For prewashing your fabric, dyeing it, and after washing it, how long should you take to do everything?

Name: Louise


Procion mx fiber reactive cold water dye

Procion MX Dye

cool water dyes
are ideal for tie-dyeing

When mixed with soda ash, Procion dyes are permanent, colorfast, and very washable. You can easily create a palette of brilliant colors ranging from light pastels to deep, vibrant hues.



Synthetic Dyes for Natural Fibersir?t=dyeblog-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0934026238
by Linda Knutson


Synthrapol sizing & dye remover

Synthrapol Sizing &
Dye Remover

Synthrapol is used in hot water to remove excess dye from hand dyed fabrics. It also removes sizing from fabric prior to dyeing. Will assist in obtaining even color when used in the dye bath.


Country or region: US

Message: Hi Paula,
I was just wondering, for prewashing your fabric, dyeing it, and after washing it, how long should you take to do everything? I originally used RIT dye for everything and would take 30 minutes for prewashing, 30 
minutes for dyeing, and minutes for afterwashing, but I have now switched to Procion and don't know if that still applies. I have asked but they havent responded.

Prewashing is the same for any dye. It's important to removing sizings, finishes, and invisible stains from fabric before trying to dye it, no matter what dye you are using, because they can block any dye from reaching the fabric evenly. Use the hottest water that the fabric can tolerate, along with Synthrapol or another detergent, plus washing soda or soda ash for extra cleaning power. (This is completely separate from the soda ash you use to fix Procion dyes, because the soda ash used in prewashing rinses out and is gone.)

The amount of time to spend applying the dye varies according to the recipe you are using. Find a trustworthy recipe and follow it carefully, step by step. It's actually better, when machine-dyeing with Rit all-purpose dye, to reset the machine repeatedly for a full hour, rather than the half-hour you've been using. You will find that Procion fiber reactive dyes are far more satisfactory on cotton than all-purpose dyes such as Rit are, since they last so many times longer and don't bleed and ruin the rest of the laundry if they get mixed in with it, the way all-purpose dyes do.

If you are dyeing in the washing machine, take a look at my page, "How can I dye clothing or fabric in the washing machine?"; there are links to many good recipes on that page. Choose just one recipe and stick to it. Read other recipes to get an idea of what they have in common, and to decide which recipe you want to use, but use only one recipe at a time.

Unlike all-purpose dye, which is fixed by hot water, Procion dye is fixed with soda ash or washing soda. Your recipe should tell you to agitate your fabric with dye and salt for a few minutes without the fixer, then add the soda ash and agitate between half an hour and a full hour. It is best to add only a third of the soda ash at first, agitate another few minutes, add another third of the soda ash, agitate, and then finally add the rest of the soda ash. Adding the fixative gradually allows it to penetrate all of the fabric evenly for a smooth solid color. Reset the timer on your washing machine repeatedly so that the water and dye do not drain out. It's best to agitate for a total of one full hour (carry a timer with you so you don't forget to reset it each time it reaches the end of a cycle), but cutting this short to half an hour will work as well with the Procion dyes as it did with your all-purpose dyes. Also, just as with Rit dye, results are better if you don't use hard water for dyeing; if you have hard water, an easy solution is to add some of the water softener that Dharma and other dye suppliers sell.

Washing out after dyeing is quite different with fiber reactive dyes than it is with all-purpose dyes. Using hot water will cause all-purpose dye to run and fade badly, since it is not attached to the fabric very strongly. However, using hot water is completely safe on properly-bonded Procion dye; hot water will wash out only the unattached excess dye. The best procedure is to wash your freshly-dyed fabric once in cool or room-temperature water, to get rid of the soda ash and the salt and some of the dye. You don't have to use detergent in this step, but if you do, use a dyer's detergent such as Synthrapol or Dharma Textile detergent. Next, wash the Procion-dyed fabric in the hottest water available to you, preferably 140°F or hotter, with or without Synthrapol or any other laundry detergent. Two rounds of washing in hot water are usually sufficient, but if you are using the fabric in a pieced quilt you can do a hot press test to be sure all of the unattached dye has been removed.

For more on washing out after dyeing, see "How to wash out after dyeing with Procion dyes".

(Please help support this web site. Thank you.)

Posted: Thursday - August 02, 2012 at 11:54 AM          

Follow this blog on twitter here.

Home Page ]   [ Hand Dyeing Top ]   [ Gallery Top ]   [ How to Dye ]   [ How to Tie Dye ]   [ How to Batik ]   [ Low Water Immersion Dyeing ]   [ Dip Dyeing ]   [ More Ideas ]   [ About Dyes ]   [ Sources for Supplies ]   [ Dyeing and  Fabric Painting Books ]   [ Links to other Galleries ]   [ Links to other informative sites ] [ Groups ] [ FAQs ]   [ Find a custom dyer ]   [ search ]   [ contact me ]  

© 1999-2011 Paula E. Burch, Ph.D. all rights reserved