I’m in an apartment building with shared washers/dryers – after using this yourself, do you think it would be safe for me to use it in one of those without worry that I’d end up washing my neighbor’s clothes pink? I’d love to try it, but I’d hate to ruin someone else’s laundry!” But, our own Katie D. puts fears to rest in comments. Intrigued? Click for iDye. […]


hey so i am debating buying idye for my halloween costume and I am looking for the exact red you used to dye the dress. what was the name of the red you used? thanks

Oh, I thought you meant it was natural. When actually it’s for natural fabrics.

Still looking for a good environmentally friendly natural dye then…


Thanks for this post!
I tried something similar with my old jeans because they were very faded but I used Dylon dyes and they actually left a little bit of a residue in my washing machine. Some underwear from the next load I put in became a little bit blueish which is never great, so I am excited to try the iDyes. I have also been wanting to experiment with Inkodyes a bit because I found a tutorial on them that seemed pretty interesting but I was wondering if anyone has ever tried them? Thanks for the help


What shade of red did you use? The True Red looks too dark :x