How to Make Old Mulch Look New

Are you considering removing old mulch from your garden? Some have been known to do this. However, landscaping mulch can be expensive to replace, especially if it covers a large area of your yard or garden. Moreover, the process of removing mulch involves an intensive amount of work including raking, clearing mulch with your hands, and bagging and disposing the mulch.

If your mulch looks faded, then you don’t have to remove it and lay new mulch. A mulch colorant or dye is available online or at a local garden center. It makes old mulch look new again.

A number of manufacturers make safe dyes and the dyes are available in many colors. They don’t harm plants or the environment and they are easy to use. The dyes dry quickly and generally follow the same process for application. However, it is suggested that you read the label to learn how to use specific brands.

Items you will need to dye mulch includes:

  • Dye
  • Rake
  • Plastic Sheets
  • Cardboard
  • Tape
  • Pump Sprayer

It is suggested that you don’t color old mulch prior to a rain.

There are dyes available that make old mulch look new.
(Courtesy: Christopher Hammond)

Preparing The Dye

Shake the bottle of mulch dye and then measure out the proper amount for the area of mulch you intend to color. The label of the dye offers coverage information.

Pour the dye into a clean hand-pumped garden pressure sprayer. Add the recommended amount of water to dilute the dye to its proper density and mixture with the water. Typically, the measurement of the mixture is 4 to 6 ounces of dye with 2 gallons of water.

Preparing To Spray

Rake any mulch that is out of its designated area. This neatens the edges of the bed.

Tape plastic or cardboard over nearby hardscape including rocks, patios, and buildings. This is necessary because mulch dye permanently stains. Cover plants as well.

Applying The Dye

Pump the garden spray to create sufficient pressure, then aim the sprayer nozzle at the mulch and pull the trigger. Sweep the nozzle back and forth to evenly apply. Slightly overlap the sweeps as you slowly color the mulch. Apply onto the entire mulch area. Spray the dye on the mulch with multiple sweeps if you want a darker color.

Allow the dye to dry. Each brand’s drying time may differ. Some dry in only a few minutes and some take as much as six hours.

Make certain that the dye is totally dry before irrigating or allowing children or pets into the treated area.

If you get the dye on anything other than mulch, rinse it immediately with lots of water before the dye dries.

If you get dye in your eyes, flush out your eyes with water for several minutes and then seek medical attention.

Touching Up

Over time there may be small disturbances in the mulch color due to animals or other things. Touch it up with a small amount of dye and a small spray bottle.

(Sources: and

About Robert Janis

Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.