5 Best Fabric Dye for Cotton || How to Choose Dye with Buying Guide

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Learning to dye your own clothes can be a lot of fun. You can give new life to an old T-shirt or any other fabrics. But the challenge is choosing the best fabric dye for cotton is not an easy task at all.

Yes! in the market, you will get different types of dyes and the maximum are out of quality. But if you can figure out which dye would be better for cotton fabric, then you will get what you are looking for.

Let’s take a closer look and find your desired one:

Jacquard Procion MX Fiber Reactive Dye for cotton – 32 colors available – Editor’s ChoiceCheck Price
Rit All-Purpose Liquid Dye –Check Price
Deco Art Jacquard Procion MX Dye –Better PickCheck Price
Rit, Fuchsia Purpose Powder Dye (Works great on Cotton)Check Price
This dye is designed for synthetics but it dyes cotton super fastCheck Price

However,  not all dyes are suitable for cotton fabric. Our research will take you deeper into the dye. In this guideline, you will learn about fibre types, cotton yarn, and many more.

That’s why It is essential to follow these guidelines.

Fabric dye

If you are looking for a good quality dye for other fabrics like polyesters, nylons, black fabric dye, silk, wool and more, you can see the following dye. But if you need cotton dye, you should read full review.

Here we will illustrate the perfect dye that will meet your needs. All you need in a dye that will bring fastness to the cotton fabrics and hold the color. Even after sunlight and repeated washing so that the color remains intact.

Let’s see which dye is best for cotton fabrics:


Among the various types of dyes, fiber reactive dye is the permanent dye type. It will give you the best results in cotton fabric. This item is well-known for precise performance.   The speciality of reactive dye is it makes an excellent reaction with the cotton fibers.

On the other hand, this solution is quite safe and never makes any stain after washing. Yes! there is no chance of color bleeding or any other issue.

However, there are many types of fiber reactive dye that will take a lot of time to say. You will notice that some dyes are made only for wool, some are made for protein fibers, and some are special for cotton fibers.

You may also consider the following fiber reactive dye for cotton:


Direct dyes are used exclusively in cotton fabrics. Direct dye is a hot water dye, and it is one of the two types of dyes that can be used for different types of dyes, and the other is acid dyes.

The color of direct dyes does not come out very well and does not dry as fast as fiber reactive dyes. The color is likely to rise. The color will not be as strong as fiber reactive dye. However, this dye is very good for cotton fabrics.

Direct dyes are cheaper than other dyes, so this is one reason to choose this dye. When you buy a direct dye, make sure it is genuine, do not buy any kind of mixed dye.

Note: Many times, acid dye is mixed with direct dye.


All-purpose dyes are basically a mixture of different dyes. It mixes acid dye with direct dye so that it is suitable for different fiber types. It is warm to hot and hot to warm dyeing method. It is a suitable dye for cotton fabric. It works exceptionally well for cotton fabrics.

All-purpose dyes cannot be used on all types of fabrics. It cannot be used in cold water. This dye cannot be used on polyester or acrylic fibers. The all-purpose dye is the right dye for protein fiber and cellulose fiber.

This is the best all purpose dye for cotton:


Natural dyes are generally safe and environment friendly. However, synthetic dyes are better than natural dyes for cotton fabrics. The corrosive substances used for natural dyes are not very toxic, and when used in an environment-friendly way, these two combine to produce good dyed fabrics.

In some cases, natural dye gives the best results to the cotton fabric. When you use Natural Dye, make sure it contains no toxic ingredients or is good for the environment. However, other dyes can create excellent, bright colors of natural dyes for cotton fabrics.

A beautiful book for dyeing:


Vat dye is a type of chemical dye; it can easily dissolve in water and produce excellent watercolor. Special process needs to be followed to dye cotton fabric with vat dye. For those who are new to dyeing and want to dye at home, it is a little difficult but not impossible. Vat dye can be used to dye both cellulose fibers and protein fibers.

Basic Dyes

Basic dye is not acid based like some other dyes. It has some positive charges. Cotton, wool, and silk fabrics can be dyed with basic dyes, but it is most commonly used in acrylic fibers. There are some precautions to be taken when dyeing cotton fabric with basic dye as it can cause some health problems in some cases.

Highly Recommended for natural and synthetic fabrics:

 “For your convenience, we have researched the best fabric dye for cotton that is available in the market. Mentioning our reviews below, you can take a look at it in a little while.” 

5 best fabric dye for cotton:

1. Rit All-Purpose Liquid fabric Dye for cotton – 27 colors available:

This dye gives excellent color to almost all types of fabrics. Especially cotton, wool, linen, silk. It makes the fabric color vibrant. You can also use it safely to hide accidents in the laundry. It can also bring beautiful colors on paper and wood.

Be creative and create unique fabric color through simple dye techniques. 1000+ color recipes are available on Rit’s website. Choose the dye of your choice from here.

This nice, easy-to-use, non-toxic dye is made to give any fabric the color of your choice. You can use it to change the color of any fabric. You can also use it to decorate the house.

It is a pre-mixed concentrated liquid you can use more or less according to your project. It will meet your needs.


  • Simple process
  • Easy for use
  • dye anything
  • Non-toxic
  • Vibrant color


  • Use eye-protective glass
  • Avoid contact with eyes
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after use
  • Keep out of reach of children


The Procion MX dye is the most widely used reactive dyes on the market and the best choice for cotton fabrics and cellulose fibers. Jacquard’s products are very popular among seasonal fabrics and textile dyers and are easily available. Procion MX is a good choice when you dye cotton fabric because it is durable and quickly produces excellent color.

If you follow Jacquard’s Procion MX instructions, you will get a durable and rich fabric color. Procion is a cold watercolor that you can use for several purposes by following different dyeing techniques, such as dyeing, tie-dye, screen printing, batik, etc.

They have a huge collection of dyes, along with Procion color mixing charts. You can create custom colors by mixing the sweetness of the mind. Procion fabric dye Perfect for cellulose fiber fabrics and cotton.


  • Dye cotton fabric and protein fibers
  • Huge color collection
  • Non-toxic
  • Coldwater dye


  • None

3. Rit Powder Dye:

This dye is easy to use, and it is not toxic at all, so it is good for health, and there is no risk in using it at home. Cotton, linen, silk, rayon, ramie, wool, or nylon can be used in any fabric type. It will assure you of excellent color. With it, you can re-dye old dyed clothes and dye anything else.

Want to create something unique? Rit has been working for tie-dyeing and home decor for decades. It is a perfect tool for cotton fabric. With it, you can also dye on wood and paper. You can revive gray jeans with it.

All you need is a washing machine, stainless steel sink, and a plastic container so you can get started. You can find 500+ color collections on Rit’s website. This is almost certainly the dye you are looking for cotton fabric.


  • Easy to use
  • Vibrant color
  • 500+ color recipe available
  • Dye almost anything
  • Non-toxic


  • None


Jacquard’s basic dye is a basic dye, and it is the best quality dye. It works great where other types of dyes do not give good results. Using reactive and acid dye where you did not get a good outcome using it will get excellent work.

With it, you can dye everything from solid things to fabrics. This dye is usually best for acrylic fabric, but it is also used in other fabrics.

Although the basic dye has a great ability to adhere to the fabric fiber, it is likely to rise up after washing. A good reason to use Jacquard’s basic dye is that it will give you an eye-catching color when you need it.


  • Good for acrylic
  • Can use wood, paper, and leather
  • Simple process
  • Intense colors


  • Not so good for cotton
  • Inferior when it comes to light

5. Rit DyeMore Liquid Dye, Tropical Teal:

Rit DyeMore Liquid Dye, Tropical teal It can be used to dye synthetic fabrics and fabric blends, 35% or more polyester acrylic or nylon fabrics can also be dyed with it. Use Rit DyeMore Liquid Dye, Tropical Teal Dye to revive any old fabric. Rit’s website has 250+ color recipes, so you can choose the color you need.

Since synthetic fabrics have some complications, you must use a stainless steel pot to get high water temperatures during dyeing. Washing machines cannot be used.

If you want to dye less than 35% synthetic fabrics such as polyester, acrylic, or acetate, you can use Rit All-Purpose Dye.

This is also a good dye for polyester.

Not too much green and not too much blue. This wonderful combination of two colors is a popular color for Sea Beach on a sunny day.

Each small bottle is made to give you a colorful feeling. You can dye new, old fabrics, household items, and much more. It can even dye plastic. It is non-toxic and safe.


  • Good for synthetic fabrics
  • Can dye polyester, acrylic, acetate or nylon.
  • 250+ color recipe
  • Intense color
  • Non-toxic


  • Can’t dye cellulose fabrics like cotton

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR DYE with buying guide:

Those who are new to dyeing should definitely read the guide. If you have less time, you can skip.

When you dye fabric at home, the first question that comes to your mind what is the best fabric dye for cotton? There are many types of fabric dyes available in the market, and it would be wrong to start working with any dye without knowing which one will be better for cotton fabric.

Below I am trying to give you the right direction.

Choosing the right dye will not be a problem for you when you understand that different types of dyes in the market act different fabrics differently.

Several types of dyes can be used with cotton fabric, reactive, direct, vat, and sulfur dyes. However, reactive dyes are usually used with cotton fabrics because of their brilliant color and excellent fastness.

Reactive dyes:

The reactive dyes are available in many variants and are easy to use. Reactive dyes are most commonly used in the cotton dyeing industry due to their easy application, satisfactory firmness, covalent bonding, and excellent color.

Huge color range and affordable. Considering your convenience, we have done research on some reactive dyes, and you can use the dye mentioned below.


Direct dyes:

Direct dyes are very easy to apply but have very low color fastness due to weak chemical bonds. Some less expensive and affordable fabrics are dyed with direct dyes. However, it is widely used in the case of tie-dye.

Vat dyes:

Vat dyes are best for cotton in all respects, even better than reactive dyes, but they are expensive and difficult to use. If you are a professional, you can, but if you dye for the first time, then it is not for you. It is a chemical dye, so use it carefully to avoid health risks.

 Finally, considering the color fastness, easy application, eco-friendly, excellent color assurance, the durability of cotton dye, it can be said that Reactive dyes are the best fabric dye for cotton. There is no health risk, no environmental pollution, in a word, healthy dye. Those who dye at home as a hobby can use reactive dyes without hesitation 


Do acid dyes work on cotton?

No, acid dye does not work on cotton fabric. Cellulose is a very common molecule, but wool and other protein fibers contain very complex molecules. Chemical dyes can easily form bonds with wool and are durable, but not cotton. As a general rule, acid dyes do not last in cotton.

What is the most common method of dyeing fabrics?

There are 3 ways to dye fabric according to the instructions of Rit’s website. If you buy dye from Rit’s you will get the instruction.

The washing machine method:

Soak your fabric and put it inside the washing machine. Mix your dye and four cups of very hot water in a container and stir well. If you dye natural fiber means cotton or linen, take four cups of very hot water in a separate container and mix a pinch of salt in it.

If you dye silk or nylon, mix one cup of white vinegar with 2 to 4 cups of hot water. Add one teaspoon to the dish detergent in a container, take the detergent cup out of the detergent tray and give it to your dye solution in the dispenser. Then give your salt or vinegar solution. Fill the dispenser with four more cups of hot water. Then wash for 30 minutes at the highest temperature possible.

The stovetop method:

Fill the pot with enough water so that your fabric can move there, cover it, then continue to heat. See the mixture’s instructions on your dye box, add the dye solution when your water starts to boil and mix well.

Then add your fabrics and do not boil too much, keep it in a slightly boiled state. Stir slowly and take care of the first ten minutes.

Leave on low heat for an hour. When the color of your choice comes out, take it out and press out the excess dye.

The sink or bucket method:

Fill a container with water at a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Follow the mixing direction of your dye company, then pour the dye mixture into hot water and mix well. Examine the color on the tissue paper. If it is lighter, add more dye; If it is too dark, add more water.

Soak your cloth and soak it in the dye mix. Keep stirring slowly. You can keep it for up to 30 minutes. When the color of your choice comes out, take it out and press and throw away the extra dye.

Wash it again

It’s an easy step. Put your clothes back in the washing machine with a small amount of detergent, hot water, and then wash.

Hang dry

When all the above work is done, take out the cloth and hang it for drying. Experts say that the best result is obtained by hanging.