How to revive an old pair of jeans

Never part with a favourite pair of jeans prematurely again with this great hack to help bring faded items back to life.

revive old jeans

Dyeing denim items is probably easier than you think, and by giving items of clothing a longer life you'll help to avoid creating unnecessary textile waste. It's an easy impact to own, plus you'll be able to enjoy a sense of pride in bringing something back from the scrap heap.

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What you need:

  • About an hour of time
  • Denim to dye
  • A stainless-steel sink or large plastic bucket
  • Fabric dye in your chosen colours (this is available from many craft and haberdashery stores and some larger supermarkets)
  • 1 cup of salt
  • A stirrer – this just needs to be anything with enough length and strength to help move the denim through the water and that you don't mind if it takes on a new colour
  • A kettle
  • Water
  • A cloth to wipe up spills
  • An old towel



Identify the items that you'd like to reinvigorate. We recommend doing a couple of items at a time (probably no more than five, as you’ll end up with a less intense colour). If you have any stretch denim in the mix you'll need to check the proportion of synthetic material in these to ensure you select the right kind of dye.


Choose your colour, and type of dye. Most denim will colour well with a standard dye, but if you are trying to colour fabrics containing more than 35% polyester you’ll need to choose a variety specifically designed for synthetic materials.

To get a rich indigo blue we recommend using a mix of black (2 parts) and navy blue (1 part). If you're looking for a lighter blue use less or no black. For black denim a 200ml bottle should provide the results you need.


Get prepped. Set yourself up in a laundry, and make sure you have access to lots of hot, ideally boiling, water. Follow the directions on your chosen dye - many will recommend adding a cup of salt to assist with the intensity of colour.  Add enough water so that your items can move freely, then mix in the dye.

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Add your favourite jeans – it’ll work best if these are already wet, and are unfolded so that the dye can easily access all areas. If you’re re-colouring multiple items we recommend putting the ones you would like to have the richest colour result in first.


Stir. Stir. Stir! You’ll need to stir regularly for between 30-60 mins. If you’re attempting to dye multiple colours a dark colour, we suggest grabbing a book and settling in for the full hour.


When your soaking time is up you’ll need to rinse with cool water until it starts to run clear, then pop it in the washing machine with mild detergent and an old towel (to help catch any dye that comes out). And voila – you’ve got a good-as-new pair of jeans to wear!

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