I need to find a "white" dye which will work on some Nylon mesh garments, something I can use at home.

Name: Doug

Message: I need to find a "white" dye which will work on some Nylon mesh garments, something I can use at home.


Rit Color Remover Removes Dyes
Rit dye powder- color remover 2 oz

Rit Color Remover

Rit Color Remover removes or reduces fabric color before dyeing. It will also safely remove dye stains on solid white items washed by mistake with colored items.


Jacquard neopaque colors

Jacquard Neopaque Fabric Paint

Neopaque Colors are light body opaque acrylics that can be painted, screened, stenciled, marbled, and stamped. Use them on all surfaces, including natural and synthetic fabrics. A light application covers well on black or dark backgrounds.


Rit Whitener & Brightener

In any selection of dyes you see for sale, you will see a variety of colors, but never white. This is because, just as in classical watercolor painting, white is produced by NOT adding color on top of the white background. There is no such thing as white dye! When mixing dye colors, plain water is the white color. Since dye is transparent, it can only add to the color of a garment, never subtract it or cover it up.

If your garments are just a little less bright a white than you want, you can use an optical brightener or fluorescent whitener to make an off-white natural color appear to be a brighter white. They will not whiten dyed fabric. What they do is absorb invisible ultraviolet light and then emit it as visible blue light, creating a "whiter than white" effect. One such product is sold as Rit Whitener and Brightener; another is Dharma Trading Company's Optic Whitener White ST Liquid.

You cannot use dye to whiten a garment which has already been dyed. Instead, you need to remove the dye that is already there. There are many different chemicals which can be used to remove dye: see "What chemicals can be used to remove dye?". All of these chemicals have the potential for damaging your fabric. 

You should never use hypochlorite (household chlorine bleach) on nylon, because it will damage or destroy the fiber. It is possible, however, to use sulfur-based discharge chemicals on nylon, using care to prevent damage. PRO Chemical & Dye provides instructions for using their product Formosul (sodium formaldehyde sulfoxylate) to remove dye from nylon. Rit Color Remover (sodium dithionite plus sodium carbonate) has also been used successfully to remove some dyes from nylon. Both of these products can be used at home. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. Rit Color Remover works better in a dyepot (not made of aluminum or iron) on the stovetop than it does in hot tap water in the washing machine, but in many cases the washing machine method is adequate, and certainly more convenient. (See the instructions for the stovetop method for Rit Color Remover in this May 2006 Dye Forum posting.)

Not all dyes can be discharged. Some dyes will retain their color no matter what chemical or conditions you use to try to strip the dye. Others will change to a completely different and unexpected color. It is impossible to predict whether the dyes in a specific garment are possible to remove, because you never know which dyes were used to color it. Even if you successfully discharge a hundred identical garments from a specific wholesaler, the hundred-and-first garment might fail to lose its color, due to an undisclosed change in the formula of the dye that was used to color it.

Alternatively, to change the color of nylon fabric to white only in specific spots, such as in painting or tie-dyeing, you can use an opaque white fabric paint. If the fabric paint is not opaque, the white will not show against the darker background of the dyed material. Some good brands of opaque white fabric paint include Neopaque by Jacquard Products and PROfab Opaque Textile Paint by PRO Chemical & Dye. 

Fabric paint, acid dyes, and disperse dyes will work well enough on nylon that is untreated or PFP ("Prepared For Printing"), but they will not penetrate or stick well to nylon which contains oils added to ease the spinning or weaving processes. Always prescour your material or garments by washing in HOT water with soda ash and optical-brightener-free detergent, and always do tests to determine whether or not your source material is suitable for use after scouring, as some fabrics cannot be used even after scouring.

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Posted: Saturday - February 16, 2008 at 11:26 AM          

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