How to Dye Cotton Yarn

Dyeing yarn is easy, but how you prepare the dye depends on what sort of fiber the yarn is made from: acrylic, animal, or plant. Because cotton yarn is plant-based, you should prepare the dye the same way you would prepare dye for tie dyeing a t-shirt. Once you wrap the yarn and rinse it, you can dye it any color you want.

EditPreparing the Yarn
Choose white, 100% cotton yarn. White will be the best, because it will give you the brightest results. If you want a more dusty, muted color, however, you could try gray instead. Most importantly, make sure that the yarn is made from 100% cotton. Most fabric, yarn, and craft stores will have a special section in their yarn aisle for cotton yarn.
Some cotton yarn is mercerized and has a shiny finish. You can still dye this type of yarn, but be aware that it may take the dye differently from other types of cotton yarn.[1]
Do not get yarn made from mixed materials, such as 50% cotton and 50% acrylic, or it may not dye evenly.

Wind your yarn into a skein. Find the end of your yarn, and begin wrapping it around your hand and elbow; you can also wrap it around the back of a chair instead. Keep wrapping the yarn until you have used up the entire ball.[2]
Wrap the yarn tight enough so that it doesn’t slide off, but loose enough so that it doesn’t stretch or feel uncomfortable.

Do not dye your yarn while it is still in a ball, or it won’t dye evenly.

If your yarn came twisted like a rope, simply untwist the “rope” until you have a loop of yarn instead.

Slip the yarn off your arm and secure it loosely with string. Slip the wrapped yarn off of your arm and set it down on a flat surface. Cut 6 pieces of string, then tie them loosely around the looped yarn to hold the strands together. Work your way around the loop; do not close the loop.[3]
If you want a tie dye effect, then tie the strings tighter.

Soak the yarn for 20 minutes in warm water with some dish soap. Fill a pot or basin with enough warm water to cover your yarn. Add 1 or 2 pumps of liquid dish soap and stir to combine. Add your yarn into the water, and press down on it to submerge it. Leave it there for 20 minutes.[4]
Yarn often contains coatings, such as wax, which can prevent the dye from adhering.

Don’t be alarmed if the water changes color to brown. This is simply the residue from the yarn.[5]

Rinse the yarn until the water runs clear. Lift the yarn out of the pot with a pair of tongs. Rinse the yarn under cool, running water to remove any soap and residue. Keep rinsing the yarn until the water runs clear.
Wiggle your fingers through the strands to help separate them. This will ensure that the fresh water reaches them too.

Do not use the same tongs you’d use for cooking. Reserve these tongs only for dyeing.

Let the yarn dry until it is no longer dripping. Once the water runs clear, gently squeeze the excess water from the yarn. Spread the yarn out on a clean towel and leave it there until it dries partway. You want the yarn to still be somewhat damp.

EditPreparing the Dye
Choose fabric dye meant for cotton fabric. Plain old fabric dye from the fabric store or craft store (i.e. RIT dye) will work the best. It is the same stuff you’d use on t-shirts and other cotton garments.
Do not use dye made for wool or synthetic materials. It won’t react the same way to cotton yarn.

Protect your work space, skin, and clothing. Even through you are working with fabric dye, it can still stain other things, such as counters. Cover your counter with newspaper or a plastic bag. Put an apron or clothing you won’t mind accidentally staining. Lastly, pull on a pair of plastic gloves.

Bring a pot of water to a simmer. Fill your pot with enough water to completely cover the yarn. Bring the water to a simmer over low to medium-low heat. Do not let the water boil.[6]
A crockpot would be an even better idea because the heat is slow and steady.[7]
Do not use the same crockpot or cooking pot that you’d use for food. Reserve these pots for dyeing and crafts only.

Fill your pot with water and dye. How much water and dye you use depends on the brand of the dye and how much yarn you are dyeing. In most cases, you will need 3 quarts (2.8 L) of water and 1/2 cup (120mL) of dye. Refer to the label on the dye for more specific amounts.[8]
Use half the dye you need for a lighter shade. For a darker shade, you may have to add a drop of a darker dye color.

Most dye proportions are based on weight. Check the label that came with your yarn to find out how much you have.

Add some salt and dish soap. Again, how much salt and dish soap you use depends on how much water and yarn you used. In most cases, you will need 1/2 cup (150 g) of salt for every 3 quarts (2.8 L) of water. Add 1 squirt of liquid dish soap, and stir.[9]

Bring the water to a simmer. Turn the heat up on the stove to low or medium-low. Allow the water to come to a simmer. Do not let it boil.[10]
If you are using a crockpot, turn the heat up to high.

EditDyeing the Yarn
Submerge the yarn in the dye bath. Place the yarn into the water. Press it down with a metal spoon, tongs, or wooden chopsticks. Make sure that the yarn is submerged as much as possible.
Do not reuse the spoon, tongs, or chopsticks for cooking. Reserve them for arts and crafts.

If you are using chopsticks, be aware that this will permanently stain them. Consider using disposable ones instead.

Allow the yarn to dye for 30 minutes, stirring it occasionally. Parts of the yarn will float to the surface, so you’ll want to push them down–otherwise, they won’t dye evenly. Every so often, use your metal spoon, tongs, or chopsticks to gently shift the yarn around. A simple prod and stir is all you need.[11]
Do not stir the yarn like you’d stir soup or cake batter, or you’ll risk tangling the yarn.

If you are using a crockpot, cover the pot with a lid, and let it cook. You will still need to stir the yarn.[12]

Take the yarn out and rinse it until the water runs clear. Lift the yarn out with a pair of metal tongs. Rinse the yarn under warm, running water. Keep rinsing the yarn until the water runs clear, slowly lowering the temperature as you do so.[13]
Wiggle the strands between your fingers so ensure that the fresh water reaches them.

Squeeze the yarn in a towel, then set it out to dry. Once the water runs clear, squeeze the excess water from the yarn. Place the yarn on top of an old towel, close to the end. Wrap the towel around the yarn into a tight bundle, then press down on it to soak up any excess water. Unwrap the yarn, then leave it on the towel to dry.[14]

Roll the yarn into a ball. Cut the pieces of string holding the yarn together first. Wrap the yarn around your fingers 25 to 50 times, then slide it off. Wrap the yarn across the loop another 25 to 50 times. Continue wrapping it, switching direction often: top-to-bottom, side-to-side, and diagonally.[15]

Don’t be afraid to mix dye colors to create new ones. Many dye companies post color combinations on their websites.

Try different dyeing techniques, such as speckle.

You can use tie dye kits to tie dye yarn multiple colors.[16]

Do not reuse any pots or utensils for cooking. Reserve these for dyeing and crafts.

EditThings You’ll Need
Cotton yarn

Rubber gloves

Pot or basin


Dish soap

Fabric dye


Old towels

EditRelated wikiHows
Yarn Over

EditSources and Citations
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Today in History for 25th March 2019

Historical Events

1911 – L D Swamikannu publishes “Manual of Indian Chronology” in Bombay
1947 – Agreement of Linggadjati ratified in Batavia
1966 – US Supreme court rules “poll tax” unconstitutional
1969 – Ian Paisley and Ronald Bunting, loyalists in Northern Ireland are jailed for organising an illegal counter demonstration in Armagh on 30 November 1968
1978 – AIAW Women’s Basketball Tournament, UCLA beat Maryland 90-74 in Los Angeles
2001 – 73rd Academy Awards: “Gladiator”, Russell Crowe and Julia Roberts win

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1868 – Bill Lockwood, cricketer (England all-rounder in 12 Tests 1893-1902)
1895 – Siegfried Handloser, German physician (d. 1954)
1948 – Richard Lundy, horse trainer
1953 – Mary Gross, actress/comedian (SNL, Club Paradise, Feds), born in Chicago, Illinois
1961 – John Stockwell, actor (Born to Ride, City Limits), born in Galveston, Texas
1970 – Magnus Larsson, Swedish tennis star

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1914 – Frederic Mistral, French poet (Nobel-1904), dies at 83
1962 – Auguste Piccard, Swiss explorer/balloonist, dies at 78
1965 – Viola Gregg Liuzzo, US civil rights activist, murdered
1995 – James Gardner, designer, dies at 87
2007 – Andranik Margaryan, 14th Prime Minister of Armenia (2000-07), dies at 57
2012 – Bert Sugar, American sports writer, dies from a cardiac arrest at 74

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How to Clean an Eyelash Curler

You probably already know how important it is to clean your makeup brush and sponges, but it’s sometimes easy to overlook the need for cleaning tools like your eyelash curler. Even the metal surfaces on your eyelash curler can harbor bacteria, which could potentially lead to an eye infection, especially if you share your curler with someone else. Luckily, cleaning your eyelash curler is super easy! Disinfect the curler once every 2 weeks or so, and wipe it down after each use to keep it clean.

EditCleaning and Disinfecting the Curler
Dip a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol. The best way to disinfect beauty tools with a metal surface is with 70% isopropyl alcohol, which you can find at any drug store, dollar store, or supermarket. Saturate a cotton ball with the rubbing alcohol, then gently squeeze it to remove any excess.[1]If you don’t have a cotton ball, use a cotton pad, paper towel, or washcloth instead.

Avoid using tissue, as it’s less sturdy and may fall apart while you’re cleaning.

Wipe the curler all over with the cotton ball. Use the cotton ball to cover every surface of the eyelash curler, including all of the metal, the handles, and the rubber pad on the inside. As you’re cleaning the curler, keep rotating the cotton ball so you’re always using a clean surface. If you need to, switch to a second cotton ball.[2]Press the cotton ball down into the hinges and joints in the curler to make sure you don’t miss any spots where bacteria could be hiding.

Rinse the alcohol away with cool running water. Although the alcohol will dry on its own, leaving no residue, it can dry out the rubber strip on the eyelash curler. To avoid this, rinse the top of the curler thoroughly under running water after you wipe it down with the alcohol, especially around the pad.Avoid getting water in the metal joints on the curler, as this could cause them to rust.[3]

Dry the eyelash curler with a soft, clean towel. Once you’ve rinsed the alcohol off of the curler, gently pat it with a towel until it’s completely dry. Turn the curler in different directions as you dry it, and try to shake out any water that might have gotten into the joints.[4]Allowing a metal eyelash curler to air-dry could cause it to rust.

Try using a face towel, a washcloth, or paper towels to dry the curler.

Remove stubborn gunk with a blowdryer and a soft cloth. If there’s makeup residue or another sticky substance on your eyelash curler, alcohol alone may not be enough to remove it. In that case, hold the curler by the handles and heat it for about 30 seconds with your blowdryer. Then, when the gunk starts to soften, wipe it away with a soft cloth or even another cotton ball soaked in alcohol.[5]This buildup can promote the growth of bacteria, so it’s important to remove it.

Use the pointed end of an orangewood stick to get into crevices. If there is any gunk stuck inside of tight crevices of the eyelash curler, take an orangewood cuticle stick and wrap a wisp of cotton from a cotton swab around the pointed end. Then, dip the cotton in a small amount of oil, such as olive or coconut oil. Insert the pointed end of the cuticle stick into the gunky areas of the eyelash curler and work it around to clean them out.Repeat as needed with a new cuticle stick to clean other gunky spots.

EditKeeping the Curler Clean
Don’t curl your lashes after you put on mascara. If you put on mascara before you curl your lashes, you’ll coat the curler in mascara residue. Not only will this make the eyelash curler harder to clean, but it’s also bad for your lashes. For best results, put on your eyeshadow and eyeliner first, if you wear them, then curl your lashes, then apply mascara.[6]
Mascara can make your eyelashes brittle, so they’re more prone to breaking if you curl them with mascara on.

If you wear liquid eyeliner, let it dry completely before you curl your lashes.

Wipe down the curler with eye makeup remover after each use. Even if you curl your lashes before you apply your mascara, some makeup residue might get on your eyelash curler, along with oils from your skin. To keep your curler clean, wipe it down thoroughly with a makeup remover pad or a cotton ball or tissue dipped in eye makeup remover. Make sure to wipe down all of the metal, the rubber pad, and the handles.[7]If you’d like, you can use baby oil instead of makeup remover.

Replace the rubber pad every 3-6 months. Even with regular cleaning, the rubber pad on your eyelash curler can be a hiding place for bacteria. To avoid an unpleasant eye infection, replace this strip at least every 6 months, although every 3 months is ideal.[8]You can purchase replacement strips from a beauty supply store that carries your brand of eyelash curler, or from the manufacturer’s website.

Even if it has been less than 3 months and the pad looks cracked, replace it.

Replacing the pad will help to reduce your risk of infection and prevent broken lashes.

EditThings You’ll Need
Cotton ball

70% isopropyl alcohol

Clean towel


Eye makeup remover

Replacement pads

Blowdryer (optional)

Get a new eyelash curler once every 1 to 2 years to ensure that the curler has enough tension to work properly.

If you have a heated eyelash curler, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning it.

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