Country or region: Canada
Message: I have this white winter coat made of a 100% tubular polyster, the exterior is of microporous polyurethane polymerized and the lining is 100% nylon, that I would like to dye into a darker color due to several stains. Please advise me, I would like to know the best dying procedure in order to salvage my coat. I know I am taking a chance, but I consider my coat a loss anyway. Looking forward receiving your advice. Thank you.
I am afraid that your coat is protected with a DWR (durable water repellant) finish, made of either silicone or fluorocarbons. It is usual for any coat which has an polyurethane waterproofing membrane to also be treated with a DWR finish so that the fabric on the outside of the membrane does not become heavy and uncomfortable with absorbed rain water. Any form of waterproofing, including the DWR coating, inevitably makes the coat undyeable, because anything that repels water will also repel dye. The water resistance may be temporarily made ineffective by dirt, but a thorough washing, followed by fifteen minutes in a clothes dryer at medium heat, should restore it to at least partial functionality. (Be sure to remove it from the dryer immediately to avoid permanent creasing.) DWR finishes can never be removed completely enough to allow effective dyeing, but they may need the heat of a clothes dryer to restore their function as much as possible.
Instead of dyeing, you should try more methods to try to remove the stains. If you have not washed the coat with water and detergent, try that first. If cool water doesn't work, try soaking in very hot water. If that's not enough, try soaking it in hot water with a strong oxygen-based cleaner, such as OxyBoost.
After this treatment, including the machine drying step that restores DWR finishes, check to see if the coat still has any water-repellence ability. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the coat (this is to be done only after it is fully dry). If the water beads up, your DWR finish is working well. If there is absolutely no sign that the water is beading up, then perhaps I am mistaken about your coat's having a DWR finish.
None of the above cleaning steps will be wasted, even if you do dye the coat. Even if the coat has no DWR finish, it must still be cleaned as thoroughly as possible before you should even consider dyeing it. Stains always show right through any dye, unless it's a very large amount of dye applied very dark, or unless a variegated-color form of dyeing, such as tie-dyeing or LWI, is used to distract the eye from the former stains. Treatment with several packets at once of Rit Color Remover (a much better product that Rit Dye) in the hottest possible water will take out many dyes and stains, so it's a good step to take before dyeing, if the coat doesn't have any waterproofing at all.
If the coat does have a DWR finish, then the only thing you can do is try to remove stains and renew the finish. I recommend Nikwax TX-Direct products, in either the wash-in or the spray-on forms. You can get these and similar products in other brands from an REI store, or another store that caters specifically to backpackers.
If there is no DWR finish, you can consider dyeing. The combination of polyester and polyurethane is a questionable one for dyeing, unfortunately. Polyester must be boiled in a special polyester dye, because the dye will not work if applied in merely hot water, and no other type of dye will work; it really has to be near boiling. The microporous polyurethane membrane, on the other hand, may be damaged badly by boiling temperatures. Even if damage is not a concern, in order to apply the polyester dye to your coat, you would need a very large cooking pot, one large enough for the coat to move in freely as you stir it in the water. A smaller pot will result in a splotchy or even tie-dyed effect. A sufficiently large cooking pot will be extremely expensive, especially if you follow the rule that says never to reuse a dyeing pot for food. It would probably cost less to buy a new coat.
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