Spot Dyeing Fabric: Touch-Up Basics

Spot Treat FabricDo you have a light spot stopping you from wearing something?. Consider the 'spot treating' dyeing technique when there is a small area that is a different colour than the rest of your garment. This technique may help you ‘touch up’ a small lighter area in your fabric. For more accurate colour results always test the dye colour before on a 'scrap of fabric'. This way you can get comfortable applying a small amount of dye to a specific area. 

When spot treating you also may need to create a custom colour that matches your existing fabric. This may mean that you need to mix a couple of dyes together to get the right shade or undertone.

Tintex works best in very hot water use a kettle or pot (or if desired use a microwave) to heat water to 140ºF. Please avoid using ’hot tap water’ because it will not be hot enough. Tintex Fabric Dye is a hot-water, 'direct dye' made for most washable fabrics like cotton, linen, silk, nylon, acetate, rayon, wool and viscose (blends will dye properly only if 65% of the fabric content is suitable). Tintex is not for 100% polyester or 100% acrylic fabric. 

After the dye solution is mixed with very hot water, use a scrap of fabric, sponge or brush applicator to apply the dye solution to the small area. You can dab gently or apply more pressure depending on the material. If needed, proceed carefully and build colour slowly. Let the dye solution set for 20 or 30 minutes (or more). Rinse well and if desired, optionally apply a warm iron to set colour.

Spot Dyeing Fabric


  • Tintex Fabric Dye 
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoon
  • Kettle for boiling water
  • Applicator for spot-treating (cotton swab, clean cloth, paintbrush, sponge, etc.)
  • Painters tape (optional)
  • Plastic to protect work area
  • Rubber or plastic gloves to protect hands
  • Cleaning supplies for after dyeing


  1. Prepare your flat work area with plastic and/or newspapers to protect from staining; wear rubber or plastic gloves to protect hands for dye.
  2. Dissolve 1 teaspoon Tintex dye into half a cup of heated water, use a kettle to get water to 140°F (create your own custom colour by mixing 1-3 dyes together; more dye produces darker/brighter colours, less dye creates softer, lighter colours)  
  3. Making sure dye solution is completely dissolved before you start, place clean and damp fabric on prepared area, removing any ripples. You could even apply painters tape around your spot-treating area if your fabric is suitable and you feel it will help guide you.  
  4. Use an applicator to spot treat (sponge brush, paint brush, cotton swab, or scrap piece of clean fabric etc). Apply preferred applicator into dye solution and remove excess dye; pat the area to gently build colour, rub when desired colour is achieved. 
  5. Dye can set for 20-30 minutes, but using an iron can aid setting (iron with steam, but cover with a press cloth).
  6. When fabric is set hand or machine wash and dry as usual.
  7. Clean up work area as usual with soap and water or bleach is necessary.


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