dying slipcovers
  • I have a couch slipcover, a fake suede polyester I think, that is now a medium purple that I want black. I'd like to do it in the washing machine, but don't know which dye to use or how much, since I'm sure a full slipcover is more than a couple of pounds.
  • Hi Deb,
    Thanks for writing in.
    The first thing you'll want to do is determine exactly what sort of fabric the slipcover is made from. This will decide which dye or dyes are appropriate for the job. If the slipcover is in fact polyester you'll need to use iDye Poly. This will also inform how you will need to dye the fabric. Polyester is one of the more difficult fabrics to dye unless you use very hot (boiling) water. That makes machine dyeing difficult at best. The video at this link (while a bit silly) will offer an alternative that is good for dyeing large pieces of fabric:

    Once you've determined the type of fabric drop us a note and we'll be happy to discuss specific dye methods for your project.
    Also, for your perusal, the instructions for iDye Poly are here: http://www.jacquardproducts.com/assets/jacquard-site/product-pages/dyes/idye/iDye Poly Instructions.pdf
    I look forward to hearing from you.
  • Dear Annette, Thanks so much for getting back to me so fast. The fabric is 100% poly faux suede. Each (of 2) slipcover is too big to do in anything smaller than the washing machine. Since I'm starting with a medium purple going to black, will that help the dye take darker? What if I use additional packets, will it dye darker then? What if I added a gallon or two of boiling water to the machine's hottest setting? Or turned my water heater up as high as it will go? And if you do have a solution for me, should I use a fixative? Sorry for all the questions, but I appreciate your answers. Deb
  • Hi Deb,

    All the points you list are well made. Yes, it does help that you are starting with the medium purple, and adding the boiling water and/or turning up the temp on your water heater will help. It will also help to extend the time on the cycle you are using for dyeing and be sure to use the intensifier packet that comes with the dye. None of this is optimal, polyester really is a bit of a stinker to dye and the stove top method is the best way to go, but these will help.
    I'd also recommend pre-dissolving the dye in very hot water, adding that to the full washer and then adding the wetted fabric to the wash tub.
    If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to contact us!

  • One more question: how many dye packets and intensifier packets would you add to the water, and should I use a water level that's the highest or the next highest, that barely covers the fabric when not aggitating?
  • Hi Deb,

    The amount of dye depends on the weight of fabric. One packet will usually do 2 - 3 lbs of fabric. Because you are working with less than optimal conditions I'd recommend going a bit heavy on the dye. One way I figure out the weight of a large piece of fabric is to stand on my bathroom scale with and then without the fabric in hand. The difference gives me a fairly good idea of the weight of fabric. My (wild/educated) guess is that you are working with about 4 or 5 lbs of fabric per slip cover if they are for a full sized couch so you'll want two packets of dye per slipcover. The intensifier packet comes with the dye.
    Water level should be enough that it allows the fabric to agitate freely and covers the fabric completely.
    Again, don't hesitate to ask for more help.