Do you have any tips for successfully using Retayne on new, unwashed clothing?

Name: Ellen


Retayne color fixative solution-4 ounce

Retayne Color Fixative Solution

Retayne is a color fixative for commercially dyed cotton linen and rayon fabrics that bleed. Use in the washing machine or treat by hand washing with hot water. Always test fabric before washing it for the first time. Only one application is necessary. You can treat 24 yards with one 4 ounce bottle.



Rit Dye Fixativeir?t=dyeblog-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B001JGNPM4

Rit Dye Fixative solves the problem of fading and bleeding when you dye clothes with all-purpose dye. Like all dye fixatives, it cannot be used for tie-dyed clothing. Use one-half bottle per pound of fabric.


Jacquard idye fabric dye -fixative/14grams

Jacquard iDye Fixative

iDye Fixative increases wash fastness, stops bleeding, and helps prevent staining. Works great with Jacquard iDye Fabric Dyes.


Country or region: USA - North Carolina

Message: I have read what you have posted about using Retayne for setting dye in purchased clothing. I have 2 pairs of jeans that I know will bleed (have similar ones from the same company). The only reason I won't return them is because the fit is great - so I want to nip the problem of fading in the bud, before I wash or wear the jeans. I tried Retayne on a pair that had been washed and it helped. Do you have any tips for successfully using Retayne on new, unwashed clothing? The instructions I have found are generally vague - just wondering if there are any extra steps I should take to ensure success. Thanks for your help and for a GREAT website. I learned so much that was helpful when I set out to dye a faded pair of jeans.

If the jeans were dyed in the usual fashion, with indigo, then some fading will happen no matter what you do. This is because the manufacturers deliberately choose inferior dyeing practices, since people usually want their jeans to fade. The fashion for non-fading jeans is relatively recent, for this turn on the wheel of fashion, and manufacturers have not changed their dyeing practices to reflect the current desire for dark denim.

In some cases, the dye is not attached to the fiber properly, a serious fault because it can cause crocking, in which dry dye rubs off onto furniture and other clothing, ruining it. I've gotten sad letters about purses, shoes, jackets, or couches which have become permanently stained with indigo from extremely poorly-dyed indigo denim jeans.

In other cases, the manufacturers deliberately choose to create a dyeing fault called ring dyeing, in which only the outermost layer of each cotton fiber is dyed; this means that even a small amount of wear, by removing the top surface of the fiber, removes the dyed section, exposing the white inside of the fiber. This creates an effect of instant age, an effect which has come back into fashion many times over the years, without the drawbacks of loose dye that will ruin other items.

Although you are avoiding it for this pair of jeans, in general, if there is crocking, the first thing to do is to wash the jeans in the hottest water you can, hoping to wash out any unattached particles of dye. This will work to prevent crocking if the dyeing was not done too badly, but it will not work in the worst cases. Of course, this step will do nothing to preserve the original dark color of the denim (in fact, it may accelerate its loss), but it can help prevent damage to other items, in mild cases. You can add a half cup of vinegar to the rinse water, if you like, as a fabric softener (use less in front-loading washers), but vinegar will not fix the indigo. Sometimes people who know nothing about dyeing claim that vinegar can be used to set dyes in purchased clothing, but it's not true. If it seems to work, it's only because the additional washing itself helps removing the last bits of unattached dye, reducing the chance of bleeding dye afterwards.

Retayne works very well on many types of dye, but it does not work on the indigo used to dye most denim for jeans. If your jeans have been dyed with another type of dye, then Retayne will help to fix it. Retayne works well on poor dyes like Rit, and it can help considerably to make dye more permanent if the jeans were dyed with another kind of cotton dye, called direct dye; it even helps fix fiber reactive dye that has not been fixed to the fabric properly. Retayne is more likely to help in cases in which the denim has been dyed unusual colors, such as a black-blue that is darker than denim blue, or another color altogether such as black, green, or brown.

Retayne is very easy to apply. To use Retayne, all you need is a large enough bucket, a long-handled spoon or stick for stirring, and a source of very hot water. You can also apply Retayne in a older top-loading washing machine, but not in a front-loading washing machine or a high-efficiency washing machine, because they do not allow you to use enough water. Here is the method:

1. First weigh your jeans, while they are still dry, so that you know how many pounds of fabric you have to treat.

2. If you are using a five-gallon plastic bucket, place your jeans in the bucket, and cover the jeans with enough VERY HOT water for them to move freely when stirred. You may need to heat some of the water on your stovetop in order to get your Retayne bath hot enough; it should be 140°F (or 60°C), which is hotter than most people set their water heaters to these days.

3. Remove the jeans to one side and, wearing waterproof gloves, mix the Retayne with the water, using one tablespoon (15 milliliters) of Retayne for every pound of dry fabric. (You would use one teaspoon for a yard of quilting fabric, which typically weighs about a third of a pound.)

4. Return the jeans to the water and soak them for half an hour, stirring occasionally to make sure all areas of the fabric are exposed equally to the Retayne. Wear gloves to avoid skin exposure to Retayne.

5. Launder the jeans as usual in cool water before wearing.

Unfortunately, Retayne will not work well to fix indigo. Most jeans are dyed with a particular dye called indigo, synthetic in origin but chemically identical to the indigo from plants. This dye falls into a peculiar category of dyes called vat dyes, in which the dye molecules do not actually attach to the fiber in the usual way. Instead, they are first chemically "reduced" to a water-soluble form, which penetrates the cotton fibers; then, when they are returned to the original "oxidized" state, they revert to insolubility, meaning that any particles of dye that are stuck inside the fiber are there to last.

Inferior dyeing practices leave a lot of indigo dye particles on the outside of the fibers, where it cannot be fixed. Good dyeing creates indigo-dyed fabric that will keep its color well, without dye bleeding; the fading of properly-dyed indigo jeans takes place as the dyed layers of cotton are worn away physically. Bad dyeing creates indigo that bleeds into the wash water, or that crocks, rubbing off on other clothing or furniture when worn.

The reason why Retayne does not fix indigo is because of the way it works. It is not a sticky glue. Instead, it is a positively-charged chemical. Both cotton and most dyes are negatively-charged molecules. Just as the north pole of a magnet will cling to the south pole of another magnet, Retayne will cling, by its electrical charge, to both the dye molecules and the cotton fiber molecules. Unfortunately for this, indigo is not a negatively-charged dye. Vat dyes, including indigo, have no positive or negative charge at all; their method of functioning works only on the change from a soluble form of the dye to an insoluble form. This means that Retayne does not work to fix indigo dye on fabric. In contrast, all-purpose dyes, direct dyes, fiber reactive dyes, and acid dyes are all negatively-charged molecules, so Retayne works quite well to encourage increased washfastness between dyes in those classes and the natural fibers on which they are used.

The only way to make indigo permanent, so that it does not fade, is to apply it correctly. There is no way to retroactively make the indigo in jeans stay dark forever. However, the color will stay dark longer if you always, every single time, turn your jeans inside-out before washing, so that there is less wear on the outside of the jeans, and always wash them in cool water. Cool wash water helps to keep dyes from washing out. Using cool water for laundering also extends the time over which Retayne is effective; laundering in hot water can eventually wash out the Retayne. You need hot hot water to apply Retayne, but hot hot water can also help to remove Retayne, so don't make a habit of washing in it.

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Posted: Friday - January 18, 2013 at 09:04 AM          

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