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How to Dye Clothes with Rit in a Bucket

Dye cloth in a bucket to protect your washing machine.
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Things You'll Need:

  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Rubber gloves
  • Long tongs
  • Sink, garden hose or other rinsing method


If you are drastically changing the color, you might have to repeat the dying process to get the desired color. Rit dye will not dye polyester fabric.


  • Rit dye will dye plastic and any porous surface. Protect yourself and your surroundings as appropriate.

Whether you want to darken faded black clothing, brighten faded colors or change the color, Rit liquid dye is a widely available fabric dye used to color fabric and clothing. You can dye clothing in a washing machine, but the dye can sometimes stain your washer or linger and affect the next few wash loads. Follow these tips for dying clothes with Rit dye in a bucket.

Dampen the clothes or fabric that you want to dye.

Fill a 5-gallon bucket with 3 gallons of hot water. Fill partway with hot tap water and then boil water on the stovetop to add to the tap water. The water must be hot for the Rit dye to take.

Mix the liquid Rit dye in the bucket of water. Read the back of the bottle to determine how much dye to use. Typically, you will use half to a full bottle.

Add the damp clothes to the dye water. Read the back of the dye bottle to determine the proper ratio of clothes to dye water.

Use the tongs to constantly turn and stir the clothes in the dye water. Make sure all areas are submerged completely. If you don't stir or if a portion of the clothes are not submerged, the color will not be consistent.

Continue stirring the clothes in the dye water for 30 to 60 minutes. Read the back of the dye bottle to determine the recommended dye time.

Remove the clothes from the dye water carefully, wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands.

Rinse the clothes in a sink or outside with a garden hose until the water runs clear.

Wash the clothes through a cold wash cycle in your washing machine with laundry soap.

Dispose of the dye water by pouring it down the drain, diluting it with water as much as possible.

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