How to Dye Upholstery

Jessica Reed

Perhaps the fabric on your couch isn't quite the color you'd like, or the slipcovers you bought for your chairs don't match the new coat of paint you gave your living room. You don't have to buy new furniture just to get it all to match. You can dye upholstery in a single afternoon for only a fraction of the cost.

Dye Upholstery

Learn how to dye upholstery and add a bright new look to your furniture.

  1. Remove the fabric from the furniture. An entire piece of fabric cannot be dyed while it is still on your furniture. Slipcovers are excellent choices for this because they are meant to be removed and if you don't like the color after it's done, you can get a new one.

  2. Fill your washing machine with hot water. Make sure it will cover the fabric once it's submerged. Refer to the link in the Resource section below to calculate how much dye you will need. If you're using RIT powder, mix it with 2 cups of hot water.

  3. Add the dissolved powder, or the liquid RIT dye, to the hot water in the washing machine. Run the fabric you wish to dye under hot water in your bath tub.

  4. Smooth the wet fabric out and submerge it in the washing machine. Set the washing machine to wash for at least 30 minutes before the first rinse starts.

  5. Rinse the fabric in a cold water rinse cycle once it has had time to wash. Keep rinsing until the water is clear and not the color of the dye. If you used a dark colored dye, run the fabric through another wash in warm water with a very mild detergent and then rinse in cold water until the water is clear.

  6. Dry the fabric or let it hang on a drying rack.

  7. Add laundry detergent and 1 cup of chlorine bleach to your washing machine. Set it to the largest load option and run the machine through a complete wash using hot water. This will remove any dye from the machine.

  8. Reattach upholstery after it is completely dry.


Any plastic parts in your washing machine may be tinted by the RIT dye, but it will not stain your clothing.