How To Dye Polyester Curtains (From An Expert)

You might be wondering, “how do I dye polyester curtains?”

Dyeing polyester curtains can be a fun and easy way to add a pop of color to your room.

There is something about transforming a lifeless beige into a beautiful, vibrant blue that just makes me happy.

Maybe it’s the sense of satisfaction that comes with taking something ugly and making it beautiful. Or perhaps it’s simply the act of creation itself that I find so intoxicating.

Dyeing polyester curtains is a fairly straightforward process. It involves:

  • Preparing the ingredients
  • Boiling water in a steel pot
  • Using a disperse dye
  • Applying the dye and stirring the fabric

Can you dye polyester curtains?

dyed curtain

Yes, you can dye polyester curtains. However, it requires a specific process. Dyeing polyester is not the same as dyeing natural fabrics. Instead, you need to use special dyes for these polymer-based fabrics.

One big advantage of polyester over natural fibers is that it resists stains. 

However, this advantage also has a downside: polyester does not take kindly to dyeing.

It is difficult to dye polyester because it needs very high heat to absorb the dye

Even then, there is no guarantee that you will get the exact shade of color that you want or that the color will be consistent. If you must dye polyester, it is helpful to be familiar with how.

Polyester is a fabric that’s made from plastic. It has polymer fibers which are then woven or knitted into the product you see today!

As such, water-soluble dyes do not work on polyester.

Identify the type of fabric you are dyeing

The first thing you want to identify is what percentage of polyester is the material?

Is it 100% polyester or is it a blend?

Many manufacturers blend polyester with other fibers to make a softer, more breathable material. However, if you want to use a synthetic colorant, it is safe to do so only if the material contains more than 35% synthetic fibers.

What condition are the curtains?

The condition of the curtains is important; check to see that the curtains are free of any mildew or stains.

Clean them thoroughly and dry them in an open area like a driveway, garage, or yard before dyeing.

If you use a high heat setting on your dryer (for example, “bounce”), make sure to remove the curtains from the dryer promptly. Over-drying polyester will cause the fabric to shrink, leading to less-than-desirable results when dyeing fabrics.

Select a colorant

Once you have identified the percentage of polyester and checked for stains and mildew, it is time to select your colorant. Again, you may need to look back to your elementary school days. 

Think back to the color wheel principles. This will help you choose colors that are not an exact match. If your curtains were green, for example, and the colorant was blue, what would happen? 

It would be closer to black or gray than green. Primary colors are your best bet. If you’re dyeing for artistic purposes, it is alright to use secondary and tertiary colors.

Orient the fabric correctly before dyeing

After choosing your colorant, orient the fabric so that the wrong side faces outwards. 

You do not want any of the color bleeding through to the other side, or you will end up with two-toned curtains.

Use large hangers to hang the curtains without touching each other, and tie a string tightly between them, slightly off-center if possible. 

This makes it easier for the dye to penetrate evenly.

Make sure your pot is large enough

You will want to make sure you use a large enough pot for the curtains. If your pot is too small, the water will not penetrate the fabric while it is gradually heated.

Prepare the ingredients

The ingredients you need to dye polyester are: 

  • Polyester fabric or curtains
  • Disperse dye (the color of your choice)
  • Protective equipment
  • Salt
  • Hot water
  • A large pot or container that the fabric can fit into
  • Tongs or a wooden spoon to stir the fabric with
  • A thermometer

Conduct the dyeing process outdoors

You should do the dyeing process outdoors to move around easily, and the ventilation is good. 

This will help you avoid staining indoor surfaces with dye. It will also be easier to hose down the fabric outside than indoors.

Choosing the correct dye for dyeing polyester curtains

Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, do not dye easily like natural fabrics like cotton or wool. Only disperse dyes will work on synthetic fabrics; these are dyes that are ground very finely and suspended in a dispersing agent.

Ordinary dyes that work on natural fibers do not affect synthetic fabrics like polyester. 

There are two types of disperse dyes: paste and powder. Use them to pre-wash your fabric or garment before you dye it. This will help the cloth absorb the dye better and make the color more consistent.

What protective equipment do you need to dye polyester curtains?

To protect yourself, wear rubber gloves and an apron when using dye. If you get the dye on your skin, it will be hard to remove. 

Wear safety glasses and a dust mask to avoid getting the dye in your eyes, nose, or mouth if you are using powder dye.

Use a large steel pot

Boil about two liters of water in a large steel pot. Do not use aluminum because the metal will react with the dye. 

However, if you can find a large enough container to boil water in again, it must be steel, not aluminum. 

And do not use it for preparing food afterward. Instead, use steel utensils or a wooden ladle to stir the cloth with ones you will not use for food preparation.

Add and dissolve disperse dye

To dye fabric, start by heating up some water and adding 1-2 teaspoons of disperse dye, depending on how strong you want the color to be. Make sure to fully dissolve the dye before adding it to the pot. 

If there are any lumps, they will appear as uneven patches on the fabric. Next, add half a teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent to help the fabric absorb the dye better. Stir well.

Test the color

To get the perfect color, you will need to test it on a scrap of white cotton fabric. If your desired shade is too light, then add more dye and mix well until it’s just right.

If something else happens where there should be darkness, use some warm water instead!

Apply the dye and stir the fabric

To dye your fabric, add it to a boiling bath of dye. Stir the fabric constantly for about thirty minutes or until you achieve the color you want. 

Stirring will ensure that the entire fabric is immersed in the dye consistently and that no part is stuck in the bottom or hidden under a thick pile. 

There won’t be creases or wrinkles that will cause uneven color.

Finishing the dye

When you want the fabric to be a certain color, rinse it with warm water until the water runs clear. Then wash the fabric by itself in the washing machine. 

After that, it will be ready for use. Dyeing polyester is not that hard. Next time you’re considering doing something with polyester, consider using these tips on how to dye polyester.

What is the best dye for polyester curtains?

The best dye for polyester curtains is disperse dye. When dyeing polyester curtains, it’s best to 

  • Use a color that is darker than the fabric’s original color
  • Use a specific dye for synthetic fabrics
  • Test the dye on a small area of the fabric before applying it in full.

Can polyester fabric be dyed?

Yes, the polyester fabric can be dyed. However, the results may not be what you expect. Polyester is a synthetic fiber and does not take color evenly. 

Dyes may appear lighter or darker in different areas of the fabric. Also, polyester is prone to fading, so use a dye specifically made for synthetic fabrics.

Follow the instructions on the dye package carefully to avoid any problems. 

What kind of dye works on polyester?

There are a few different types of dyes for coloring polyester fabric. 

These include disperse, Rit, and Dylon permanent fabric dye (for polyester blends). 

What supplies will I need to dye polyester?

For this project, you’ll need fabric dye, gloves, a steel bucket or pot for boiling water, protective equipment, and curtains. 

If your curtain is lined, you’ll also need to dye that. You’ll want to be sure to wear rubber gloves and make sure there.

How do you dye polyester curtains with Rit dye?

First, gather your supplies. You will need a bucket or steel pot that is large enough to fit your curtains, Rit dye (Rit DyeMore for 100% polyester) 

  • Stainless Steel Pot
  • Measuring Cup
  • Metal Tongs
  • Plastic Gloves
  • Dishwashing Liquid
  • Plastic Table Cover

Next, wash the curtains in warm water and detergent to remove any sizing or finishing treatments on them. Be sure to rinse them well. 

Mix the hot water, salt, and dish detergent in the bucket or container. Dissolve the dye in this mixture according to the instructions on the package. 

Add the curtains to the dye bath and let them soak for 30 minutes. Stir them around occasionally so that they absorb as much color as possible. 

When you achieve the color, remove it from its bath and watch as its secrets are revealed. The fabric will look darker when wet because that’s how chemicals react with one another- they give up their darkness for a brighter appearance after drying!

Will Dylon dye polyester curtains?

Dylon dyes are great for changing the color of your clothes, but they won’t work on 100% polyester. 

They are only suitable for 50% cotton/50% poly blends. You can purchase them at your local fabric or crafts store, but Rit dye is the superior choice when dyeing polyester curtains because they sell disperse dyes.

However, if you have a blend that has less than 50%, then Dylon offers their disperse dye service to get those vibrant hues we all love!

What happens if you use Rit dye on polyester?

Rit dye will work on polyester. In addition, they make specialized textile dyes designed specifically for synthetic fabrics — these often have a “for synthetics” label on them. 

You will likely need to use a concentrated, multiple-step process for dark colors. Polyester isn’t absorbent like cotton, which makes it very difficult to saturate color into the surface (or, said another way, it’s difficult for anything you put onto polyester to stick).

What is the difference between cotton and polyester?

There are several differences between cotton and polyester when it comes to dyeing fabrics. 

First, as mentioned above, polyester isn’t absorbent like natural fibers such as cotton or linen. So if you put liquid directly on a polyester garment, it will just sit there. 

Second, unlike natural fibers with large open spaces between fibers that can absorb and hold liquids, synthetics are closed off tighter, so they trap dye inside the fiber itself.

If you use too much dye at once on synthetic fabric, it can lead to oversaturation. In this situation, the excess dye runs into other parts of the garment.

The more dye you use (which causes the fabric to become darker), the more pronounced this over-saturation effect will be, which can cause your dyed item to change color during washing or wear.

Can you use a washing machine to dye polyester curtains?

Unfortunately, you cannot dye polyester in the washing machine. However, it turns out that even with its hottest setting none are hot enough for a good transfer and will just damage whatever is being washed if left on too long!