How to Dye Chino Pants At Home? (For Beginners!)

For the modern man, chinos are a godsend.

They provide us with an opportunity to cover our bottom half with something other than jeans, and in doing so, they help in making our outfits a lot more versatile.

But what if you don’t like the color of your pants?

Let’s say that you have a pair of black chinos but they are now faded to such a degree that you can’t wear them in public without being confused for a hobo. What do you do?

Luckily, dyeing a pair of chinos is a relatively simple task that can be done in under an hour. That is if you follow the step-by-step procedure mentioned in this article.

I will be going over the entire process in great detail so that you aren’t left with any unanswered questions.

Let’s begin!

How To Dye Chinos?

dye chino pants

Here’s the exact process that you need to follow in order to change the color of your chinos.

1. Get a Fiber-Reactive Dye

There are various types of clothing dyes available in the market. Most prominent of these are fiber reactive dyes, acid dyes, and all-purpose dyes.

For dyeing a pair of chinos, we’re going to need a fiber-reactive dye. This is because most chinos are made from cotton, which is a plant-based material (Acid dyes are generally used for animal fur).

I’ll recommend that you avoid the use of all-purpose dyes because they can bleed very easily. And Rit dye, the most prominent all-purpose dye, is known to fade after a few washes.

So, get yourselves a good quality fiber-reactive dye. Here’s my favorite one on Amazon.

2. Prepare the Dyebath

For this step, you would need a big plastic container that you don’t mind getting dirty. Old plastic buckets are perfect for this.

Make sure that the bucket is clean. Now, fill it up with water. While one gallon of water is what I recommend, what we’re really looking for is enough water to submerge your chinos.

Add the dye to the water in the container. As to how much dye you would need, well, you can find this information at the back of the dye packaging.

While it varies from company to company, most big brands talk in terms of weight, so you would need to weigh your chinos for best results.

3. Add non-iodized salt to the container

The salt that is used in food is usually iodized. So you would need to get special non-iodized salt for this step (don’t worry, it’s pretty cheap).

Take this non-iodized salt, and for every pound of fabric that you’re dyeing, add half a cup of salt. This will be the optimum quantity to speed up the dyeing process for your chinos.

Make sure that you mix the salt well, and that there aren’t any individual granites floating around in the water-and-dye solution.

4. Wash the Chinos and put them in the solution

To ensure that there are no stains or discolored portions on your chinos, you would need to clean them thoroughly.

For this process, I recommend that you hand-wash them in hot water instead of machine-washing in cold water.

The logic behind this is twofold:

  1. You would be able to pay special attention to all the dirty areas.
  2. Being exposed to hot water makes it easier for cotton to change its color in the dyeing process.

Once the chinos have been thoroughly cleaned, submerge them in the dyebath (do this before they become dry). Keep stirring them using a stick for 30-40 minutes.

This will make sure that all portions of the chinos get an equal amount of color. Allow the chinos to soak up the new color of the dye.

5. Use Soda Ash in conjunction with the Dye

Whenever you are using fiber-reactive dyes to change the color of a plant-based fabric, it’s also important to use soda ash. Otherwise, the longevity of the new color may be affected.

Dissolve a couple of spoons of soda ash into a cup of warm water. Once it is completely dissolved, add this solution to the dye bath.

Go real slow (soda ash can be quite reactive), and once the cup has been emptied in the bucket, stir the chinos for 15-20 minutes to ensure that they also soak in the soda ash solution.

6. Remove the Excess Dye

Take out the chinos from the dye bath. If everything worked, they should have changed their color by this point.

To get rid of the excess dye from the surface of the pants, rinse the garment with cold running water until the water dripping from the pant legs is transparent in color.

It is really important to wash the chinos before wearing them. So throw them in the washing machine (alone, as the color may bleed) and use cold water to wash them.

Depending on the color, you may need to go for a second wash too.

Hang the chinos on a clothesline to dry.

And that’s basically it. You can wear your newly-colored chinos whenever and however you want.

Can Chinos Be Dyed?

Most chinos can be dyed using a good quality fiber-reactive dye. This is because chinos are generally made from plant-based fabrics such as cotton.

Plant-based fabrics are generally considered to be pretty easy to dye. The fibers of these fabrics are quite receptive to a change in color.

This even applies to chinos where there are other materials being used in conjunction with cotton.

For example, if your chinos are 70% cotton and 30% polyester, you can still dye them using a fiber-reactive dye.

And as a rule of thumb, pants are much easier to dye than buttoned shirts, because they are usually plain and monotone and don’t require a lot of precision.

Thus, if you are the kind of person who wants to get into crafts, then this is the right first project for you!

How to Dye Black Chinos?

The process to dye faded black chinos is quite similar to the dyeing process of regular chinos. However, you’ll need to use a higher amount of dye in order to ensure that the original black color of your chinos is fully restored.

While you might get away with using smaller quantities of dye with most other colors, this is not the case with black.

Because faded black is so easy to spot, you’ll need to go up and over what the packaging says when preparing the dye bath.

I recommend going over by around 10-20% of the amount mentioned on the labels.

This will prevent you from the pain of repeating the dyeing process because the color that you ended up with was just not dark enough.

Final Remarks

Chino pants can be dyed to convert their color.

In fact, ecologically speaking, this is a great idea because it propagates the idea of reusability, and reduces your individual carbon footprint on the planet.

Here’s how you can dye your favorite pair of chinos:

  1. Get the right kind of dye.
  2. Prepare the dyeing solution.
  3. Add non-iodized salt to the mix.
  4. Wash your chinos and put them in the dyebath.
  5. Add some soda ash to the solution.
  6. Remove the excess dye.