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How to dye a cashmere sweater with Rit

Simply the name “cashmere” carries with is an air of luxury and delicateness. For years this has led people to only dry clean their cashmere and avoid any kind of hands-on care at home. It’s true, cashmere is soft and supple, but it’s surprisingly robust when it comes to washing. Even if yours says “dry clean only” chances are it will be fine in a washing machine and hand washing. You just have to be careful with it and then dry it properly. Should you want to dye your sweater using the home-dyeing stalwart Rit, use the following method.

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Hand dying

  1. Weigh your sweater because this determines how much dye and water you should use. About 450 grams (a pound) of clothing will require one 32 gram (one ounce) packet of Rit powder, or half a bottle of liquid dye, and 14 litres (three gallons) of warm water.

  2. Get a bucket large enough to hold the volume of water you need plus your sweater. Put the dye in a small amount of warm water and then add this, plus the rest of the warm water to the bucket. (Although you may be advised to use hot water, there is a danger the cashmere could shrink. Although warm water will not dye as strongly as hot water, you can always go back and dye again should you need to.)

  3. Soak your sweater in clean warm water and then place it in the bucket with the dye. Stir your sweater in the bucket with a stick for between 10 minutes and half and hour.

  4. Rinse your sweater until the water runs clear. Start with warm water and use gradually cooler and cooler water for each rinse. Then hand or machine wash your sweater on a delicate cycle, using only non-biological detergent. While the sweater in is the wash you should clean your bucket out with bleach to prevent staining.

  5. Lay your cashmere sweater flat to dry. You should always dry cashmere in this way to prevent stretching.

  6. Tip

    Wear gloves to avoid staining your hands.


    Be careful you don't let the dye come into contact with other clothing.

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Things You'll Need

  • Rit dye - either powder or liquid
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Stick
  • Measuring jug
  • Weighing scales


About the Author

Robert Macintosh is a full-time journalist based in Northern Ireland. He has accumulated eight years’ experience since 2005, writing for magazines, newspapers and websites in various countries. Macintosh has specialised in politics and entertainment. He has an honours degree in social anthropology, an NVQ level 4 in newspaper journalism and an AS Level in photography.

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