Front-Loading Washer
  • I am working on a batik project, and was wondering if you had any advice for immersion dying using a front-loading washer. Mine has a drawer to load detergent (liquid or dry), liquid fabric softener and liquid bleach, so there are different options for adding materials throughout a cycle.

    - Suzanne
  • Your description of your machine matches mine...and I don't love mine. I don't know if you've had this problem with yours, but I find that the wash cycle often doesn't clear out chlorine bleach and if I don't run a buffer cycle (usually stuff that can stand a little bleach) there's a chance I'll get bleach on the next load. I think that spells doom for using dyes in the washer as I suspect the colors might linger in the inner workings.

    There's a whole lot you can't do in them--soaking for instance. I've found that although it will felt just about anything that has even a smidgeon of wool in it, it will only felt it so far. To really finish the felting I have to wash and dry it several times.

    One good thing, I just washed some superwash wool I'd dyed and it came out beautifully unfelted--even without a protective bag. I wasn't at all sure that it wouldn't find a way to felt even this yarn

    I have found that Sodium Perporate works better than bleach even despite mine lacks a hot/hot cycle and only has a hot/cold.
  • hi Suzanne, hi empath,

    Most front loading washers are problematic when trying to immerse dye. One isn't able to easily (or at all) create a bath which allows the fiber to be quickly and thoroughly saturated. That can lead to streaky or blotchy color. Then there is the issue of extending the cycle time - I haven't yet heard of a front loader which allows one to simply 'turn back the dial' on the cycle and in most cases you will want to allow your fabrics up to 60 minutes in the dye bath.
    And, I too recall that there seems to always be a bit of water from the last cycle lurking at the bottom of the drum under the inner drum.
    All in all I suspect you'd be happier all around if you 'borrowed' a friend's top loader or tub dyed. Also - have you considered low water immersion? I've seen very nice results with batik'd pieces.

    if you've any other questions let us know.
  • Hi,

    I'm new to this forum, and new to several types of dying. After purchasing my front loading washer (I love it), I tried the other methods of immersion dying; I failed miserably every time. I was thinking of purchasing cheap top loader so I could dye again.

    I was impatient, had things to dye so I risked it and used my front loading machine. I was dying silk and it came out beautifully. I had always run a batch of hot water and bleach after using my top loader; I did the same with the front loader, then a batch of only super hot water to rinse the drum.

    It is recommended that you do this with front loaders as regular maintenance. Due to the design, you use very little water. It’s also important to clean the detergent drawer on a regular basis.

    That being said, I will write down all of the steps I follow when dying. If I’m not paying attention, I do something out of habit forget to mention it and things don’t work out for others.

    I also want to mention that I have a hidden disability, and machine dying is the only practical option for me.
  • Misty,

    Thanks so much for your input...Now I can't wait to make the time to try some silk dying at home in my front loader!