Can I fix this dye with soda ash? 

Name: Juliana


Jacquard Tie Dye Kit

Jacquard Tie Dye Kit

Dye up to 15 adult-size T-shirts, with vivid, electric Procion MX colors that are so colorfast they can be washed with the daily laundry.


Procion MX Fiber Reactive Cold Water Dye

Procion MX Dye

ideal for cotton, rayon, linen, and silk

Procion MX dyes are the most popular fiber reactive dyes for hand dyeing.

Message: Hello! 

I hope you have the time to reply to my question, your website is excellent and I've really enjoyed reading it!

I'm based in the UK, and trying to dye some cotton baby clothes. I have some of this dye but no fixer, and the company that make it have discontinued the fixer. Can I fix this dye with soda ash? 

I'm afraid that I can't be sure from the description on the site you linked to. This liquid dye might be a Remazol dye or another fiber reactive dye, which could be fixed with soda ash, or it might be a fabric paint, instead, in which case the 'fixative' might be some sort of acrylic catalyst. There are many fabric paints that do not work well on synthetic fibers, so the fact that these are recommended for natural fibers only does not rule them out. It's also possible that the fixer is a cationic dye fixative, similar to Retayne, which works on both direct dyes and acid dyes; these fixers often contain formaldehyde.

What you should do is run a test. Get some soda ash, or washing soda, trisodium phosphate (a cleaner used on walls before painting), or sodium silicate solution, and test your dye on a scrap of cotton fabric, or a handerchief or something similarly small. Use two separate pieces of fabric. Soak one in a mixture of about a teaspoon of soda ash dissolved in water; you don't have to be precise, half a teaspoon is plenty, also. Leave the other piece untreated, or soak it in plain water. Then apply some of the dye you have to each piece of fabric. Keep it in a warm place long enough for the dye to react, then wash the fabric out, separately. If what you have is a fiber reactive dye, then you should see a major difference between the two. If what you have is a fabric paint that requires an acrylic catalyst or something like that, then you will see that the soda ash does not make a big difference.

I'm hoping that what you have is this dye here: Remazol Fiber Reactive Dyes, like the old Createx liquid dyes, or possibly Drimarene K dyes, which are another sort of fiber reactive dye that can be used with the same recipes. I suspect that the "Handcraft Craft Dye Fixer" is a sodium silicate solution, like Tobasign's fixer Tobafix, or Dharma Trading Company's AfterFix. You can substitute soda ash for sodium silicate, though the application method is usually different.

I think that fiber reactive dyes, such as Remazol or Drimarene K dyes, or Procion MX dyes, are the best choice for coloring baby clothes. Since they form a permanent chemical bond to cotton or silk, when fixed with soda ash, properly applied fiber reactive dyes are the least likely to have any effect on the baby. It is important to wash out all of the unattached excess dye molecules after dyeing, by washing once in cold water and then as many times as necessary in very hot water.

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Posted: Tuesday - April 14, 2009 at 07:48 AM          

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