Whether you have white satin clothing, damaged by bleach, or you’re just tired of the color of it, satin can be easily dyed at home. However, since satin can be made of different fibers and the fabric itself is somewhat delicate, you have to make sure you use the right type of dye. That’s why I’ve created this guide to teach you how to dye satin fabric at home.
Satin can be made from natural fibers such as cotton or silk, or synthetic fibers such as polyester and nylon. You will need a specific dye depending on what type of fiber the fabric is made from. Disperse dye should be used for polyester, reactive dye for cotton and silk, and acid dye for nylon.
Each of these types of dye can be bought commercially, but you can even use food coloring for certain types of satin. In this article, I’ll cover the different types of dye you can use to dye satin, how to use them, and how to dye specific garments made from satin.
Can You Dye Satin Fabric?
Many people assume that because satin is a delicate fabric, it can be hard to dye. This is not entirely the case, as satin can be dyed as long as you are careful with it. If you have satin fabric that you want to change the color of, the good news is that you can dye it at home.
However, how easy satin will be to dye depends on the type of fibers the satin is made of. Satin made from natural fibers such as cotton or silk will be easier to dye than satin made from synthetic fibers. This is because natural fibers tend to be more absorbent, so therefore they will accept dye better than polyester or nylon.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t dye satin that is made from polyester or nylon. It just means that you have to use the right type of dye to ensure that the color is absorbed. But even for satin made from natural fibers, you can’t use just any type of dye. Certain dyes work better than others for specific fabrics, so you want to make sure you use the right one to have the most success.
What Can You Use to Dye Satin?
When it comes to dyeing clothing, three main types of dye are used. Knowing which type of dye to use for each type of fiber will ensure that the satin fabric dyes easily and evenly. The three main types of dyes are disperse dye, reactive dye, and acid dye.
Satin made from synthetic fibers such as polyester needs disperse dye. Disperse dye is used because polyester fibers are hydrophobic, meaning that they tend to naturally repel water. Disperse dyes are made with ingredients that work with this hydrophobic property to ensure that the fabric absorbs the dye better.
For satin made from natural fibers such as cotton and silk, you will need to use reactive dye. Reactive dyes work best for these types of fibers because certain ingredients in the dye bond with the cellulose or protein fibers that make up the fabric. This means that the dye can be better absorbed by the fabric and retain its color for a longer period of time.
Acid dye is used for satin made from nylon. Again, it’s because of a specific ingredient contained in the dye that bonds with the nylon fibers. There are commercial acid dyes that you can buy, or you can save a little money by using something you probably already have at home: food coloring.
How to Dye Satin Fabric at Home
The first thing you’ll need to do before dyeing satin is to check the care tag. This will help you to know exactly what type of fiber the satin fabric is made of. Once you know what the fabric is made of, you’ll be able to choose the right type of dye to dye it.
Before dyeing any type of fabric, including satin, you’ll want to make sure that the satin fabric is clean. Any stains, dirt, or oil on the fabric can interfere with the dyeing process and prevent the fabric from dyeing evenly.
You’ll need to pre-treat any stains before washing and make sure that they are completely removed before you dye the fabric. This is important, even if it means treating and washing the fabric several times. However, you don’t have to put it in the dryer after washing it because you’ll need the fabric to be wet when you dye it.
Rit DyeOne of the best types of dye to use for dyeing satin is Rit Dye. This is because there are products available for satin made from synthetic or natural fibers. For satin that is made from polyester, you’ll want to use Rit DyeMore. For satin made from cotton or silk, you’ll want to use Rit All-Purpose Dye.
No matter which type of dye you end up using, the steps for using the dye are pretty much the same. However, there are a few small differences when it comes to dyeing natural versus synthetic fibers. Because of this, I’ll provide separate steps for each of them.
For dyeing satin made from polyester with Rit Dye, you’ll need:
- Rit DyeMore
- Stainless steel pot
- Measuring cup
- Rubber gloves
- Dish soap
- Plastic table cloth
Once you’ve gathered your materials, follow these steps:
- Weigh the fabric while it is dry to determine how much dye you’ll need. Usually, one bottle of Rit Dye is enough to dye two pounds of fabric, but Rit recommends doubling the amount of dye if the fabric is made from 100% polyester.
- Pre-treat any stains and wash the fabric in warm water to clean it before dyeing. Avoid using fabric softener, as it can interfere with the dyeing process.
- Cover your workspace with a plastic tablecloth or old towels that you don’t mind getting stained with dye. Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands from stains as well as potential burns from working with boiling water.
- Choose a stainless steel pot that is big enough to hold the fabric while still allowing the fabric to move freely. Fill the pot with enough water to completely cover the fabric. Add 5 milliliters of dish soap to help the fabric dye evenly.
- After covering the pot, heat the water on the stove until it reaches a temperature of around 200℉, or just below boiling.
- When the water starts to simmer, shake the dye, then add it to the water. Mix the dye in the water so that it is evenly distributed.
- If the fabric is not already wet, wet it with cool water and add it to the water. Be sure to keep the temperature at a simmer for dyeing to be effective without damaging the fabric.
- Stir the fabric slowly but constantly for at least 10 minutes. The fabric needs to remain in the water for at least 10 minutes for the color to take to the fabric evenly.
- You can leave it in the fabric in the water until the desired color is reached or up to an hour. Blended fabrics need to stay in the dye bath for at least 30 minutes, while 100% polyester fabric may require less time.
- Remove the fabric from the water once the desired color is reached. Gently squeeze the fabric to remove excess dye. Then rinse the fabric in warm water, making the water gradually color until the water runs clear.
- Lastly, wash the dyed clothing by itself in warm water. Use a mild detergent, then let the fabric dry.
For dyeing satin made from cotton or silk, you’ll need the following materials:
- Rit All-Purpose Dye
- Rit Color-Stay Dye Fixative (optional but recommended)
- Measuring cup
- Metal spoon
- Stainless steel sink or plastic container
- Rubber gloves
- Plastic tablecloth
- Salt or vinegar (depending on fiber type)
- Dish soap
Once you’ve gathered your materials, follow these steps:
- Weigh the fabric while it is dry to determine how much dye you need. Following the same guidelines as before, one bottle of Rit Dye is enough for two pounds of fabric, but you can double the amount of dye if you want a bolder color.
- If you haven’t already, pre-treat the clothing to remove stains, then wash it without using a fabric softener. It is not necessary to dry the clothing before dyeing it.
- Cover your workspace with the tablecloth to protect it from spills and stains, and wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from dye and potential burns from hot water.
- Fill a stainless steel sink or plastic container that is large enough to hold the fabric with enough water for the fabric to move freely. The ideal water temperature to use when dyeing natural fabrics is 140℉. To get the most accurate temperature, you can heat the water on the stove first if necessary and then add it to the sink or container.
- If you’re dyeing satin made from cotton, add one cup of salt to the water. If the satin is made from silk, add one cup of vinegar to the water. This will help give you the best color payoff from the dye.
- Add 1 teaspoon of dish soap to help ensure that the fabric dyes evenly, then add the dye to the water and use the metal spoon to stir it so that the dye is evenly distributed.
- Dip a paper towel into the water to test the color. If you want a darker color, add more dye; add more water if you want a lighter color.
- Wet the fabric if you haven’t already. Squeeze out any excess water, then place the fabric in the dye bath.
- Slowly and continuously stir the fabric for at least 10 minutes to ensure that the fabric dyes evenly. As with synthetic fabrics, you can leave the fabric in the dye until the desired color is reached or up to an hour.
- Once the color is to your liking, remove the fabric from the bath and squeeze out any excess dye. You can use the ColorStay Dye Fixative immediately after dyeing to prevent the color from bleeding if you want to, but this is optional.
- Rinse the fabric under warm water, making the water gradually cooler until the water runs clear. Then, wash the fabric in warm water using a mild detergent and let the fabric dry.
When dyeing natural fabrics with Rit Dye, you can also use the stovetop method above. However, be sure to keep the water temperature lower (at 140℉) and add salt or vinegar to the water depending on what type of satin fiber you’re working with
Dylon DyeYou can also use Dylon Dye to dye satin. But, it should only be used to dye satin made from natural fibers (silk or cotton) because Dylon is a reactive dye.
The advantage of using Dylon Dye instead of Rit Dye is that some Dylon products can be used in the washing machine, so it is less time-consuming and more of a hands-off process.
However, you’ll only want to use Dylon machine dye to wash satin that is made from cotton.
If your satin clothing is made from silk, you will need to use Dylon Hand Dye since silk is often too delicate to be put into the washing machine. To use Dylon Hand Dye, follow these steps:
- Weigh the fabric while it is dry to determine how much dye you will need. For reference, one pack of Dylon Hand Dye will dye up to 1.3 pounds (600 grams) or fabric.
- If necessary, remove any stains from the fabric and hand-wash it so that it is clean. If washing is not necessary, thoroughly wet the clothing by running it under water from the sink. You do not need to dry the fabric.
- Fill a plastic container or stainless steel sink with 1.5 to 2 gallons (6 liters) of water, or enough to cover the fabric but allow it to move freely. The water should be around 104℉ (40℃).
- Add 10 tbsp (250 grams) of salt to the water and stir it well until the salt has dissolved. Then, add the dye and stir the water again until the dye is evenly distributed.
- Add the fabric to the water so that it is completely submerged. Then, stir the fabric constantly for 15 minutes so that the dye can penetrate the fabric evenly.
- Allow the fabric to remain in the water for 45 minutes, stirring regularly after the first 15 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, remove the fabric from the water and gently squeeze out the excess dye. Then, rinse the fabric under cold water until the water runs clear.
- Finally, hand wash the fabric in warm water with mild detergent and allow the fabric to air dry.
This video from will show you how to use their Color Pods to dye your satin clothes made from cotton in the washing machine:
Food coloring is a type of acid dye, so you can use it to dye satin made from nylon. You can also use Rit All-Purpose Dye to dye nylon, but food coloring is a cheaper alternative that you likely already have at home. However, you should be aware that you may not get the same color payoff, nor will the dye last as long if you use food coloring instead of Rit Dye. But you can always dye the fabric again if necessary.
To use food coloring to dye satin, follow these steps:
- Pre-treat any stains and wash the clothing to ensure that it is clean.
- In a large plastic container, add equal amounts of water and vinegar. To make this easier, add 1 cup of each at a time until the container is full. Vinegar is necessary for vibrancy and color retention.
- Place the clothing in the water and allow it to soak for 30 minutes. This will allow the fibers to soak up the water and vinegar before the food coloring is added.
- Pour out the water and vinegar, then gently squeeze out the excess water from your clothing.
- Add 3 to 4 cups of water to the container (or more if necessary to completely cover the clothing). Then, add 10 to15 drops of food coloring to the water. You can add more later if needed. Stir the water and food coloring until it is evenly mixed.
- Add your clothing to the water and let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes. Make sure that the clothing remains fully submerged in the water. You’ll also want to stir it every few minutes to ensure that the clothing dyes evenly. The water will start to clear up as the clothing absorbs the dye.
- After soaking for 10 to 20 minutes, wring out the excess water and dye from your clothing. Place it in a resealable plastic bag for around 8 hours. This will help the dye react to the fabric more so that the color lasts longer.
- Take the clothing out and wash it in the washing machine by itself using a mild detergent. Then, let the fabric dry.
How to Dye a Satin Dress at HomeDresses are one of the most common garment types that are made from satin and they are easy to dye at home. The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out what type of satin fibers the dress is made of to know what type of dye you need to use. Then, weigh the dress while it is dry to figure out how much dye you need.
Next, you’ll need to pre-treat and wash the dress to clean it and remove any stains. Do not dry the dress because you want it to be wet when you dye it. When you’re ready to dye the dress, follow the instructions for the particular dye you’re using (either up above or on the packaging). Remember to add vinegar or salt to the water if the dress is made from natural fibers.
After dyeing the dress, rinse out the excess dye. Then, wash the dress by itself so that dye doesn’t get on your other clothes. Depending on the type of fiber that the dress is made of, you can let it air dry or dry it in the dryer.
How to Dye Satin Shoes at HomeIf you want to dye satin shoes, a lot of them come in white. That means that they should be easy to dye. Rit Dye is the best type of dye for shoes because there are versions for both natural and synthetic fabrics. Plus, you’ll have more control over what areas of the shoe get dyed.
If you’re dyeing satin tennis shoes, you’ll want to remove the laces unless you want them to be dyed as well. You’ll want to tape over the areas that you don’t want to be dyed; you’ll either have to tape over those areas or brush on the dye.
If you’re dyeing the shoes in the traditional way and you just want to tape over the areas that you don’t want to be dyed, just follow the steps for using Rit Dye above. But if you want to brush on the dye, follow the steps below.
- Rit All-Purpose or DyeMore Dye
- Painter’s tape
- 1” inch foam sponge paintbrush
- Measuring cup
- Metal spoon
- Rubber gloves
- Plastic table cloth
- Cover your workspace with the tablecloth and put on the rubber gloves to protect the surface and your hands from the dye.
- Remove the shoelaces from the shoes (if applicable). If you want to dye them too, soak them in warm, soapy water.
- Use painter’s tape to tape over any areas that you don’t want to be dyed. Put paper towels inside the shoes to protect them inside from dye.
- Heat 4 to 6 cups of water on the stove to 140℉. Then, shake up the dye and add ¼ cup of dye plus 4 cups of water to a plastic container. Stir the dye and the water until they are well-mixed.
- Dip a paper towel into the water to check the color. Add more water or more dye if necessary if you want a lighter or darker color.
- If you want to dye the laces, remove them from the soapy water, rinse them, and add them to the water containing the dye.
- Dip the foam paintbrush into the dye bath, then paint the dye onto the sneakers. Let them sit for up to 30 minutes to fully absorb the dye.
- Rinse the shoes and laces under cold water until the water runs clear. Let them sit overnight to dry, then remove the painter’s tape.
How to Dye Satin Gloves at HomeYou can dye satin gloves at home as well, especially since a lot of them are white. However, satin gloves can be harder to dye due to being made with some elastic fibers. Elastic fibers don’t absorb dye as well, so you want to make sure to use a high-quality dye for best results.
Rit Dye works best for gloves, but be sure to choose the right type of dye for the fibers you have. Remember that you want Rit DyeMore for gloves made from polyester or nylon and Rit All-Purpose Dye for gloves made from cotton or silk. Once you’ve got the right type of dye, follow the instructions above or on the packaging for that particular type of dye.
Satin is not hard to dye at home as long as you use the right type of dye. To do this, it’s important to know what type of fiber was used to make the particular piece of satin clothing. For best results, you’ll want to use a commercial dye such as Rit or Dylon, but you can also use food coloring for a cheaper alternative. If you enjoyed this article, share it with others and leave a comment. Thanks for reading!