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Saturday, July 31, 2010
Does soy fabric require an acid dye or fiber-reactive?
at Paradise Fibers
Washfast Acid dyes
Also known as Nylomine dyes, excellent for use on nylon. One ounce of dye will dye six pounds of fiber!
Country or region: North Carolina
Message: Have you ever dyed soy fabric? I'm curious, would it require an acid dye or fiber-reactive? Granted it's not from an animal, but it is a protein fiber. I haven't found anything conclusive from my research. What do you think? Thank you so much, if you find the time to respond. And if you don't, thank you *thank you, for the wealth of information you provide on your website.
Soy fiber is an interesting case, because normally we think of all plant fibers as cellulose fibers. So many sources distinguish between cellulose plant fibers and protein animal fibers! However, the fact that soy fiber is made from the protein of the soybean makes it chemically much more similar to real silk. Just like silk, soy protein fiber can be dyed with your choice of either acid dyes or fiber reactive dyes.
We don't use fiber reactive dyes with soda ash on wool, but both silk and soy protein fiber are fine with fiber reactive dyes and soda ash. They are both less sensitive to the high pH of the soda ash, which damages the texture of wool. I've found Remazol fiber reactive dyes, such as the ProChem Liquid Reactive Dyes, work well on soy protein fiber.
Of course, acid dyes are also ideal for any protein-based fiber; you may be able to get more intense colors on soy with acid dyes than with fiber reactive dyes. Acid dye should probably be your first choice. Many dyers choose acid dyes for dyeing soy protein fiber. I've seen brilliant results obtained with Jacquard Acid Dye; the WashFast Acid dyes and the Lanaset dyes should work at least as well. In my experience, food coloring does not work nearly as well, as an acid dye, on soy protein fiber or milk protein fiber, as it does on real silk, but then, food coloring is not the best dye for textiles.
Unfortunately, soy protein fiber tends to dye a bit less brilliantly than real silk, regardless of dye type. Not all soy protein fiber will dye equally well. Part of the processing used to turn soybean proteins into a textile fiber can include the chemical reaction called acetylation, which is similar to the process that turns readily-dyeable viscose rayon into difficult-to-dye rayon acetate. It would be wise to test-dye a small amount of any soy-based fiber before investing in a large quantity of it, to be sure that it is as easily dyeable as you wish. Real silk and wool remain the best fibers to dye with acid dyes, in my opinion.
- The October 29, 2007 entry in my Hand Dyeing Q&A blog:
How does the acetylating process makes bamboo into a yarn-worthy fiber? How is soy protein is altered to make into yarn?
- The January 12, 2009 entry:
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Shouldn't I use soda ash to fix pigment dyes?
Country or region: Maine, USA
Message: I am trying to tie dye wicking sports shirts, I have ordered Dharma pigment dye, which states you don't need chemical fixatives, steamers or extensive heat setting. Shouldn't I immerse it in a soda ash solution for 20 minutes for best results?
Don't use any ingredients not specifically called for by the manufacturer's instructions. Soda ash is an excellent fixative for fiber reactive dyes, but not for fabric paints (which include pigment "dyes"), nor for most types of dye other than the fiber reactives. There will be no advantage to you in adding soda ash to your pigment dyes; in fact, doing so might interfere with the binder for the pigment dyes so that they do not set properly.
Dharma Trading Company provides instructions for using their Dharma Pigment Dye System on their website. The only additives you should even consider using are the optional additives described there, but you probably will not want to use any additives at all, other than water.
Pigment dyes and other fabric paints are not true dyes at all. True dyes attach directly to the fiber in the textile, unlike pigments which have no affinity of their own for the textile fiber. Pigment dyes are made by mixing insoluble colored particles, called pigments, with a very thin, highly specialized sort of glue, which holds the particles of pigment to the fiber. Depending on the binder, pigment dyes can work on many different types of fiber. This is why some kinds of pigment dyes work pretty well as a substitute for true dyes on polyester and other fibers. See my page, "Fabric Paints: a different way to color fibers".
You should try tie-dyeing just one or a few pieces as a test, to see how you like the results. Pigment dyes give somewhat different results than you are used to seeing when 100% cotton is dyed with good fiber reactive dyes. Pigment dyes tend to wear off of the fabric in quite a different way than true dyes. There is also a serious risk that the surface treatments on the fabric will interact badly with the application of fabric paints (including pigment dyes), or with true dyes. You will not know whether this is a problem until you try it. (Please let me know how it works out for you!)
If your wicking sports shirts are made of polyester, as are many "performance" fabrics for sports, the other main alternative for coloring them would be disperse dyes, which are usually applied to paper, in the form of disperse dye paints or crayons, and then transferred using the heat of an iron or transfer press. They can also be applied directly and then fixed with high heat. See my page, "Dyeing Polyester with Disperse Dyes". Again, it will be necessary to do some small-scale tests to determine whether the surface finishes interfere at all with the application of the dyes. It is always extremely important to do tests of your materials before beginning any large or expensive project.
Friday, July 23, 2010
What kind of dye is best to use for plastic materials?
Country or region: USA
Message: What kind of dye is best to use for plastic materials?
Plastics vary a lot. Different plastics are made from entirely different materials. This means that completely different dyes must be used, depending on what plastic you have.
A plastic item that is made of nylon, a common material for making frisbee discs, can best be dyed by heating it in water to which an Acid Dye has been added, as well as a mild acid such as vinegar to attain a particular pH. Nylon dyes very well with acid dyes, whether it is nylon that has been woven into textile fibers or solid nylon plastic. All-purpose dyes contain one type of acid dye, the Strong Acid or Acid Leveling type. Better results may be obtained by using a superior acid dye, such as the metal complex (also known as premetallized) acid dyes. It is best to keep the dyebath around 185°F; higher temperatures might warp the shape of the nylon, or damage nylon fabric, but lower temperatures will not work as well in aiding the dye to bond to the fiber. For more information see my page, "How to dye nylon or polyamide".
Polyurethane, another common material for making frisbee discs, can also be dyed with acid dyes, but it can be damaged more easily by high heat. The spandex that gives stretch to our clothing is made out of polyurethane, but it is apt to lose its shape if heated above 140°F (60°C). Polyurethane is also commonly used to make foam materials, such as the padding used in furniture cushion. The 1:2 metal complex acid dyes are the best choice for dyeing polyurethane. In the case of fabrics made from spandex blends, it is best to dye at the lowest temperature that will work, never exceeding 140°F; it works quite well, in most cases, to dye only the other fibers in the blend, ignoring the spandex fibers altogether. For more information, see my page, "How to Dye Spandex", as well as the forum discussions on "Dyed Golf Discs", in the Dye Forum.
Polyester cannot be dyed with any of the dyes listed above, nor with any other dye you are likely to have encountered before now. Polyester can be dyed only with dyes from the class called Disperse dyes. See "Dyeing Polyester with Disperse Dyes". Acid dyes do not attach to polyester. The disperse dye process requires high heat, preferably above boiling temperatures (212°F or 100°C). Temperatures below boiling are quite disappointing. Nylon can be dyed with disperse dyes, but acid dyes are more resistant to washing on nylon. Disperse dyes are also the dye of choice for other synthetic materials such as acrylic and acetate. Polyester is widely used in textile fibers, but also in some resin materials and in the reinforcing resin for fiberglass. Polyester can be made from plastics that are marked with the recycle numbers 2, 4, or 1, so the same dyes that are used for polyester would probably be your best bet for any of these plastics.
Acrylics can be dyed not only with disperse dyes, which are the best and safest choice for home use; they can also be dyed with dyes from a class called Basic Dyes, or cationic dyes. Acrylic plastics may not be not quite the same as the acrylonitrile used in acrylic fibers, so it's possible not all acrylic plastics will dye equally well with basic dyes. Basic dyes are unpleasant to work with, unless you have a properly safety-equipped laboratory; when used at home, they tend to badly stain everything they come in contact with, and some of them are possible carcinogens which I do not like to recommend for use by people who are not trained in laboratory safety procedures. See "Dyeing Acrylic with Basic Dye".
There are other plastics which simply cannot be dyed at home. Some plastics must be dyed while they are still in the liquid form. For example, polypropylene, marked with the recycle logo number 5, is used to make water bottles and also to make some performance sports clothing and stain-resistant carpeting and upholstery material, such as Herculon or Olefin. No matter what color your polypropylene object may be, you will not be able to dye it. It repels water sufficiently that it is unlikely you will even be able to paint a polypropylene material, unless you use a a special paint called Krylon Fusion for Plastics.
Before tackling any large or expensive project, be sure to do a small-scale test of trying to dye your plastic material with the recommended dye, to see how well your results come out. If you do not know what material your plastic is made of, you might try dyeing it as though it is nylon, first, since that is the easiest sort of plastic to dye, and proceed to try other dyes for other types of plastics if that does not work. For heating the dye with your plastic, use a large stainless steel cooking pot that you plan to never again use for food. You will also need a thermometer that you won't be reusing for cooking, in order to maintain your dyebath at the correct temperature for the required period of time.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
How can I purchase your kit, and at what price?
Message: Como posso comprar o seu kit, e a que preço?
The affiliate links you see in the margins of my blog posts are, in many cases, from Blick Art Materials. You can click on the link to go to their site, then add as many items as you wish to a shopping cart. You can pay by credit card. They will ship your order internationally.
You can also order from a dye retailer, such as PRO Chemical & Dye or Dharma Trading Company, which also ship internationally, and tend to have very good prices on their dyes. See my page of "Sources for Dyeing Supplies Around the World". I do not know what regulations or customs fees Brazil imposes on imports for personal use, or whether there are any difficulties posed specifically in shipping to Brazil. It is best to order by telephone so that you can ask about this question.
The closest e-mail retailer of Jacquard Products' brand of Procion MX dyes to Brazil that I know of is in Chile, not particularly convenient to your location. They are the Batik Co. in Santiago, and they do sell by mail-order. You might want to compare prices, including shipping prices, to see whether or not the US companies may be more economical even after paying for shipping and any fees.
Friday, July 16, 2010
I have a light blue dress that is 96% rayon and 4% spandex. I would like to dye it black.
Message: I have a light blue dress that is 96% rayon and 4% spandex. I would like to dye it black. Is this possible and if so what kind of dye should I get?
Yes, this will work, if your light blue dress is washable and is free from any sort of stain-resistant or wrinkle-free surface finish. The only drawback is that the stitching holding the dress together at the seams is almost certainly made of polyester, which will remain the original color after you dye the dress. Whether or not this is a problem depends on how much of the stitching shows, and how formal the style of the dress is.
As a general rule, it is best and easiest to skip dyeing the spandex content of spandex blends, and dye only the non-spandex content. Since your dress is 96% rayon, this will not be a problem. Chances are that the spandex fibers are not even visible except when the fabric is being stretched. See my pages "How to Dye Spandex" and "How to Dye Rayon".
You will need to buy a good fiber reactive black dye. (See "About Fiber Reactive Dyes".) Do not use an all-purpose dye, such as Rit, because all-purpose dyes don't stay black very long, and all-purpose dyes require hot water, which is bad for spandex. I recommend that you buy an eight-ounce jar of black Procion MX dye. If you're in New York City and want to buy it locally, see Aljo Mfg. in Manhattan. Otherwise, mail order from Aljo or another dye supplier such as PRO Chemical & Dye in Massachussetts. For links and contact information for these and other dye sellers, see my page, "Sources for Dyeing Supplies Around the World".
You will also need soda ash or washing soda, to set the dye, which you can either buy along with your dye, or pick up at a swimming pool supplier of hardware store. You will need a large quantity of ordinary non-iodized salt, as well, since you will be dyeing in a large amount of water.
The easiest way to dye a garment a solid color with fiber reactive dye is to use a washing machine. Alternatively, you can do the same thing with a five-gallon plastic bucket, and do a lot of stirring. See "How can I dye clothing or fabric in the washing machine?".
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Where to buy dyes and dyeing supplies in Colombia
Country or region: COLOMBIA
Message: HOW TO BUY THIS PRODUCT IN MY COUNTRY
Are you asking about where to buy fiber reactive dyes? Take a look at my page, "Sources for Dyeing Supplies Around the World". Unfortunately, the nearest dye supplier on the list is in Chile. I have been unable to find the name of a dye supplier in Colombia who sells small quantities of dyes, suitable for individual artists.
However, there are several suppliers in the US who will ship their dyes to Colombia, such as Dharma Trading Company and PRO Chemical & Dye, both of which have very low prices for small jars of dye, compared to many other hobby dye retailers. See my Sources for Dyeing Supplies page for contact information for these and other dye retailers.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Trying to find a recipe for applying dye in soy wax batiking
Country or region: USA
Message: I am trying to find a recipe for applying dye in soy wax batiking. I know I need to use sodium alginate but I am not sure how to fix the dye. When I tried this at friends the Soda Ash was in the mix along with the sodium alginate and the dye.
What kind of dye are you using? Is it Procion MX dye? It is very important to use only fiber reactive dye, such as Procion MX or Drimarene K dyes, when using this recipe. It will not work for all-purpose dye, such as Rit dye.
There's a copy of Michael Fowler's recipe on my dye thickeners page, which sounds like just what you're looking for; it's not essential to use blenders, as he does. See "Sodium alginate, Superclear, and other dye thickeners":
You don't have to use sodium alginate in your dye mix, in order to work with soy wax. Alginate is a thickener; use it if you want your dyes to be thicker than water. I usually don't use it, myself, but it's important in some techniques, to keep the dye from spreading and blending as much.
Soda ash can be added either before the dye (in the soda ash pre-soak commonly used for tie-dyeing), or along with the dye as you're planning to do, or, in some cases, after the dye (the latter usually being used for LWI and vat dyeing). See "What is soda ash, and what's it for in dyeing?". When mixing the soda ash directly with the dye, be sure to use the dye immediately after you mix in the soda ash, because the dye instantly starts reacting with whatever's in front of it, whether it's your textile fiber or just the water in the dye mix, as soon as the soda ash goes in. Try to use it up within half an hour or less. You can save a separate soda-ash-free bottle of your dye mix to add soda ash to just before use, if you need to keep working longer than that. It's typical to add about half a teaspoon (2 or 3 ml) of soda ash per cup of dye mix (which is about 250 ml).
Urea is not required, but it is nice for retaining moisture in your dyed stuff when leaving it to react overnight. It is essential to maintain a bit of moisture, for the dye-fiber reaction to continue. Covering with plastic wrap will work just as well, if you omit the urea, but it's more trouble.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
My dye sites have all been used up by discharging and redyeing. Can I use a different type of dye?
Country or region: New York
Message: I have worked with dyes since around 1980 for around the home uses. I have periodically looked at your website when I had a question. You are one of the most knowledgeable people I have run across. I have a question: When I have made too many discharges and redyeings of the same fabric, eventually the dye (MX) won't take. I have read that this has to do with the dye sites being used up. My question is can I try using a different class of dye like iDye which I think is a basic dye not a fiber reactive dye to try to save my project? The fabric is linen/rayon. If you don't know, can you suggest where to look? Thanks
That must be a great many cycles of redyeing and discharge! How many times do you think you've dyed and bleached one of these pieces?
My experience on using up dye sites is that it depends hugely on the thickness of the material you are dyeing. A very thin sheer silk runs out of dye sites quite quickly, allowing perhaps only two rounds of dyeing. A thick woven or knitted fabric almost never seems to run out of dye sites. In many cases, I find that washing and drying the material, preferably in hot water, helps to physically move the textile fibers around within a piece, exposing more dye sites. I think that machine drying is probably more effective for this than line-drying, simply because it involves more physical movement of the fibers. Unfortunately, with rayon, which is notorious for its lack of wet strength, you must be careful not to subject the wet fabric to too much wear, or it will develop holes.
It's interesting that discharge does not restore the ability of the site on the fiber to bond to dye. We generally imagine that bleaching or other types of discharging removes dye. However, that's really not how it works. The way oxidative bleaches, such as the hypochlorite in household bleach, work, is by breaking up the dye molecules, which leaves part of the dye molecule still bonded to the fabric. The way reductive discharge agents work, such as Thiox or Rit Color Remover, is by reducing some of the double bonds in the dye chemical to turn it into a colorless version, again leaving the dye molecule in place. This explains how household bleach often produces odd colors even on known single-hue dyes, such as turning a red dye (Procion Red MX-5B) into a beige color, when the broken-up version of a dye happens to be another color of dye. Of course many dyed items are dyed with a mixture of dyes, so if one dye in the mix is more susceptible to a given discharge agent, the other colors in the mix will suddenly show up, which tells us nothing about how discharging acts on the dye molecules.
Your point about trying an entirely different class of dyes is a good one, and one well worth testing. iDye does not, in fact, contain a basic dye. Instead, it contains direct dyes. (In contrast, iDye Poly contains disperse dyes, for dyeing synthetic fibers only, not including viscose rayon.) See "About Direct Dyes". Since direct dyes attach to the fiber in an entirely different way than reactive dyes do, it is likely to continue to work even if you can no longer get reactive dyes to work.
The fact that they are direct dyes, rather than basic dyes, is fortunate, because basic dyes perform remarkably poorly on cellulose fibers, such as rayon and linen. Direct dyes lack the washfastness of reactive dyes, but that can be corrected by the use of a cationic dye fixative, such as Retayne. Nothing can correct the poor lightfastness of basic dyes on cellulose.
Direct dyes are not the best choice for dye painting, but they will work well for bound resist, such as tie-dyeing or other forms of shibori. They are unsuitable for use with a wax resist in batik, because direct dyes work best in very hot water, hot enough to soften wax; however, some batik artists use direct dyes, compromising on the dyebath temperature to protect their wax.
Like reactive dyes, direct dyes vary in their susceptibility to discharge. There is a table showing the properties of specific direct dyes, including lightfastness, washfastness, neutral discharge, and alakaline discharge, on my page about "Lightfastness of Different Types of Dyes". Unfortunately, Jacquard Products keeps it secret which dyes are in their iDye mixtures, so you will not be able to look them up anywhere. You will have to test each different color of iDye that you use, to learn whether or not it will discharge. iDye dyes have a much better reputation than the direct dyes found in all-purpose mixed dyes such as Rit dye or Tintex dye; people seem to be finding them more satisfactory, in spite of the limitations that are inevitable with direct dyes. If you want to be able to know exactly what Direct dyes you are using, complete with their Color Index generic names, you can order them by phone from Aljo Mfg. in New York (call 212-966-4046); if you order from them, please tell them that I sent you to them.
Another potential choice for your linen/rayon blend would be vat dyes. See "About Vat Dyes". They are more complex to use than reactive dyes or direct dyes, but they can work very well, and using an entirely different mechanism than either reactive or direct dyes. They are among the most light-resistant of all dyes, and significantly more wash-resistant than direct dyes. One very popular vat dye is indigo, whether natural or synthetic. Other synthetic vat dyes are available in a wide variety of colors.
Don't neglect the category of fabric paints and pigment dyes, as opposed to real dyes. See "Fabric Paints: a different way to color fibers". Fabric paints can work very well on top of dyes (though I don't recommending putting dyes on top of fabric paints, unless you're specifically using the paints as dye resists). There are some effects, such as metallics and pearl colors, which cannot be obtained with dyes alone. Fabric paints might be exactly what you need to finish your many-times-discharged pieces.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Looking for an intense blue Procion MX dye color
Name: M West
Country or region: USA
Message: TRYING TO FIND A PROCION MX COLOR THAT IS THE CLOSEST TO H Liquid Blue H-5RL 33% AS SEEN ON THE PRO CHEM WEBSITE. THANK YOU SO MUCH
ProChem's Procion H Liquid Blue H-5RL 33% was a beautiful brilliant lapis blue, which they represented on their site by the gorgeous blue color on the left of the two chips below:
ProChem discontinued selling their liquid form of the Procion H dyes, but they still carry the powder form. I believe that their powder PRO Reddish Blue H-5R H-Reactive Dye is probably the same dye, but it is represented by a darker color chip on their web site, as copied in the color chip on the right, above; you will always get a darker color if you use more dye, and a lighter color if you use less dye, relative to the amount of fiber you are dyeing, so it's hard to judge any dye color from a single color chip. It's an anthraquinone dye, known generically as Colour Index Reactive Blue 234.
Among liquid reactive dyes, the Remazol dye, Colour Index Reactive Blue 19, which ProChem sells as their LR406 Intense Blue, is very similar in color to the color chip on the left above, and has a very similar chemical structure, as well, since both are anthraquinone dyes. Here, at the left, is a picture of a woven rayon shirt that I dyed with a combination of Reactive Blue 19 and the brilliant turquoise Reactive Blue 21; look at the more royal blue sections of the shirt to get an idea of what the Reactive Blue 19 dye looks like.
However, I gather from your message that it's the color that you want to duplicate, not the specific dye, and that you would prefer to use Procion Mx dyes. Procion MX dyes are similar in chemical structure to the Procion H dyes, but they react with the fiber you're dyeing at a much lower temperature. Where Procion H dyes require steam-setting, or application in a hot water dyebath, and Remazol dyes work best with hot tap water temperatures of at least 120° Fahrenheit, Procion MX dyes work very well at room temperature. Any temperature over 70°F will work well for Procion MX dyes, when you are using soda ash as the dye fixative, so there is no need for heat-setting at all.
I usually prefer to work with the pure single-hue unmixed Procion MX dyes, as listed on my page, "Which Procion MX colors are pure, and which mixtures?". The most brilliant medium blue among the unmixed Procion MX dyes is reactive blue 163, or Procion Blue MX-G, which ProChem calls Intense Blue, and other dye companies call Cerulean Blue. It is a lovely clear intense blue. (I'm including an image of this dye color from Dr. Steve Mihok's excellent pages on blue dyes for fly traps.) This color is a little more greenish than the color you are seeking. You can 'correct' the color to a truer blue by adding a few grains of red MX-5B (light red or mixing red or magenta, generically known as reactive red 2) or of red MX-8B (fuchsia, or reactive red 11).
The hue of Procion Blue MX-R, which ProChem calls Basic Blue, and Dharma Trading Company calls Sky Blue, is close to the lapis blue you're seeking, but the color is definitely duller and darker, if you use enough dye powder to get an intense blue, so that's probably not what you're after. I would call it more of a navy blue. It's a nice blue, but not clear and bright like Cerulean Blue, and not as useful for mixing other bright colors, either.
You may prefer to buy a pre-mixed brilliant blue Procion MX blue dye. Consider ProChem's 404 Brightest Blue, which is a very popular mixture. Dharma sells a rather similar color in their mixture PR95 Procion Royal Blue. Premixed colors do not work quite as well to use as primaries for mixing other colors, but they are a great convenience whenever you find one that is exactly the color you're looking for.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
I would like to dye my convertible top
Message: Great resource and I think I know your answer from reading your blog. I would like to dye my convertible top which is stained and has some flaws which i think will be covered up going from tan to Black. i don"t think it can be done but thought I would drop you a line.
I'm sorry, but as you suspected, paints and dyes don't have much hope to offer. Most importantly, there's no point in having a convertible top that absorbs water and lets it drip through, so your convertible top must be water-resistant. Water resistance causes a surface to resist both dyes and paints, as well. There is no good way to completely remove any water resistant coating, though getting it dirty enough can temporarily render it less effective than it should be. (Washing with detergent and rinsing well can help restore the performance of water resistant finishes on textiles.)
If it looks really, really, terrible, you could possibly try painting it with an acrylic fabric paint. You can buy acrylic fabric paint ready-made at crafts stores, or make it yourself by adding a difficult-to-fine acrylic textile medium to artists' acrylics. However, the cost in either case will be significant, to cover that large an area, and chances are that the paint will peel off later, thanks to the water-resistant finish already on the top. I cannot recommend that you try any fabric paint or fabric dye that is not marketed specifically for use on convertible tops. ( I would be curious to know how Krylon's special spray paint for plastics would work on this sort of project; the product is called Krylon Fusion for Plastic, but I can't tell you whether it might provide you with any hope. Krylon Fusion for Plastic is good on vinyl, and many (though not all) convertible tops are made of vinyl.)
Whatever you do, don't even bother with a hot-water all-purpose dye such as Rit dye, which has no chance of producing the results you want. Rit will work only when simmered in hot water with specific textile fibers, including cotton, wool, and nylon, but not including any other synthetic, such as olefin, polyester or vinyl, and will not work on any fiber when simply painted on, instead of being heated with the fiber in hot water. It will also fade when exposed to water or sunlight. It is essential, in choosing a dye, to pick one that is known to work on the specific fiber content of the material with which you are concerned.
You must start any procedure with a thorough cleaning. Look for a special product made just for cleaning convertible tops. Do not use a bathroom cleaner or other cleanser that contains hypochlorite bleach, because bleach is extremely damaging to synthetic fiber textiles. You could accelerate the wear dramatically, if you clean with the wrong product. I have seen recommendations for products called RaggTopp Cleaner and RaggTopp Protectant; I've never used either of these and cannot comment on their effectiveness, but a specialized product would seem to be your best bet by far. Go to an auto-parts store, or look for an online source for products intended for use in restoring and maintaining classic cars, and look for these or another brand of products specially made for cleaning and protecting convertible tops.
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Sunday, July 04, 2010
How bad is an accidental discharge of 8 grams of Lanaset dye into a septic system?
Country or region: U.S.
Message: I have accidentally dumped four to six ounces of a stock solution of Pro Chemical's Sun Yellow Sabraset down the drain into my rural septic system. It was made from a ten gram jar mixed into eight ounces of water. The MSDS on the ProChem site says of this color "Use care to minimize the amount of colored material to reach the sewer." Your site says of this color "No toxic metal." I am a 65 year old retired college professor and I entreat your opinion: How grievous do you perceive this mistake to be?
Not grievous at all. I would not be concerned about any damage occurring from this mistake, which you are unlikely to make frequently. You've accidentally discarded between 5 and 8 grams of this dye into your septic system. This is not a large amount, especially given that it's not a particularly toxic dye.
You've already looked at the sources I would consult. My notes on "Which Lanaset dye colors are pure, rather than mixtures?", indicate that this is a mixture of two reactive dyes, whose CAS numbers are 70247-70-0 and 72479-28-8; the total amount of dye is somewhere between 15% and 25% of the dye powder mixture, by weight. The MSDS [PDF] shows that this Lanaset type dye is not very toxic, given an LD50 that is not determined, but known to be greater than 2g/kg; that is, the dosage at which there is a 50% chance of a fatal poisoning is known to be above that, though we don't know how much above it. A 70-kilogram person would have to consume 140 grams of this dye (or about 5 ounces), all at once, for an exposure on that level.
The MSDS also says, reassuringly, that "Discarded product is not a hazardous waste" — unlike, for example, housepaint or used motor oil. It's far less toxic than such ordinary household products as household bleach. As far as fish are concerned, the LC50 is known to be no less than 500 milligrams per liter of water; 8 grams of dye dye would have needed to be diluted with 16 liters of water to reach this level. That's four gallons. You will probably want to be sure to put at least twice this amount of water today, say 8 or 10 gallons, into your septic tank, including the amount of water that flows from your toilets, shower, sink, and washing machine, in order to dilute the dye and minimize any effects on the microbes in your system. (If you have an old 5-gallon-per-flush toilet, that would be only a total of two flushes, though modern models may use little more than one gallon per flush.)
PRO Chemical and Dye's Studio Safety Guidelines are a good set of rules to consult about their dyes. They also have a good technical support department, which you can contact through their website or by telephoning 1-508-676-3838. I predict that they, too, will say that this was not a horrible mistake, and that no significant degree of harm will have been done to the environment or to your septic system by the disposal of this quantity of dye powder. The situation can be very different, and much more serious, if large quantities consisting of kilograms of dye are discarded without proper treatment by large textile factories.
You might also be interested in reading an earlier question about disposing of chromium-containing dyes, although the dye you are using does not contain chromium. See the October 6, 2006 entry in this blog .
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