How To Wash A Tie Dye Shirt For The First Time

Tie-dyeing t-shirt is a fun hobby and can even become a lucrative business for budding entrepreneurs. But, to make the best shirts, you’ll need to know how to set and wash a tie-dye shirt for the first time.

To wash a brand-new tie-dye shirt for the first time, you will need to rinse the shirt under cold water. This helps to eliminate excess dye. You can either set your shirt or remove the rubber bands and re-rinse the shirt. Wash the tie-dye shirt using hot water and a small amount of detergent.

By properly setting and washing your tie-dye shirt, you can help it to look brighter and last longer without fading. Whether you’re creating fun designs or trying out a new craft, our quick guide will help you make the best tie-dye shirts around!

1. Preparing To Wash Your Tie Dye Shirt

tie dye t shirt washing

After you have had your fun and dyed your shirt, it’s time to start prepping it for its first wash. You will need to ensure that your shirt has been left to steep in the dye for at least 8 hours.

For the best dye results, it’s best to leave the shirt to steep for 24 hours. If you’re as impatient as we are, you can also leave it overnight for a better, more vivid final product.

After the dye has been left to steep, you can take it out of its protective packaging. Be sure to put on some rubber gloves and protective clothing before you remove it, though! You wouldn’t want to stain your clothes or your skin.

It can be super tempting to remove the rubber bands and see how your shirt turns out when you take it out of the bag. This can change the results of the shirt, though, so be careful not to remove them too early! For now, you can keep them on.

Over an empty sink, you can start to rinse the shirt off. Be sure not to leave any clothes or other valuable items lying around – unless you want to give your hand towel a brand-new look!

Rinse the shirt off under cold water and wait until the water runs completely clear. You may need to double-check that you rinsed every bit of the shirt, just in case.

You don’t necessarily have to use your sink, though. You can also lay your shirt down on a flat piece of ground outside and use your hose to rinse the shirt off until the water runs clear. This is probably the best way to avoid an accident with the dye!

If you’re feeling lazy, you could also throw the shirt into your washing machine. You’ll need to put the shirt in alone, though, because any other clothing in the machine could potentially become stained due to the excess dye. You can use a cold-water rinse cycle to ensure that your shirt has been thoroughly rinsed.

Now that your shirt has been rinsed, you can go ahead and wash it. But, if you want your new tie-dye shirt to last longer without fading, you may want to set your shirt first.

If you don’t want to set your shirt, you can go ahead and remove the rubber bands. Now that the bands are off, you can rinse your shirt again using any of the rinsing methods we’ve mentioned. Again, be sure to rinse your shirt until the water runs completely clear.

Once you have rinsed your shirt for a second time, you can hang it somewhere to dry. The shirt will need to drip dry and will be ready to be washed once it has stopped dripping.

2. Setting Your Tie Dye Shirt

As we’ve mentioned, you can skip this step and jump right into washing your new shirt. Setting your shirt can help it to last longer, though, and can stop it from fading too quickly. After all, you wouldn’t want all of your work to have been for nothing, right?

To set your shirt, you will need to keep the rubber bands around your shirt in place. In a bucket, pour in one to two cups of vinegar and fill the rest of the bucket with water. You can then submerge the shirt into the bucket.

Using your rubber gloves, swirl the shirt around for about a minute. Then, leave the shirt to sit for at least half an hour. Once the thirty minutes is up, you can take the shirt out of the vinegar mixture.

Still wearing your gloves, give the shirt a good squeeze to get rid of any excess water.

You may notice that the water left in the bucket isn’t completely clear. Don’t panic, this is totally normal, and is just a result of excess dye bleeding from the shirt.

If you chose to set your shirt before washing it, then you can now remove the rubber bands from your shirt. Repeat the normal rinsing process and leave your shirt to drip dry. Once it has stopped dripping, it’s ready to be washed!

3. Washing Your Tie Dye Shirt

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Source: Unsplash

Now that your shirt has been rinsed (twice), you’re ready to wash your shirt. You can do this by using your washing machine and a hot water setting. Using hot water will help to set the color of your shirt.

Make sure that you are washing your shirt on its own so that you aren’t going to stain any of your other clothes! You can always wash your shirt with other dyed shirts if you have used similar colors. Be sure to adjust the size of the load on the washing machine accordingly.

You can wash your shirt using a small amount of laundry detergent and no fabric softener.

4. Drying Your Tie Dye Shirt

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Source: LoveToKnow

Once your shirt has been washed, you can take it out of the washing machine and leave it to dry. You will need to avoid using a tumble dryer and hang the shirt out to dry naturally instead.

After your shirt has completely dried, it’s time to enjoy your amazing new tie-dye creation!


Washing your tie-dye shirt helps to complete your project and keep your shirts looking colorful and fun for longer. Now that you know how to wash your tie-dye shirts for the first time, you can keep enjoying your new hobby and create amazing and unique one-of-a-kind designs.