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Make Your Own Dirty Denim

Are your teens and preteens begging for the hottest fall look known as "dirty denim"? All you need to do to make them happy is gather these materials and follow the steps.


  • 1 package Rit Dye Tan Powder
  • 1/2 cup or 4 ounces Rit Dye Tangerine Liquid (optional)
  • distressed denim jeans, skirt, jacket or other items
  • rubber gloves


  1. Turn the washing machine on and let it fill with hot water. You want the water very hot, 140 F. You may need to turn your water heater to "hot" a few hours in advance to achieve this very hot temperature. If you adjust the water heater, warn all of your family members because water this hot can scald youngsters and elderly people in just a few seconds.
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  3. Add Rit Tan Powder to the water.
  4. Submerge the jeans and or other items in the mixture and soak for 10 minutes. Close the lid of the washer to maintain the hot temperature.
  5. Rinse items, wash and rinse again. You do not need to add soap.
  6. Dry in the usual manner.
  7. Repeat steps 1 through 5, this time with the Rit Tangerine Liquid to give the denim an added "dirty" look (optional).
  8. After dyeing, clean the washing machine by running it through a complete wash cycle with detergent and 1 to 2 cups of bleach.

By Kathy

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March 7, 20080 found this helpful

This was a great project! Everything came out looking dirty but instead of tan I used brown!

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March 26, 20170 found this helpful

I do this often with my black tanks, leggings or work clothes when they start getting dingy and grey or bleach spots. Saves me money and time shopping for all new when the item is in otherwise good condition.

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