How to Set Tie Dye Shirts

Written by kathryn hatter
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How to Set Tie Dye Shirts
Set tie-dye shirts to ensure the colours won't fade. (tie-dyed shirts image by Jim Parkin from

After choosing your colours and creating a design on a T-shirt, prevent it from fading or becoming dingy by setting the dye. Performing a final step will set the dye and make it permanent in the fibres of the shirt. Skipping this last step may be tempting, but your bright tie dye pattern will not last as long or stay vibrant on your T-shirt.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Gallon-size plastic bag (zipper style)
  • 1 tbsp dishwashing detergent

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  1. 1

    Wrap the freshly tie-dyed shirt in paper towels and place the wrapped shirt into the plastic bag.

  2. 2

    Squeeze the excess air from the plastic bag and seal the bag.

  3. 3

    Set the bag aside for 24 hours. If you allow more than 24 hours to elapse, the edges of your tie-dye colours may blur slightly.

  4. 4

    Open the bag after the 24 hours elapses and take the shirt out of the bag. Remove the paper towels surrounding the T-shirt and discard them.

  5. 5

    Fill a sink with hot water and add 1 tbsp of dishwashing detergent to the hot water. Swirl the water around to make bubbles appear.

  6. 6

    Put the shirt in the water and hand wash it thoroughly. You will see dye come off the shirt in the water as you wash it.

  7. 7

    Rinse the shirt in hot water until the water runs clear and no additional dyes come off the T-shirt.

  8. 8

    Place the T-shirt into the dryer. Set the dryer to a hot setting and dry the shirt completely.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear rubber gloves throughout the entire tie-dying process and the final setting process to protect your hands from the dyes.

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