National Clothesline
National Clothesline
Dyeing fabrics with synthetic dyes
There are many dyes available for wholesale dyeing, but for individual dyeing of fabrics I recommend Rit dyes.
Rit dyes can be obtained in most large retail centers and they come in various shades of color.
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If you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, the dyeing can be effective. Rit dyes are classified as direct dyes. You can use these dyes to increase the color of a faded garment, change the color or cover a discoloration. If you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and my suggestions, dyeing can be rewarding and profitable.
I have used the Rit dyeing process many times. The process can be used to increase the intensity of dark garments which have faded from wear or use. Rit dyes, as mentioned, are direct dyes and most effective on wool, silk, cotton, linen and rayon. The important thing about using direct dye is to keep the water temperature hot (140° to 160°F).
Preparation for dyeing
Before any dyeing takes place, the garment to be dyed should be thoroughly cleaned. Any soil, wax or dirt remaining on the fabric will inhibit the results of dyeing.
If the fabric has been drycleaned it should be thoroughly rinsed to remove any detergent. If the garment has been wetcleaned, it should be clear rinsed. If the garment has been bleached or any chemical used, it should be properly neutralized before dyeing is attempted.
Most dyeing should be done on a white or off-white fabric. If a color is to be changed, it first must be bleached to a white color.
A dark color can be made darker only with the same color. For example, a black color can be deepened with more black. A blue color cannot be made black by overdyeing with blue. This will result in a different shading on fabric.
Remember, customers should be made aware that dyeing entire fabrics is at their own risk. The purpose of dyeing fabrics is to try to restore a completely unusable and unwearable garment to a wearable condition.
Procedure for dyeing in a washing machine
You should carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions before using.
Shake the bottle to disperse the dye pigments in the solution.
Make the water as hot as possible — 140° to 160°F. An easy way to heat water is to put it in a bucket and then place a steam gun in the bucket and then maneuver the pedal to heat the water.
Add more hot water to the washing machine on a low level.
Add the Rit dye to the washer and allow the washer to begin agitating.
Wet the fabric before entering it into the washing machine.
Add salt and acetic acid for dye setting purposes. One tablespoon of salt per gallon of water and two ounces of 28% acetic per gallon of water. Run the washer for 30 minutes.
Rinse in cool water.
Add fabric softener to the rinse water to enhance the color.
Extract and dry.
Run the washer with chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) to clean the dye from the washer.
Run wet, dark clothes in the dryer to remove any residual dye from the dryer.
Dyeing in a bucket or pail
You can add Rit dye to a bucket using hot water (140° to 160°F).
Use half the amount of dye to hot water.
Shake the bottle and add dye.
Stir, using a wood paddle.
Add salt and acetic acid.
Wet the garment.
Put the garment in a bucket and soak for 30 minutes.
Agitate, using a wood paddle.
Rinse in cool water.
Extract the garment and dry in a dryer.
Tea dyeing
Tea dyeing is used to create an off-white fabric. It is frequently used to dye wedding gowns and veils. It can be used to dye tablecloths and other fabrics and can create an antique look. It cannot be used on thermo-plastic fabrics such as polyester, nylon, acrylic and acetate.
Tea dyeing is most effective when done in small buckets or pails rather than the washing machine.
Methods for tea dyeing
Place a gallon of hot water in a bucket with several tea bags and allow it to steep. You can also brew hot tea and continue to add to the bucket.
Once the desired shade has been achieved, remove the tea bags. Remember, the hotter the water and deeper the color the more absorption into the fabric. Even if you have a lighter color in the bucket of tea, the fabric will eventually oxidize and darken.
Before placing the item in the bucket, it is advisable to wet the item first. This will allow a better and more even absorption.
While soaking, do not add vinegar to set the tea dye. Vinegar will lighten the application. Add salt to aid in setting of the tea dye. Add two tablespoons of salt per gallon of water.
Soak from 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse in cool water. Extract in the washing machine and dry.
For a deeper concentration and intensity of color, do not rinse in cool water. Simply extract the item in the washing machine and then dry in your dryer.
Allow the garment to hang for a few days. This will result in the tea oxidizing and further darkening the color.
Dan Eisen is the former chief garment analyst for the Neighborh