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Reviving Khakis

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Last week I mentioned how I save some of Husband’s trousers from the rag pile.  This works well with dark trousers, but Husband prefers khaki shorts and trousers in the summer, so I have a method for rescuing those as well.  Husband has a tendency to drop things on his khakis, like coffee or chocolate, where the stain may not come out completely.  So, if the stain is a darker brown than the cloth, then I dye the khakis to a darker shade of brown using  a tea bath.

To do this, I use a plastic bucket, because I don’t want to risk staining the bathtub.  I pour scalding hot water into the bucket and steep about ten tea bags in the bucket, or more, depending on the amount of water and how dark I want to dye the cloth.  I dunk the cloth in and leave it until it gets to a slightly darker color than what I’m looking for.  This is a bit of guesswork, but if it is too light, I just leave it in the teabath for a few more minutes.

I let the cloth dry completely before I dump it in a warm wash with detergent to set the color.  I’ve never had any problems with the color bleeding out, but I’ve only done this with 100% cotton.  I’ve noticed that the color will not take to grease stains, so those have to be dealt with first before dying.  This kind of dye job works well enough to save a few pairs of khaki trousers and shorts from being unwearable, and Husband usually doesn’t even notice that the color has gone slightly darker.


2 responses »

  1. Tea bath — what a resourceful idea! Years back, my husband and I used to own a dry cleaners, and we were always looking for new ideas to share with our customers about how to care for stains. In all my years, I never heard the tea bath idea. This was a fun read. Thanks.

  2. Thanks. I’ve done this a couple of times, and it has kept some trousers and shorts in circulation longer than they would have been. I just tried it out in desperation one day, as Husband was out of wearable khakis. It does the trick though.


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