1. General information
Before dyeing, you need to consider three things:
- The type of fabric (e.g. cotton or silk),
- The dye temperature (the maximum temperature at which your textile can be washed),
- The amount of fabric (so you know how much textile dye to use
You can easily find the correct textile dye and appropriate dosage in our table.
Alternatively, use our product finder.
|Textile Dye intensive||Textile Dye expert||Back-To-Black/Blue|
|Cotton, viscose, linen, mixed fabrics||X||X||X|
|Wool and silk||X|
|300 g fabric||1 packet||1 packet||1 packet|
|600 g fabric||1 packet||2 packets||1 packet|
|900 g fabric||2 packets||3 packets||2 packets|
|1200 g fabric||2 packets||3 packets||2 packets|
You can determine the exact weight of textiles using a kitchen scale. To do this, weigh the textiles when dry.
To redye, refresh, and recolour easily, we recommend our Textile Dye intensive. Simply use it in the washing machine.
For creative dyeing, there is Textile Dye expert. It can be used in a washing machine, bowl, or pot. Textile Dye expert can also be used to dye wool and silk.
To refresh black and blue textiles in particular, there are the colour renewal products all-in-1 Back-to-Black and Back-to-Blue for the washing machine.
Click on the relevant product:
No. Dyeing does not damage the washing machine at all. Any residual dye is removed from the washing machine when the textile is first rewashed.
In rare instances, the rubber seals, for example, may become slightly stained during the dyeing process. However, this stain is not transferred to subsequent wash cycles. You can easily remove this stain using a 5% to 10% solution of chlorine bleach.
Does any residual dye remain in the machine? Will any residual dye be transferred to subsequent wash cycles?
No. This is nothing to worry about because the dyeing process includes a thorough rinsing and washing of the dyed textile and therefore also of the machine.
In the unlikely event that the machine and its plastic components become slightly stained, you can easily wipe them off with a 5% to 10% solution of standard chlorine bleach.
It depends on the simplicol dye series that you have selected and the maximum temperature at which your textile can be washed.
With the Textile Dye intensive and the Back-to… products, dyeing is done at 40°C.
With the Textile Dye expert, dyeing is done at 60°C.
Exceptions: wool and machine-washable silk can be treated against the manufacturer’s advice at 60°C. However, they must be dyed in a pot, not in the washing machine.
Yes, this is possible with Textile Dye intensive. You can also use this dye in a 30°C easy-care cycle for textiles that can only be washed at 30°C.
However, the colour will be less intense. There may also be slight changes in colour shade. The best dyeing results are achieved at 40°C.
Dyeing textiles in the washing machine is particularly easy and clean. With the simplicol dye series, you put the dye directly into the drum with the textiles. After dyeing, the textiles are rewashed once more—which cleans the washing machine too.
Find the instructions for dyeing textiles in the washing machine here:
When dyeing in a bowl or bucket you must wear rubber gloves.
Here’s what you do:
- Heat 6 L of water to at least 60°C (60°C = 4 L of boiling + 2 L of cold water) and pour into a plastic bowl or bucket.
- Next, dissolve the simplicol textile dye in the water.
- When dyeing silk, you also need to add about 300 ml of vinegar (or 50 ml of 25% vinegar essence).
- Fully immerse the clean fabric in the dye bath and dye for one hour while stirring.
- Rewash the textile at 40°C using detergent.
You can then add fixative to your dyed clothing. This makes it colourfast up to 40°C.
Find out more here
Use our Textile Dye intensive and the Back-to… products for colour renewal in the washing machine.
simplicol Textile Dye expert is suitable for dyeing in the washing machine, in a bowl or bucket, and in a pot.
A bowl is particularly useful for creative dyeing, as it is easy to work with more than one colour or use dip-dyeing techniques.Go to the idea collection
Dye delicate wool and silk in a pot. Go to dyeing in a pot
Yes, you can mix products to create your desired shade. To do this, only use dyes from a single series; that is to say, only combine dyes in the Textile Dye intensive range or dyes in the Textile Dye expert range. .
Our colour mixer shows how the dying results might appear.
How to mix Textile Dye intensive
Mix Textile Dye intensive by using two colour shades at the same time. Select the two colours you want to use and empty the contents of both packets into the drum (i.e. both dye bottles and both sachets). This is how you dye 1,200 g (dry weight) of fabric in a deep colour shade.
How to mix Textile Dye expert
You can also mix Textile Dye expert by using two colour shades at the same time. Select the two colours you want to use and add the entire contents of both packets. This dyes up to 600 g (dry weight) of fabric in a deep shade. If you then want to fix the colour, you only need one bottle of fixative.
No, under no circumstances will this work. The different types of colourant interfere with each other, so the dye may be very blotchy.
Yes. These are called non-dyeable fibres. They include:
- Polyester, polyacrylic, and polyamide
- Stitching and zips made from these materials
It is also impossible to dye
- Microfibres such as GORE-TEX and Sympatex
- Textiles with down filling or Scotchgard finish
- Non-washable, PU-coated fabrics
- Heavily worn clothing
- Used-look jeans
Yes. After dyeing, you wash the textile with detergent, which also cleans the washing machine. Any residue is then removed from the machine.
To answer this question, a distinction must be made between the three dye series.
simplicol Textile Dye intensive and the Back-to… products behave like high-quality new textiles. Your colours stay brilliant for longer if you use a colour detergent and avoid bleaching detergents (e.g. general-purpose detergents). We recommend washing with similar colours.
Textile Dye expert may bleed slightly during washing. It should be washed separately using a mild detergent. Colourfastness and colour brilliance can be improved using simplicol Colour Fixative expert.
Dyed textiles behave just like purchased coloured textiles in the laundry. Clothing dyed using Textile Dye intensive or the Back-to… products should be washed with similar colours.
Textiles that have been dyed using Textile Dye expert should be washed separately.
Yes. You can continue to tumble-dry and iron your dyed textiles according to the care label.
2. Questions about dyeing: How do I colour that?
All simplicol textile dyes can be used to dye cotton, viscose, linen, and mixed fabrics.
Textile Dye expert can also be used to dye wool and silk.
Use our product finder to easily find the right simplicol textile dye.
Yes and no. Dyeing jeans works very well. However, the typical appearance of washed jeans will not be retained.
You can achieve very good results when refreshing solid black or dark blue jeans. Our Back-to… colour renewal products are particularly easy to use and are designed for this purpose.
Coloured or white jeans can be dyed using Textile Dye intensive and Textile Dye expert.
Please note that zips and synthetic stitches do not absorb the colour.
I would like to dye faded black jeans and T-shirts back to their original deep black. Which dye should I use for this?
Use simplicol Back-to-Black colour renewal to restore the deep black to your clothing. It is very easy to use in the washing machine.
Yes, if you follow the rule of thumb that you can only dye clothes darker.
For example, if you dye yellow fabric using a blue dye, you create a shade of green. In contrast, if you dye blue fabric using a yellow dye, the blue will remain almost unchanged because the much lighter yellow will be absorbed into the blue. This is because textile dyes are not opaque colours like gloss or wall paints, but transparent colours similar to watercolour paint.
It is therefore possible to dye your item a different colour when following the “dark on light” rule of thumb, although the outcome is always slightly surprising. Our colour mixer gives you an idea of the possible colour results.
Patterns are usually retained when redyeing, because textile dyes are transparent, rather than opaque. This often looks very attractive. In this example, a light pink dress with red flowers was dyed blue:
- The strong blue penetrates well into the light pink.
- The strong red flowers mix with the blue to create a shade of violet.
- The flowers, however, are still clearly visible.
Ideally, bedding and hand towels should be washed at hot temperatures. We therefore recommend that you use our simplicol Textile Dye intensive. After dyeing (at 40°C), the dyed textiles are colourfast up to 95°C. They can therefore be washed at hotter temperatures than normal coloured laundry, for which manufacturers usually recommend only 60°C.
Are your hand towels and bedding made from flannelette or terry cloth? If so, you can dye up to 800 g (dry weight) of fabric in one drum load (the dye may be blotchy if more fabric is added).
Polyacrylic, polyester, and polyamide cannot be dyed using household dyes.
However, it is possible to dye a mixture of these (maximum 50%) and dyeable fibres. The resulting shade on mixed fabrics is lighter.
We recommend that you only dye woollen clothing (e.g. sweaters or cardigans) in a pot. This way, you can reach the required 60°C dye temperature while avoiding the fluctuations in temperature that cause wool to felt.
However, please note: when dyeing wool, shrinkage or felting cannot be ruled out entirely (as when washing wool). Luxury wools such as cashmere, mohair, merino, or angora cannot be dyed.
Wool can only be dyed an intense colour shade if the dye temperature is 60°C. In the textile industry, wool is often treated at very high temperatures.
This is because high temperatures do not cause wool to felt, as is often assumed. Felting occurs as a result of thermal shock—if the dye bath is heated up or cooled down too quickly. This makes the wool contract and mat together.
Thermal shock may occur when the water is heated in the washing machine or during the rinse cycle. Therefore, it is only possible to dye woollen textiles in a pot.
You can achieve beautiful effects using knitting yarn that you have dyed yourself. For example, dip a ball of wool up to halfway into your desired colour. If you then use the wool for knitting, you can create stylish and unique colour gradients.
Knitting yarn can be dyed in a pot or in a bowl. See the instructions in our idea collection “Stylish knits: Dyeing knitting yarn yourself.”
You can dye machine-washable silk in the washing machine or in a bowl. Incidentally, this can be done irrespective of the temperature specification on the care label. Even a silk item that has to be washed at 30°C can be dyed at 60°C. However, the silk textile should only be spun very gently or preferably not at all.
Silk that is only suitable for hand-washing should be dyed in a pot.
When dyeing silk, always add vinegar: 750 ml for machine dyeing or 300 ml per 6 L of water when dyeing in a bowl or pot.
Dyeing silk in the washing machine
- Place the silk textile loosely in the washing machine.
- Cut open the top of the sachet of Textile Dye expert and place it on the textile in the drum.
- Where appropriate, add fixative to the softener compartment.
- Select a 60°C easy-care cycle without pre-wash, and select the extra rinse button, if available. Switch off the spin cycle or reduce the spin speed.
- Start the washing machine.
- Now add 750 ml of vinegar via the detergent compartment.
After dyeing, remove the sachet from the drum and rewash the dyed silk textile in the machine with detergent according to the care label.
Dyeing silk in a bowl
Machine-washable silk can also be dyed in a bowl.
Find instructions for dyeing in a bowl here.
Dyeing delicate silks
Silk that is not suitable for machine washing or very delicate silk can be dyed at 60°C in a pot, even if the care label recommends a lower temperature.
We advise against dyeing very delicate types of wool. There is a very high risk of shrinkage or felting.
However, you can dye wool and wool blends in a pot with simplicol Textile Dye expert. More information is available here.
No. Unfortunately, down-filled or microfibre clothing cannot be dyed with household dyes.
We recommend simplicol Textile Dye expert for batik, as this dye can be used in a bowl. After applying the additional fixative, your batik clothing is colourfast up to 40°C.
If you want to do batik in the washing machine, you can also use Textile Dye intensive.
Find out more here.
No. There is no need to add extra salt.
No, this is unnecessary. Both Textile Dye intensive and the all-in-1 colour renewal products in the Back-to… range already contain a fixative.
You can supplement Textile Dye expert with Colour Fixative expert, as it improves the colour brilliance and durability.
simplicol Colour Fixative expert improves the colour brilliance and durability of simplicol Textile Dye expert. You can use it in the washing machine or in a bowl.
Simultaneous dyeing and fixing in the machine
Simply add the fixative to the softener compartment of the washing machine when dyeing.
Subsequent fixing when dyeing in a bowl
If you are dyeing in a bowl, you can fix the colour afterwards. Rinse the textiles well beforehand.
- Washing machine: Add the fixative to the softener compartment and start the rinse cycle.
- Bowl: Add one bottle of fixative to 8 L of cold water. Lay the dyed textiles in the fixative bath for 15 minutes and stir the fabric regularly. Rinse well.
- Textiles that have been dyed in a pot can be fixed in a bowl.
Wash with a mild detergent and repeat the fixing process after a few wash cycles, if necessary.
Can I dye clothing that has been discoloured by a detergent that contains chlorine, or by hair or other bleach?
Without pre-treatment, blotches will still be visible even after dyeing.
Our advice is to first remove all colour evenly from the textile and then redye it. You can use HEITMANN Power Decolouriser HEITMANN Power Decolouriser extra strong to do this.
Unfortunately, this will not work because the dyes only react with the additives and adhere to the fabric when dissolved together.
Find ways in which you can be creative with simplicol textile dyes over here.
No. Lingerie is usually made from synthetic fibres, which unfortunately cannot be dyed.
Our advice for greyed lingerie: use HEITMANN Lingerie White to remove unattractive grey discolouration from pure white lingerie. In contrast to conventional stain removers and whiteners, it works on polyamide fibres, from which most bras and briefs are made.
3. Problems and solutions
Many factors may cause the dyed item of clothing to differ in colour shade from the packaging or appear darker or lighter than expected.
You have dyed a coloured fabric
The colours shown on the packaging are only produced when dyeing white textiles. If coloured textiles are dyed, the result is a mixed shade because textile dye is a transparent rather than an opaque colour.
The dyeing time was too short
The fabric must be dyed in the dye bath for at least 45 minutes in order for the dye to be absorbed properly.
The dyed material consists of mixed fabrics
Synthetic fabrics do not absorb the textile dye. The colour shade is therefore always lighter on mixed fabrics. The proportion of non-dyeable fibres must not exceed 50%.
You have used too little or too much dye
The more dye you use, the darker the colour shade. Please also take the amount of fabric into account. You will find exact dosage instructions in each textile dye’s instructions for use.
The clothing was worn, washed out, or treated to look used
Unfortunately, special industrially manufactured washed-out looks on material, such as artificially created washed-out patches, cannot be redyed evenly. The same applies to heavily worn clothing.
The washing machine was too full
Never dye more than 1,200 g (dry weight) of fabric in the washing machine at any one time. We recommend a maximum limit of 800 g for bulky fabrics such as flannelette or terry cloth when dyeing in the drum.
The fabric contains finishes, fabric softener, agents used to disinfect the laundry, impregnation products, etc.
For the dye to be absorbed evenly, the fabric must be free of finishes, fabric softener, disinfectants, impregnation products, etc. We recommend washing the material prior to dyeing with a detergent that does not contain fabric softener.
Several factors might cause the dye to be blotchy.
There was too much fabric in the washing machine
Never dye more than 1,200 g (dry weight) of fabric at any one time.
For bulky materials, such as terry cloth or flannelette, this should be reduced to 800 g.
The fabric contains finishes such as fabric softener, agents used to disinfect the laundry, or waterproofing agents
In this case, the dye cannot be absorbed evenly into the clothing. We recommend washing fabrics once with a detergent that does not contain fabric softener prior to dyeing.
If you dyed in a bowl, you may not have stirred the textiles sufficiently.
When dyeing in a bowl, the piece of clothing being dyed must be constantly stirred, otherwise the dye might be distributed unevenly and the fabric might become blotchy.
Too little water can also cause blotches
When dyeing in a bowl or pot, use the recommended amount of water—6 L per 300 g (dry weight) of fabric.
Modern washing machines do not use a lot of water. The innovative liquid formula in our Textile Dye intensive has been specifically developed for this. The dye dissolves immediately for an intense, even dyeing result without blotches.
When using Textile Dye expert and the Back-to… products, we recommend using an extra rinse option, if available.
The thread used for stitching is usually synthetic, such as polyester. Unfortunately, these synthetic fibres do not absorb textile dyes.
You can remove dye from your hands using our HEITMANN Power Decolouriser. Make a solution with the decolouriser that is as hot as reasonably tolerable, and wash your hands in it. Then wash your hands thoroughly and apply cream.
In very rare cases, the plastic and rubber parts of the washing machine may become slightly stained. If this occurs, simply wipe off the stain with a 5% to 10% solution of chlorine bleach. And, if the slight staining does not cause you any concern, you can rest assured that no colour will be transferred to subsequent wash cycles, for example whites.
The original colour of the new textile I have bought bleeds. Can I fix it using the Colour Fixative expert?
Unfortunately it is not possible to fix the original colour of clothing to the fabric using simplicol Colour Fixative expert. The fixative is specifically designed for Textile Dye expert and can only be used with this product. Sadly, we are not aware of any product that can fix bleeding clothing.
4. Environment and health
Now and then, there are stories in the press about textiles containing harmful colourants that end up on the market. These are often cheap imported textiles.
simplicol only uses quality dyes that are checked on an ongoing basis. Fabrics dyed with simplicol are dermatologically safe.
From an environmental perspective, it is worth redyeing or refreshing textiles that are still in good condition. Instead of ending up in the shredder, clothes of the “wrong colour” can be worn again. This reduces the production of new materials and the associated environmental burden caused by the cleaning, bleaching, mercerising, and treatment of natural fibres. It therefore makes sense to dye, not to buy, for the sake of the environment.
If the water drains into a biological treatment plant, we advise against dyeing, as the dye additives may disturb the ecological balance of the biological treatment plant.