How to Wash Dyed Clothes and Take Care of Them

At the end of the day, Mother (Nature) knows best, and the best is knowing how to gently care for your handmade, naturally dyed garments

As fashion consumers, we are constantly bombarded by new glamourous trends. From shoulder pads to low-rise jeans and scrunchies, every trend has its rightful moment in the limelight.

And while I was admittedly always a fan of the hippie tie-dye era, I later discovered that this deep love of intricately dyed garments would later translate into me becoming a true advocate for sustainable, naturally dyed clothing.

The life that I have so intentionally created for myself is a testament that loving fashion does not have to come at the cost of human lives or the environment. And it’s a reality that I would love for you to embrace too.

Unlike fast fashion, which threatens the very lifeline of our planet, naturally dyed clothes are the most sacred design ritual. These garments are beautiful and most importantly harmless.

Always remember that we are in constant communication with Nature. And the greatest expression of love to Mother Earth is not only learning how to naturally dye garments but learning how to wash dyed clothes – safely and intentionally.

An important reminder before you learn how to wash dyed clothes

Before you embark on discovering how to wash dyed clothes, it is important that you remember that natural dyes are living colours. These botanical dyes are delightfully cheerful and enduring and, if handled with care, will last a long time.

As best practice, I always like to remind my natural dyeing community that the key to retaining the vibrancy of your dyed garments lies in how you dyed them.

Always remember to prepare your fabrics before you begin dyeing them and always choose the best dye stuff to ensure long-lasting colours. If you need additional guidance here, please feel free to read my blog on mordants and how to naturally dye your clothes.

Giving your naturally dyed garments a handwash vs a washing machine

If you have been graced with the luxury of time, then I would suggest gently handwashing your naturally dyed garments. It truly is the best way to care for both the fabrics and the dyes.

That being said, washing your dyed garments should never feel like a burden.

If handwashing your clothing is not an option, do not despair. Natural dyes can handle a cool delicate wash cycle in your machine. I recommend keeping the water temperature no more than 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) for the best results.

How to wash dyed clothes: 

Use a mild, pH-neutral soap

As I mentioned before, your plant-based dyes are living colours, which means that they have a lifeform of their own and will change over time. Natural dyes are also incredibly reactive to any changes in pH. And so, if you are looking to retain the original magical shades and hues you created during your dyeing process, you will need a pH-neutral soap.

Avoid strongly scented fabric softeners

Turns out that it isn’t just your washing powders that have the ability to change the natural pH of your garments – so do your fabric softeners. Using chemicals in your washing process will strip your clothes of their vibrancy, so try to opt for organic or natural options that are gentle – not only on your dyed clothes but on the planet. One garment, two wins – we love it!

Do not dry your clothes in direct sunlight

I know that basking in the glorious sunlight is a favourite pastime for human beings; however, it can be incredibly harmful. Like with our skin, harsh and direct sunlight can be damaging to any surface.

Intentionally protect your creativity and artistic flair by keeping your dyed garments away from direct sunlight exposure. Instead, hang them in a shaded spot, and you will immediately notice as your garments thank you for it.

Allowing your naturally dyed clothes to gently dry outside in the shade means that they will not run the risk of being accidentally bleached too.

Do not over-wash your naturally dyed clothes

If you have embraced a greener lifestyle, then this step in the ‘how to wash your dyed clothing’ process won’t come as much of a surprise. As mindful beings, remain aware of how often you are washing your clothes in order to preserve water.

Always ask yourself if you can get another wear out of that garment before you banish it to your laundry basket. While your natural dyes are resilient and robust, minimising washes is not only a great way to retain the colour of your clothes but best practice for minimising your water consumption levels.

Observe your naturally dyed garments after each wash

Observe and react to how they engage with each wash cycle. The advice I have shared with you all stems from my own personal experiences.

However, in the same way that the shades of our natural dyes will differ, so will our lived experiences with them.

Learn more about sustainable fashion and natural dyeing

This is where our slow fashion community gathers to reconnect with the Land. From natural dyeing workshops and courses to natural dye services and post-dyeing care, this is where we preserve the wonders of our Earth.

Join me as we take the necessary steps needed to heal our fashion industry and champion eco-friendly, natural fashion.

If you would like further guidance in your journey towards sustainable fashion, please feel free to join our online natural dyeing course. Happy creating!