How To Set Your Tie-dye After Dyeing (Solved)

How long does tie-dye need to set?

Let the dye set for 8 hours in a warm room. The dye needs time to react as part of the tie-dye process. This process transfers color from the dye to the fabric.

The color needs time in order to form a permanent bond with fibers from the garment. Rinsing the shirt immediately after dyeing will result in faded colors.

Curing (hours)Temperature (°F)Temperature (°C)
2165513
726015
246518
87021
48027
29035

What to do after the dye has set?

You have waited the appropriate amount of time. Take your shirt to the sink and rinse it out under cold water. Remove as much excess dye as possible.

Continue rinsing every nook and cranny of the shirt until the water runs clear. Cold wash the shirt in the washing machine and tumble dry. Make sure to properly wash and care for your tie-dye.

How to speed up the curing process?

Place the dyed shirt in a warm room. The heat increases the reaction speed of the dye. An ambient temperature of 80°F will set the dye in about four hours. Putting the shirt outside in the sun will set the dye in one afternoon.

Can I heat set in the microwave?

Yes, it is possible to set the dye in the microwave. First, make sure the shirt is wet. Wrap the shirt in plastic. Seal the edges to trap in the steam. Microwave for 1 minute bursts at a time. Microwave the shirt for 2-3 minutes total. Let the shirt cool down for 10 minutes before rinsing.

Can I heat set tie-dye in the dryer?

Technically, yes, but this is too messy to be a viable solution. It can be possible if your dryer has a function that prevents spinning. Tumbling a wet tie-dye shirt can leave dye in your machine.

Can you let tie-dye sit too long?

Yes, waiting more than 24 hours after dyeing may result in dark patches of color. Waiting too long may cause the shirt to dry up. A dry shirt can result in uneven coloration. When the shirt dries up it creates problems in the form of over-saturated blemishes.

How to prevent the shirt from drying up?

Place the folded and dyed shirt in a plastic bag. This will trap in the humidity, preventing the fabric from drying up. The dye will still take the same amount of time to set as normal. Wait at least 8 hours at room temperature. Wrapping the shirt is not necessary in normal conditions, but is helpful for dry climates.

What helps set tie-dye?

Heat alone can help you fix the dye. Increase the ambient temperature or place the shirt in a hot spot of the house. Homemade recipes of vinegar or salt are not gonna help.

Does vinegar help set tie-dye?

No, vinegar does nothing to help set dye in cotton. It will not make the dye react faster. It will not make the dye more resistant to fading.

Does salt help set tie-dye?

No, salt does nothing to help set dye in cotton. It will not make the dye react faster. It will not make the dye more resistant to fading.

Why is my tie-dye washing out?

You have followed every step and you still obtain bad results. This is most often due to forgetting the dye activator. The dye needs its activator in order to react at all. You can read more about it on our post about the most common mistakes to avoid.