Can You Dye Bedding?

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Dye bedding subtle colors for a sophisticated look.

Whether you like bedding the calming color of a soft blue sky or the vibrant yellow of a cluster of daffodils, sleep on bedclothes uniquely tailored to your style by dyeing them yourself. Create a coordinated bedding set by choosing just one color, or mix and match colors to represent your favorite color combination.


Bedding that contains cotton, linen or polyester is the best candidate for receiving and holding dye. Cotton or linen bedding absorbs the full intensity of the dye, and polyester or polyester blends usually achieve a lighter shade of the dye's color. Silk bedding requires a specialty dye, often called hand fabric dye. Most 100-percent synthetic materials will not accept dyes available from craft stores or drugstores.


The original color of the bedding influences the dyed color. Basic color theory shows that red plus blue yields purple, blue plus yellow gives green, and yellow plus red results in orange. The shades of these colors vary with the intensity of the original color of the bedding. For example, red dye applied to pale yellow bedding results in a red color with a hint of orange. Use a pre-dye solution to remove the color from the bedding, especially if it is faded or patchy. This results in an even, neutral end color and fully absorbed dye. Bedding cannot be dyed white. Also, any raised pattern on the bedding absorbs the dye differently than a flat, woven area.

How to Dye

Dye bedding safely and easily in your washing machine, with a dye designed for this application. For a sheet and two pillow cases, use the medium load setting on your washing machine; choose the large load setting for a bedspread or duvet cover. Add the necessary amount of pre-dissolved dye for the weight of the bedding--a double sheet set weighs about 1.5 pounds, and a double-sided duvet cover weighs 2.5 pounds. Wet the bedding and place it in the machine. Choose a wash cycle that allows the bedding to be submerged in the dye for at least 30 minutes. Repeat the rinse cycle until the water runs clear and the bedding doesn't release any dye.


Clean your washing machine by running an empty wash cycle of hot water, set to the largest load setting. Add detergent and 1 cup of chlorine bleach at the start of the wash cycle. Clean the lint traps of the washing machine.


Christina Ash

Christina Ash has been writing since 1982, throughout her career as a computer consultant, anthropologist and small-business owner. She has published work in various business, technology, academia and popular books and journals. Ash has degrees in computer science, anthropology and science and technology studies from universities in England, Canada and the United States.