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Five Ways to Use Dye to Recycle Home Textiles

01/05/2009 12:50 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Ever wake up feeling like tossing all your textiles for a new color scheme? Color faded? Marked with a stain? Before you chuck perfectly good household items, consider the wonder of dye. Here are five ways to use dye to economically recycle the goods you already have.

yellow dye photo

1. Towels
Instead of pulling out your wallet for a new bath sheet that can run you upwards of $30, throw a pack of natural indigo blue dye from Aurora Silk in the wash. Towels are a fantastic example of something that can be dyed more than once -- each time they will come out looking fresh and new.

2. That God-Awful Pink Shirt You Should Never Have Bought
Yep, it happens to all of us. Sometimes it looks so great in front of those slimming department store mirrors, splashed in mood lighting...and ends up washing out your complexion to a healthy shade of green. Update those wouldn't-be-caught-dead-in colors to more wearable shades in a cinch.

3. Faded-out Jeans
The darker those skinny jeans the better, boys and girls. If your blue or black jeans have faded out beyond recognition, die will return them to fresh-off-the-rack perfection.

4. Sheets
You separate your whites and they still turn gray. And what is it about white sheets that makes them attract leaky ball point pens? Throw a pack of lemon yellow dye in the wash and you'll have a sunny respite from all that bleaching (which isn't so green in itself). Better go darker if you did, in fact, have an encounter with a pen.

tye die shirt boy photo

5. Anything White That isn't White Anymore
Speaking of white sheets, let's make that anything white: curtains, tank tops, t-shirts, comforter covers. In general, white items have a drastically shorter life span that can be extended with a pack of dye.

So now you are a dye fan, and excited about everything that has to do with dyeing, right? Purchase a natural dye starter kit from Fibre Crafts and check out Natural dyes International, which according to the Web site, is an "international nonprofit organized to research natural dyes and pigments, share information and educate the public about the history of this rich tradition and the use of these natural materials." Who knew.

Don't forget to rinse out your washer.

Have more ways to use dye? Comment below!