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If you have an old, faded pair of black pants, or if you recently purchased a pair of black pants only to find them quickly fading as dull as some of your old black pants, there is hope. Making black pants black again is possible, and it only takes a few hours. Purchase some black fabric dye, found in the laundry aisle of your local grocery store, in powder or liquid form.
How well your pants absorb dye depends on their fiber content. If your pants are made of cotton, they should dye very well. A care label may list the fiber content as a percentage, and the higher the percentage, the better the pants will dye. Polyester or rayon pants will not dye as well, but pants made of these materials probably won't fade anyway. Cotton -- a natural fiber -- fades, while synthetics do not.
Time to start dying your pants. Set your washing machine to the longest washing cycle, 12 to 15 minutes for most machines, and select the hottest water safe for your fabric. If you are unsure, warm water is probably the best choice. Let the washing machine fill all the way and then stop it. Wet your pants, remove them from the water and add the dye to the water in the machine. The amount of dye to used depends on the weight of the clothing to be dyed. Check the dye product label for the correct amount to use.
Dying the Pants
The pants need to be in the dye bath for approximately 30 minutes. Reset the washing machine after the first washing cycle, before the rinse cycle begins, and let the pants soak in the water for another 12 to 15 minutes. The longer you leave them in the dye, the darker they will be! Turn the washing machine back on and let it finish a complete cycle. Remove your pants and hang them to dry. Run the washing machine empty, on hot water and with laundry soap, for the longest wash cycle to clean the dye from the machine.
Keeping Pants Black
Congratulations, you have dyed your pants back to black! Now to make sure they stay that way, a few tips: Wash your pants in cold water, inside out. Use a laundry detergent designed to keep dark colors dark. Try not to wash your pants every time you wear them, and if possible, let them hang dry.