Fading Black & Fabric Dye

Woman wearing a black t-shirt
Q: My black T-shirts are fading. How do I get them pitch black again?
A: If the t-shirts are 100% cotton, the simplest method is to purchase a black fabric dye and simply re-dye the shirts to return the deep black coloration. This may not work on blended fabrics, since synthetic fibres often require special dyeing processes to bind the color to the fibres.
Here are some tips for ensuring a good dye result:
For starters, follow the package directions for the dye to be used. Most dye products will require mixing the dye with hot water to ensure that the dye fully dissolves and speed the penetration of the dye into the fibres of the fabric. Unless the dye already suggests doing so, you can add four-to-five cups of salt per gallon of water used to “pre-soften” the water and fabric and ensure a good even pigmentation of the fabric. This will usually result in a richer color result.
Secondly, after the fabric has had the recommended amount of processing time, you can add one cup of vinegar per gallon of water to the dye mixture to lock in the color. Be sure to let the fabric sit in the mixture after the addition of the vinegar for at least another 15 minutes for best results.
Unfortunately, with polyester-cotton blends you can rarely get good results from the kinds of “at-home” dyeing kits available to the public. Most blended fabrics (blends containing polyester fibres) require commercial dyeing processes.
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See also:
Doing laundry
Color tips and advice