How to Dye Your Levi's

You don't have to settle when your favorite jeans fade.

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If you have a pair of Levi's that are faded or simply a shade of blue you really don't like, you may be tempted to toss them on the recycle pile. If your jeans fit great but don't entice your eyes, skip the donation box and dye them a more fashionable color. Faded jeans can look dark again and you can transform lighter colored Levi's into licorice black jeans simply by using one of the methods of dyeing fabrics.

The Bucket Method

If you're planning on dyeing only one pair of jeans, the bucket method may be the quickest. Use an aluminum wash tub, a large bucket or try a stainless steel kitchen sink. Mix the dye powder and water according to the manufacturer's directions. Stir the jeans and water until the jeans are as dark as you like, then rinse and wash the pants. Line dry them or place them in the dryer.

The Washing Machine

For dyeing a couple pairs of jeans, the washing machine is usually the easiest method. Wet the jeans beforehand. Mix the dye in the washer using the hottest water that's safe for jeans. The dye package will give you instructions on how much dye to use per pair of jeans. Let the washer agitate the jeans and dye water together for the amount of time stated on the dye package, then allow the machine to go through a normal rinse cycle.

Colors to Use

To restore your jeans to their original color, use navy blue, indigo or black dye. Use any darker hue on pale jeans to give your Levi's some additional color. If you like purple or teal, add a package of one of those colors to the dye water to give you jeans a custom color. The dye will mix with the color of the jeans, so change colors on the lightest color jeans possible.


Make sure your jeans are 100 percent cotton. Cotton takes well to all dyes. If your Levi's have any polyester in them, such as stretch jeans, the dye may not take as well and you may end up with streaks, small stripes or a lighter color than you were hoping for.

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