you can't dye a dry-clean-only dress

Name: Rebecca
Message: Please help! I've looked at your sight and have learned a great deal, but I am still unsure what to do about my dye-related situation. I own a dress that I need to dye, but I'm not sure the right kind of dye to use so that I don't ruin the dress. The dress is chiffon with satin trim, and I plan to dye it black. It is a dry-clean only dress, so I'm nervous about using hot water. Can you recommend a good dye to use and a good technique? Thank you so very much for your help! Sincerely, Rebecca

I'm sorry, but if the garment is truly dry-clean-only, it cannot be dyed. Dry-clean-only garments must not be immersed in water, and there is no way to dye without getting the fabric wet, and then washing it out repeatedly after dyeing.

Some garments that are actually hand-washable are labeled dry-clean-only. You can try hand washing your dress as a test, but if it is truly dry clean only, it will not survive this washing. The different fabrics in the dress may shrink to different amounts, ruining the cut of the dress. An unlined rayon dress may be hand washable, and if it is, it can be dyed in cold water fiber reactive dyes, such as Procion MX dye. There is always the risk that washing will destroy the dress, however.

I'm afraid that your saying that the dress is chiffon trimmed in satin communicates nothing. Chiffon and satin can be woven from almost any fiber, including both natural fibers such as silk, and synthetic fibers such as polyester or acetate. It makes a huge difference, as silk can be dyed easily (if it can be washed), but polyester and acetate can be dyed only with noxious chemicals that are not suitable for use by novices. Commercial establishments usually refuse to dye polyester.

Posted: Wednesday - March 16, 2005 at 08:10 PM          

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