Black Jeans Problems
  • First off, I have noticed that black jeans are way smellier than they used to be as far as the formaldehyde they use on them. I returned some to the store because after many washes and soaking in vinegar, the smell just wouldn't go away.

    Then the second group I bought I tried washing in OxiClean (non-chlorine) per instructions, and they ended up with light streaking over all the pairs of jeans. Almost like an acid wash, but it's not the 1990's anymore, so this isn't good.

    So now I have to re-dye them and am a little confused by the instructions here on the website.

    I have the MX 150 Jet Black Dye and 1# of soda ash.

    Can jeans be dyed in the tie-dye manner, ie: by spraying the dye on, or do they need to be immersion dyed?

    If I immersion dye them, do I absolutely need the salt?
  • Can jeans be dyed in the tie-dye manner, ie: by spraying the dye on, or do they need to be immersion dyed?

    I would go with immersion dying, to get a more even overall color. But it the jeans have light streaks, I don't think immersion dying will cover that up. Keep the fabric moving, in the dye bath, to avoid the dye building up in one spot.

    If I immersion dye them, do I absolutely need the salt?

    Salt helps push/force the dye onto the fabric.

    Have you look into iPoly, I think this is the best option for dying jeans. I'm new just wanted to share what little I know.

  • Thanks for the reply.

    I already have the 8oz jar of dye, since I need to do 5 pairs, I may need to get more soda ash, plus the salt.

    I'm thinking, since they say to dye in "warm" water, that I can reuse the same bucket for each pair of jeans if I put the bucket into a bathtub full of hot water each time.
  • ArPharazon

    The fabric needs space to move around in the bucket. Test by adding jeans to the bucket, check movement and water level, make sure that stirring the dye bath, doesn't lead to splashes.

    I place my bucket in the tub when doing immersion dying, to keep the splashes from ruining anything.

    The first 15 minutes in the dye bath is the most important part. This is where you want to keep the movement consistent. You'll need to get to the jeans at the bottom, if one pair sits to long, it will have darker spots. The soda ash causes the dye to react/bond with the fabric. So reusing the dye bath after isn't going to work.


    You should practice, with a few t-shirt to get the process down. Get a pair of long dishwashing gloves to keep dye of your hands. Use non iodized salt. Yes you'll need more soda ash and salt. Pick more dye! You should use 4 teaspoons for 2 jeans, I don't think you'll get more then 2 in a 5 gallon bucket.
  • Salt really helps the dye penetrate in to the fabric, so I do recommend especially for black. The non-iodized salt I have found isn't really that important. I have done lots of tests and can never tell the difference between using non-iodized or regular iodized salt. I think the effect has been overblown.

    I have found that for Jet black procion dye you basically want 2x the amount of dye of any other color. It just is the best way to get the black really black. 2 talbespoons per lb of fabric is a good rule of thumb for Jet Black. Also, Jet black is one of the few procion colors that actually likes heat. It does not hurt to use hot water from the tap rather than cold. Hot water is not always good for procion, but Jet Black likes it!

    Great suggestions Lightsubscriber!

  • I just got around to getting the salt today, and should have enough ash for at least 1 bucket's worth.

    I'll try to do a couple pairs over the weekend.
  • OK, using the recommended amounts of ingredients in each of two buckets, the first 2 pairs came out beautifully.
    With some leftover soda ash, I was able to reuse each bucket for another 2 pairs. They came beautifully too.
    I tried putting a fifth pair in after all that (with no more soda ash) and they showed some improvement, but I'll probably get more soda ash & salt and try those again in a week or two.

    Thanks again for all the help on this. I'm glad I found a product that actually works, as opposed to that garbage WalMart sells. Anything good can only be found on the internet anymore I guess.
  • great news. The best part of Procion dye is that it won't fade as much and won't wash out like other black dyes can. It should look great for a long time.
  • ArPharazon,

    Thanks for the update, I have 2 black jeans headed for a dye bath soon!!