Tested By Expert: Can You Dye Polyester Fabric Or Not

Can You Dye Polyester Fabric

Last Updated on January 27, 2024 by Wahid

Almost all clothing today contains polyester, which doesn’t react to most dyes as natural fibers do. You probably wonder how to dye polyester. Is polyester fabric safe to dye?

Actually, natural fabrics are easy to dye. It’s also fun. But can you dye polyester fabric?  Yes, it is possible to dye polyester, but it requires dispersed dyes & hot water from 200 to 266°F. Polyester and synthetic materials like nylon are dyed specifically with disperse dyes.

In addition, disperse dyes are not recommended for natural textiles. Hence, synthetic fabrics should be dyed only with this dye. The elements and mechanisms used in different fabrics vary. As a result, dyeing methods differ from fabric to fabric. Plus, polyester dyeing is also quite tricky.

However, you will find some useful information in this guide in order to restore your worn-out polyester clothes. You’ll learn how to dye polyester at home, which dyes are best for synthetic fabrics, and even how to tie-dye it! The information will help you achieve the results you want, so you should continue reading below.

People Often Ask Queries About

01. What is the Best Polyester Dye?

Answer: Today, synthetic materials are easily dyed with disperse dyes. In the past, dyeing polyester outside of factories was considered impossible, which makes your project a great opportunity! The most commonly used DIY disperse dyes are Rit DyeMore, iDye Poly, and KraftKolour.

02. When dyeing polyester, what dyes should be avoided?

Answer: Cold water dyes, sulfur dyes, reactive dyes, and vat dyes are not recommended for dyeing 100% polyester.

03. What happens if you use Rit dye on 100% polyester?

Answer: Polyester does not absorb Rit dye well, so you should use Rit DyeMore to successfully dye polyester. A washable fabric that contains synthetic fibers, such as polyester, acetate, and acrylic. In order to dye properly, synthetic materials need constant heat, which is best achieved by simmering them with dye on the stovetop.

04. What makes polyester hard to dye?

Answer: In general, polyester fibers retain little moisture & do not carry aqueous fluids. Polyester fibers are hydrophobic, so they are tricky to dye (they need a carrier) and aqueous finish.

05. Is there a way to keep dye on polyester?

Answer: In order to absorb dye, polyester must be heated or chemically treated. Hence, simmer your polyester fabrics over a high heat of at least 200°F in a dye bath. (Yes, you read it correctly. Basically, regular cold-water dyes won’t work on synthetic textiles).

Please Note: 

  1. Dying polyester requires the use of dispersed dyes & heated water at least 200°F. 
  2. Water-soluble dyes cannot be absorbed by polyester fibers because their molecules are hydrophobic. 
  3. Dye dispersions are only effective on synthetic fibers, such as nylon & polyester, and they won’t color natural fibers.

What Is Polyester Fabric Actually?

First, you need to know what polyester fabric is, before going to the key point. Polyester is made from polyethylene terephthalate. 

  • Polyester fabric is produced from this polyester. Oil is usually used to obtain it. 
  • It is a well-known material that is used all over the world. The product can be used by many customers and in many modern applications. 
  • Synthetically, polyester is a material made up of mixtures in the ester group.
  • Usually, synthetic and natural polyester strands are produced using ethylene, which can also be obtained from various sources. 
  • Although some forms of polyester are biodegradable, most are not, adding to global contamination when created or used.
  • Originally, polyester fiber was created by DuPont Corporation, a company that also created nylon and other engineered fibers. 
  • Polyester should also be dyed at the right temperature. 

Now let’s get to the point. Luckily, you’ll also find step by step instructions on dyeing polyester fabrics below.

Polyester Dyeing: Different Methods

Although polyester dyeing seems difficult, it can actually be done. In a few tricky steps, you can achieve this. Using acrylic paint, food coloring, Rit, coffee, and Dylon (special polyester coloring products), polyester fabrics can be dyed.

Verify whether you are dyeing polyester blends or 100% pure polyester. Depending on the fabric type, there are different methods to choose from. Well, let’s go below and pick your desired one.

Dyeing Polyester With “Rit DyeMore”: Step-By-Step Instructions

Dyeing Polyester With Rit DyeMore

The regular Rit dye won’t work on polyester. Use Rit DyeMore, a dispersed dye created especially for polyester fabrics.

Step 1: 

Firstly, you’ll need a kitchen scale to figure out how much dye you’ll need for your garment. A Rit DyeMore package can dye between 2 and 4 pounds of dry fabric.

Step 2:

After selecting a garment, wash it with soap & warm water, without using fabric softeners. By removing the finishes, dye absorption will be enhanced. Dyeing clothes with damp clothes is more effective than drying them.

Step 3:

Make sure you wear gloves. To prevent splattering, use a plastic sheet to cover the area around the stove. Alternatively, paper sheets can be used.

Step 4:

You will need a large container that will hold 11.36 liters or 3 gallons of water. Furthermore, make sure there is enough space to fit your garment and enough room to stir without overflowing.

Step 5:

Put the water into a pot and heat it until it reaches 180°F or a little higher. Depending on the weight of your garment, shake the paint bottle & pour in the dye. Start stirring after adding 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid.

Take a paper towel strip and test its color. To make it darker, add more dye, and to make it lighter, include more water.

Next, add the garments to the pot & stir for about 10 minutes. Then, allow it to rest for about 30 minutes to an hour.

Step 6:

Now, remove the garment from the pot. To rinse it, use warm water and gradually decrease the temperature of the water until it is clear.

Step 7:

Warm water & soap should be used to hand wash the clothing. Finally, let it air dry to achieve the best coloring results. 

Dyeing Polyester With “Dylon”: Step-By-Step Instructions

Dyeing Polyester With Dylon

Dylon does not offer disperse dyes. Thus, it’s not suitable for 100% polyester. Dylon is the only dye that can be used on polyester blends up to 50% polyester.

Step 1:

Firstly, weigh the garment to determine how many Dylon sachets you’ll need. To dye 250 grams of clothing in full shade, one sachet of Dylon Hand Fabric is needed.

Step 2:

Next, wash the garment with soapy water. Rather than drying it, leave it damp in order to dye it.

Step 3:

Simply fill a bowl with water according to the ratio of water: 2 ¼ cups & table salt: 5 tablespoons for each sachet.

Step 4:

Until the dye is completely dissolved, keep stirring.

Step 5:

Now, drop the garment into the bowl. Submerge and stir it with a metal spoon for 60 minutes. Stir continuously for 15 minutes, then periodically for 45 minutes.

Step 6:

Put on gloves and take the garment out of the dye bath. Now, use cold water to rinse it, and keep going until it’s clear.

Step 7:

The garment should be washed in warm water or in the warm cycle of your washing machine. Finally, allow the item to air dry.

Dyeing Polyester With “Food Coloring”: Step-By-Step Instructions

Dyeing Polyester With Food Coloring

Polyester cannot absorb water-soluble dyes, so food coloring can’t dye polyester for long. All polyester blends can be dyed temporarily with food coloring.

Step 1:

First, choose the fabric you want to dye. For this method, use a polyester blend. If not, water or any liquid will soon cause your newly dyed polyester to lose its color.

Step 2:

Prepare all the supplies, including food colors, water, garments, a large bowl, & white vinegar. Protect your work table from splatters by laying down a sheet.

Step 3:

Using a 1:1 ratio, pour white vinegar and water into your bowl. Mix thoroughly. To measure precisely, use a measuring cup to combine water & vinegar. Into it, put the fabric.

Step 4:

Now, allow the mixture to soak the garment properly. The garment should be removed and squeezed gently after 30 minutes.

Step 5:

Next, based on the fabric, dye it with food colors. Approximately 10 to 15 drops, add them to water; approximately 700 to 950 ml. Then, place the garment in the bowl after it has been squeezed out.  

Step 6:

Now, to achieve new colors, you can add 2 or more colors to your clothes.

Step 7:

Be sure to submerge your outfit completely. Mix it up every few minutes with a big spoon or by hand with gloves. The water will turn clearer after about 10 to 20 minutes. Basically, it means the fabric is absorbing color.

Step 8:

When it has soaked properly, squeeze the garment out of the mixture. Then, seal it with plastic wrap for 8 hours or longer for vibrant colors.

Dyeing Polyester With “Acrylic Paint”: Step-By-Step Instructions

Dyeing Polyester With Acrylic Paint

Dyeing synthetic fabrics such as polyester with acrylic paint is much better than other options. Acrylic paint must be free of solvents if you want to achieve the best results. Fabric properties can be damaged by chemical solvents.

Step 1:

Acrylic paints are usually water-based. Therefore, oil-based and fabric paints are less suitable for dyeing polyester fabrics. Select the acrylic paint of your choice.

Step 2:

Making sure the fabric is dirt-free is essential. Use the same method that you used to clean the polyester fabric. If the fabric is dirty or dusty after dyeing, the paint will peel off very quickly.

Step 3:

The acrylic paint should be mixed with fabric medium. By thinning the paint & preventing cracks during drying, it helps prevent cracks.

Step 4:

Thin the acrylic paint and soak the fabric in it. When you see that the paint has been absorbed properly, bring it out. Allow the fabric to dry.

Step 5:

When you touch it, you should feel a smooth finish. It is worth noting that acrylic markers can also be found. For detailed work on polyester fabrics, these markers are perfect.

Dyeing Polyester With “Coffee”: Step-By-Step Instructions

Dyeing Polyester With Coffee

Using natural colors on synthetic fabrics won’t work. Polyester fabric can’t be dyed with coffee, as many people have tried. This is because polyester cannot absorb coffee properly. However, this can occasionally be temporary, as they can achieve brown coloration or tan.

Step 1:

Get some water ready in a pot. Add black coffee to the water and let it simmer for at least 60 minutes or more.

Step 2:

To dye polyester fabric with coffee, choose white fabric (avoid colors other than white). Make sure the water is boiled before placing the fabric in it. 1 hour later, you will notice a slight brown hue.

Step 3:

Make sure the fabric is dry. This polyester should be used occasionally. Normally, the brown shade comes out during a fast wash.

Dyeing Polyester In “Washing Machine”: Step-By-Step Instructions

Dyeing Polyester In Washing Machine

Polyester fabric dyeing requires high temperatures. With a washing machine, it’s impossible. To achieve this, you will need some specially designed machine dyes.

Step 1:

Once your garment is dry, weigh it. 1 pack of Dylon Machine Dye dyes can dye 600g of fabric. Separate your clothes if the weight exceeds that.

Step 2:

Make sure the garment is clean by wetting it. In the washing machine, place the damp garment. Unwrap the washing machine dye pod, remove the lid, and place it on the clothing.

Step 3:

Let the garment run through 1 full cycle. Ideally, the temperature should be between 30 and 40 degrees Celsius.

Step 4: 

Then run the cycle again using regular detergent, maintaining the same temperature. Once the cycle is complete, take out the garment and clean the machine by running an empty cycle using detergent.

Step 5:

Make sure the garment is air-dried on a drying rack. You shouldn’t expose it to direct sunlight, & make sure you shake the folds to ensure a smooth, even color.

“Tie Dye” Polyester: Step-By-Step Instructions

Tie Dye Polyester

Tie-dying with polyester blends produces better results than with pure polyester. Also, specific dyes are available for tie-dying, such as iDye Poly, Rit DyeMore, and KraftKolour.

Step 1:

Tying-dyeing your fabrics is possible, but you need specific dyes. When dyeing man-made fabrics, disperse dyes are best. Dyes of this type are nonionic and limited in solubility. In these dyes, atoms are closely bound together by a chemical bond. Nevertheless, you need to select your polyester fabric’s dispersed dye first.

Step 2:

Make sure the fabric is properly cleaned. Dirt, oil, and grease should be removed. When dust is present in fabrics, the color will not be absorbed. So, make sure the fabric is clean before dying it.

Step 3:

To ensure proper color absorption, polyester fabrics require higher temperatures. Therefore, the water needs to be boiled. Adding dispersing tie-dye to the dye mixture as needed. In order to help dye penetrate into the fabric, try adding a color intensifier.

Step 4:

Now you can tie-dye the polyester as desired. Whenever you don’t want to paint an area, tie it with a string or rubber band. Add polyester material to the mixture and soak it.

Step 5:

Once the dye has completely absorbed into the fabric, put it in a plastic bag and seal it. Then keep it at room temperature of at least 70 degrees for 4 hours. Basically, increasing the storage time will result in a darker hue.

Step 6:

When the dye has cured, untie the fabric. Rinse it with warm water. After that, wash thoroughly under hot water. Using a pH-neutral detergent such as Synthrapol will eliminate unwanted dye from polyester fabric.

Dyeing Polyester With “Disperse Dyes”: Step-By-Step Instructions

Dyeing Polyester With Disperse Dyes

Disperse dyes are fine powders suspended in liquids. Colorants made from water-based or acid-based pigments do not dissolve in liquids. Instead, synthetic fibers are opened up by heat to allow the dye bath pigments to penetrate.

  • Manufacturers color polyester permanently with disperse dyes. Fortunately, these products can also be used at home, in much smaller quantities!
  • In today’s DIY market, Rit is the most recognized brand supplying disperse dyes. This brand is available on Amazon and in most local art & craft stores. 
  • Nevertheless, make sure you check the label or product description carefully before purchasing disperse dyes and not Rit’s water-soluble versions!
  • Considering that you probably don’t own a complete factory set at home, prep the item beforehand by washing and pre-treating it.
  • It is also necessary to heat up the item that you wish to color. In most households, a large metal pot is used for cooking on the stovetop.

Dyeing Polyester With “Sharpie”: Step-By-Step Instructions

Dyeing Polyester With Sharpie
  • In order to get good results, you will need to use the sharpie on a polyester material. 
  • When using sharpies to cover mistakes or stains, people have only reached about 90% effectiveness.
  • According to other users, Sharpie ink lasts on polyester for a long time and won’t wash off. 
  • It is important to remember that you cannot color an entire shirt, pants, or jacket using a Sharpie. 
  • In addition, it can be used to color spots on clothing or purses to avoid ruining them.

Dyeing Polyester With “Turmeric”: Step-By-Step Instructions

Dyeing Polyester With Turmeric
  • Though some may get better results, generally, turmeric does not adhere to polyester. 
  • Normally, natural dyes & products don’t adhere to clothing permanently. 
  • When you wash them in the washer, they are washed out.
  • When dyeing turmeric to bring out the gold or yellow color of natural fibers, use dyes made specifically for them. 
  • The colors can be combined, so you can find a yellow color that matches your room’s furnishings.
  • Choosing the right polyester material is the key to getting the right color.

How To Dye Polyester “Black”: Step-By-Step Instructions

How To Dye Polyester Black
  • Disperse dyes made for fabrics are the most effective way to obtain polyester black.
  • Synthetic fibers are not dyed with normal dyes, they require dyes that are designed to handle their chemical composition.
  • Luckily, you can see Rit Dye’s color options online. After that, you simply need to adhere to the instructions. 
  • To achieve satisfactory results, polyester dyes require hot dye baths.
  • Occasionally, you might find one that works in the washer, but it’s rare. 
  • First, heat your water, pour in your dye, and add your fabric afterward. 
  • Finally, slowly stir for roughly 30 minutes or until the desired color is achieved.

How To Dye Polyester “Lighter”: Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Color removers or dye removers are necessary when dyeing polyester or any other fabric lighter. 
  • The color may not disappear completely even after 2 packs are used.
  • By using dye remover, you may be able to lighten the color, resulting in the desired color for the fabric. 
  • Colors that are darker cannot be covered by dye because dyes are transparent.
  • As polyester is a difficult fabric to dye, this process is not guaranteed to work. 
  • If you want the new dye color to cover the old dye color, you may have to use more than 2 packs of dye remover.

What Is The Most Difficult Fabric To Dye?

  • All fabrics are not produced equally. Linen and cotton are both natural fibers. Water can easily enter their elements due to their inner composition.
  • After coloring these fabrics, the colors set in quickly and efficiently, giving you the desired results. Cotton shirts can be used to test the dyeing process quickly.
  • The same isn’t true for polyester fabrics. Polyester contains 2 vital elements, including crude oil and plastic that were previously transformed into flexible & light fibers.
  • Water can’t get into polyester fibers because of its hydrophobic qualities. Dying polyester is relatively harder than dyeing other fabrics because of these things.

Can You Dye Polyester Fabric: 100% Polyester?

Obviously, there’s a big difference between polyester blends & 100% polyester. Basically, polyester blend means there are other fibers mixed in with polyester, which reduces some of its qualities. 

  1. Thus, the material can carry aqueous fluids and hold moisture. Consequently, polyester blends are easier to dye than pure polyester.
  2. Alternatively, 100% polyester is fluid-resistant and does not contain a lot of moisture. The hydrophobic and oleophilic nature of these compounds makes their fluid-transporting capabilities very weak. 
  3. Therefore, dyeing polyester clothes becomes challenging, but it is not impossible. Several dyeing methods can be used for 100% pure polyester, as described above.


01. Is Polyester Dye Toxic?

Answer: The answer is “YES,” if you’re referring to the original dye color. Globally, workers report high rates of cancer & lung disease from the chemicals used in polyester production.

If you accidentally breathe in any powdered dyes, stay away from inhaling them. The eyes, lungs, & internal organs should be protected with safety equipment.

After coming into contact with the dye, thoroughly wash everything. Being safe is always better than being sorry. Make sure the dye is non-toxic by checking the label.

02. Why is Polyester a difficult fabric to dye?

Answer: The polyester fabric is synthetic, which makes dyeing it in a non-industrial setting difficult. All-purpose dyes can’t be used to dye synthetic fabrics such as cotton, wool, linen, or silk. In water, polyester fibers don’t swell and are not very absorbent. The dye doesn’t absorb easily, so achieving even color is difficult. Dyeing synthetic fabrics requires highly specialized dyes. No other option would do. Not all shops carry them. Therefore, that is a challenge.

03. Can You Tie Dye Polyester?

Answer: Dyeing polyester can also cause problems. Generally, tie-dyeing requires a special technique and isn’t easy. Fabric dye easily absorbs into natural fabrics. Thus, cotton and rayon are much easier to tie-dye.

In contrast, polyester is very poor at absorbing moisture. Whenever you dye polyester, the hue is subdued and not what you expected. However, polyester items can be tie-dyed in a few different ways.

04. How to wash dyed polyester?

Answer: When you use dye specially formulated for synthetic fabrics, this question will not arise. When you wish to remove it, it will be almost impossible without damaging your material with bleach or other chemicals. Disperse dye colors are ineffective even against bleach. A low-quality disperse dye may cause the color to fade or run rapidly.

05. How do you permanently dye polyester?

Answer: Using disperse dyes & water heated to a minimum of 200°F is required for dyeing polyester. Polyester fiber molecules have hydrophobic properties, making them resistant to dyes that are water-soluble. Dye dispersions are only effective on synthetic fibers, like polyester & nylon, but not on natural fibers.

In Conclusion

Finally, you already know whether can you dye polyester fabric or not. Actually, you can turn a difficult process into fun. If you follow the above-mentioned directions, you should not experience any weird dyeing effects on polyester fabrics.

When dyeing polyester, make sure you select disperse dyes because other dyes won’t work well. Additionally, prevent unwanted things from happening by taking precautions. Polyester dyeing is cumbersome and involves foul-smelling chemicals in many dye recipes, as you have already discovered.

When you are successful, dyeing your favorite polyester gadgets can save you a lot of money. Hence, I hope that you’ve read the entire article and have a good understanding of how to dye polyester fabric at home.