How I saved £16 on a pair of black jeans by dyeing a white pair at home

You find a pair of jeans, they're in your size and they're cheap... just one problem – the colour’s all wrong. I had this recently with a pair of white jeans (I wanted black) in my size, reduced from £26 to £5 in the Dorothy Perkins sale. What was I to do?

Obviously, I could’ve put them back and stumped up £26 for the black ones (those weren’t in the sale - typical). Yet being a MoneySaver, I had to wonder if I could dye them black myself to get the exact pair I wanted without paying full price – so this is what I did.

Nobody wants to ruin their washing machine though (I had to hand-wash for an entire year once… never again), so at first I was apprehensive. As you can see from the images below, the first cycle with the black dye was terrifying, but after a quick wipe of the door and seals with a wet cloth before the second cycle (with jeans to clear away any leftover dye from them and the machine), I am happy to report my washer suffered no ill effects.

What dye should I use?

You can use any suitable fabric dye in any colour you like, but I used Dylon ‘Intense Black’. It cost me £5 from Wilko, but you can also find it in some supermarkets and you may even find it cheaper on offer.

My jeans before and during the dyeing process

If your jeans are new, you will need to wash them first before dyeing - just put them in with a normal load. Then, you will need to do two washes - one with the dye and one to wash out the dye - but these don't need to be above 40 degrees, so shouldn't use too much energy (and most washers have a ‘half load’ mode that’ll use less water).

White jeans dyed black (though I realise they look blue in this photo!)

Can I use jeans I already have?

Of course, the most MoneySaving option is to re-dye your favourite pair of jeans that fit perfectly and you love but no longer wear because they've faded. This way, you'll save money and help the environment as you're reusing something you already have.

If the jeans you have are no good, you could use dye to rejuvenate a cheap faded pair from a local charity shop, or from eBay or Facebook Marketplace. You'll also be in the right place to sell on any jeans you have that don't fit you - you might even make enough money to cover the £5 cost of the dye (for tips see our eBay selling guide).

But what about the environmental impact of the dye?

When you wash any clothing, dyes and fibres are released and end up washing down the drain, and remember, I’m suggesting this as an alternative to buying new jeans (the manufacture of which will in most cases have had a bigger environmental impact).

If you're worried about the ongoing effects of your jeans on the environment, some people - including Levi’s CEO, Chip Bergh - claim to never wash their jeans.

Have you ever tried dyeing clothes? Would you give it a go? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.