My $3 Secret Potion for Getting Faded Dark Jeans Back to Black in 30 Minutes

updated Sep 21, 2022
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Credit: Ashley Poskin/Apartment Therapy

How do I get my faded jeans back to their darkest shade of black? Well, I wait for a full moon, then I gather the ashes from all the hearths in our home, then…Actually, all you need is to dye your jeans black(er) is a little $3 bottle of Rit dye, rubber gloves, a bucket, and some super hot water to get those jeans back to black.

Even if your jeans don’t look all that faded, a black dye bath helps fill in worn areas (usually found around the seams and pockets), making them look new again in just 30 minutes.

The process can get a little messy, so it’s best to have access to a utility sink or a non-white porcelain sink. The dollar store is a great place to pick up your supplies (with the exception of the dye) because you don’t want to use anything that you’ll need for food prep later.

Credit: Ashley Poskin/Apartment Therapy

What You Need:

Credit: Ashley Poskin/Apartment Therapy

Step 1: Fill a Pot With Hot Water and Dye

Fill a large pot with very hot water (not quite boiling), enough to fully submerge the jeans, and carefully empty the contents of the bottle of dye. 

Credit: Ashley Poskin/Apartment Therapy

Step 2: Add salt

Add a ½ cup of salt and stir until dissolved. (Or follow the directions on the bottle if you’re using dye fixative.)

Credit: Ashley Poskin/Apartment Therapy

Step 3: Dip your jeans into the dye

Slowly dip the jeans into the pot, letting them absorb the water. Gently swirl the pants around in the pot, so the dye is evenly distributed.

Credit: Ashley Poskin/Apartment Therapy

Step 4: Soak for 30 minutes

Let the jeans soak for up to 30 minutes, lift them from the water, and carefully wring out as much excess liquid as possible. 

Hot tip: Don’t waste that dye bath! There should be quite a bit leftover, so run around the house while you’re soaking the jeans and find smaller items to drop in like black t-shirts, socks, underwear—you name it!

Step 5: Rinse in cool water

Transfer to an empty pot or plastic bin, and carry to the sink (a utility sink, if possible!) to remove any excess dye. Wash the jeans in cool water, kneading and wringing them out until the water runs clean.  

Step 6: Wash with detergent

Wash in cold water on gentle cycle with a small amount of liquid laundry detergent, and lay flat to dry. Continue to care for your jeans using these helpful tips and they’ll keep their color longer! (link to previous article)