Dye it or toss it?

My girls are quite talented at spilling chocolate or grinding mud into their newest and/or cutest clothes. (One of their favorite activities is digging for worms in our raised garden beds. I’m pretty sure that joy did not come from my half of the DNA.)

New, light-colored shirts seem to be extra special magnets for these stains.

So I’ve had a tub of shirts and shorts that I intended to soak in hopes of relieving them of the chocolate or mud waiting for months. This week after finding a box of dye at a garage sale, I attempted to do something about it. Yes, attempted is the operative word in this situation.

Since most of the clothes were pink or purple, I figured a blue dye would hide the stains and produce a pleasant color. A purple would be generally acceptable to the girls.


Clothes after dyeing, but before the washing machine.

The clothes and the dye went into the tub and I swirled it for the required twenty minutes. As I checked the garments every so often, the process seemed to be working well. The stains weren’t noticeable, the colors looked good. I was patting myself of the back for rescuing the garments. Woohoo!

Then they came out of the washer. The stains still showed on one of the shirts. The shorts developed new splotches. The pants which were only worn once just looked weird.


The un-salvageable shirt.


I stuck the pants and shorts in their drawers anyway, figuring worse things would befall them the next time the girls wore them. I tossed one of the shirts.

Before the dyed clothes made it out of the washing machine, the girls had destroyed their skirts by digging in the mud for worms.

The skirts went straight to the garbage.


  1. My one dying experiment (other than tie-dying, which was fab) was similar to yours. I had gotten bleach stains on a really nice skirt/sweater combo while cutting DNA samples in the lab. So…I thought a nice blue dye would cover all. When it came out, all the bleach stains had become holes! Hello garbage.


    1. I probably should have tried color remover before dyeing, but I didn’t have any and didn’t want to run to the store. I don’t know if the color remover works on stains.


  2. You can Shout out those stains..well I don’t know about worm gut stains. But try that next time. And I”m sure there is going to be another next time!!


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