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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Dyeing Polyester Fleece

Hard to get the lighting right on this.
It's more uniform in color than it looks in the photo.

My daughter Grace had a white bathrobe made of polyester fleece that she wanted dyed another color. I looked into dyeing synthetic fabrics and found a product made by Rit called DyeMore. Synthetic fabrics don't grab onto the traditional Rit dye very well. DyeMore is supposed to be a solution for these fabrics. 

Grace wanted her white robe dyed camel-colored. DyeMore in Sandstone looked like it would produce the correct color. I read and followed the online directions precisely, including using a high-heat dye technique instead of using my washing machine for dyeing. 

I pre-washed the robe in warm, soapy water to remove the manufacturer's finish. Using my very largest stainless steel stockpot, I brought 3 gallons of water up to 200 degrees F, as instructed, before adding the contents of the well-shaken dye bottle. I then submerged the robe. I kept the dye bath on the stove over Medium heat the entire time, noting polyester requires longer than nylon and other synthetics. I stirred as instructed. Then  a little after an hour (the recommended time by the dye manufacturer), I drained the dye bath and robe into the washer and washed it in warm soapy water and dried.

While the robe took color well, it grabbed more of the yellow and less of the tan than I had expected. It turned out more of a creamy yellow than camel. Fortunately for me, Grace loves this color as much as she says she would have loved a camel-color. There was also an issue with the threads on one of the pockets dyeing more tan than yellow. I hope that fades. I also wonder how this fleece color will launder over time. I've had many dyed items fade significantly with numerous washings. I guess we'll find out.

I was reading online that it's a gamble when dyeing synthetic fabrics. You never know how true the color will dye. While I was disappointed the color wasn't what I thought it would be, I'm relieved that this satisfied my daughter. 

Have you tried dyeing synthetic fabrics? What's been your experience with using fabric dye?


  1. I have only dyed bedsheets once. It was bluish with a circle-like pattern and it had lost the blue due to some acne medicine my daughters used (scary she was using that on her face and it discolored her bedsheets and pillowcase!). I tried a Rit blue but I felt like the color would bleed into other items that were washed with it later on. I probably won't dye anything ever again just for the fear of the bleeding into other things.

    1. Hi Alice,
      oh, that's a shame, with the color bleeding. I've mostly dyed pastel tones, so if any item bled color, I don't think I'd notice. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  2. It's nice that Grace has a whole "new" bathrobe now. I have never dyed anything synthetic and have only died fabric once or twice many years ago. Do the instructions have you do something like add salt to set the colors better?

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I've seen salt used as a color fixative. Rit also sells a fixative to use with some types of fabrics.
      All of my other dyeing has been with cottons, so this was a first experience with a synthetic for me. I think the biggest drawback was that synthetics need to be dyed over heat, so I had to do this on the stove. That limited room for the robe to move around in the dye bath. I usually dye in the washing machine (lots of room to move clothing around).


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