How to set jean dye

A new pair of jeans or other denim garment with a dark wash often fades a bit with washing. During the first wash, denim that bleeds can cause dye transfer stains on other clothes. Jean dye that's not set can also rub off on furniture upholstery and other surfaces. To avoid both faded denim garments and dye transfer stains, use supplies found around the home and the proper techniques to set the jean dye.

Place your jeans or denim garment in a bucket. Pour 711 ml (3 cups) white vinegar, or more if needed, over the garment. Soak the jeans for 15 minutes to prevent the denim dye from bleeding in the wash.

Turn your jeans inside out and place them in the wash.

Wash the jeans with washing powder and add 237 ml (1 cup) white vinegar to the wash cycle to keep the dye from running.

Dry the jeans by hanging them on a drying rack out of direct sunlight. Using the dryer repeatedly can cause colours to fade.


Add 237 ml (1 cup) vinegar to the rinse cycle, instead of the wash cycle, to preserve denim colour. Bring jeans and denim clothing to the dry cleaner for cleaning to preserve colour. Avoid washing jeans every time you wear them. Instead, hang them outdoors to freshen them and wear them another time or two before you launder them.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • White vinegar
  • Washing powder
  • Drying rack
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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.