Tank tops, flip-flops and shorts are just a few staple garments worn during spring and summer months. White, light colors and bold patterns jump to the forefront, encouraging craft enthusiasts to create their own styles, such as dip dye shorts. Create the same dip-dye effect — generally made with home-use bleach — with fabric color remover. This inexpensive product — generally available for natural and synthetic fibers as well as blends with a minimum of 60 percent cotton — removes, whitens and fades out color in the desired areas. Transform your shorts into a dip-dye version with this product by selecting the area, such as the waistband, side seams or bottom hem prior to submerging the garment into the color-removing mixture.

Things You'll Need

Preparing Color Remover Mixture

Pour two gallons of hot water into a plastic bucket. Since manufacturer instructions vary, read the directions to ensure your product requires a two gallon minimum.

Add one packet of color remover, such as “Rit Laundry Detergent Color Remover,” into the hot water.

Wearing rubber gloves, stir the mixture with a long-handled craft stick until the color remover dilutes in the hot water.

Dip Dyeing Shorts

Wash the shorts with mild laundry detergent to ensure you remove any dirt or grime. Do not dry.

Submerge the section of the shorts you want to dip dye into the hot water mixture for approximately 10 to 30 minutes. For example, if you want to remove or lighten color from the bottom hem, dip the cuffs up to the point where you want to strip away the color. Be mindful, the longer you leave a particular section of the shorts submerged in the color remover mixture, the lighter or whiter the finished color appears.

Rinse the garment in hot water, followed by lukewarm water. Wring and squeeze out excess water from the garment.

Rewash with mild laundry detergent once again and dry according to your garment’s care label.


  • Although color remover instructions vary, using cold water to rinse out garments after dipping in the color remover mixture generally creates unwanted creases.

References and Resources

Rit Dye: Tips for Success