Acid dye in a bucket? or styrofoam
  • Hi there!

    I've never used acid dye before but normally when i do a dying project I use a 15 gal plastic bucket or a big old styrofoam cooler. The styrofoam cooler is my favorite because it holds the heat and i dont risk having the dye damage a pot or my washer. (Sadly, I once lived with a red washer for months.) So my question is, will Acid Dye react with styrofoam (or plastic) or is it safe to try immersion dying with those materials as the "tubs"?

    thanks for your help!
  • Hi Merideth,

    My first thought when I saw your post was "don't think the styrofoam is going to hold up to the heat". And given the temps necessary to really get the most out of Acid dyes I'm not figuring out how that would be a viable container.
    Tell us a little more about what you are dying and your methods - and maybe Paula will have something to add.

  • That was my first thought, too, Anet, but disposable styrofoam coffee cups can handle boiling water. A styrofoam cooler should at least be able to hold temperatures higher than the 140°F that's the maximum anyone in the US is likely to reach with immersion dyeing in a washing machine. Try to hold it at at least 185°F if possible, for at least half an hour. I don't think that a chemical reaction with the acid or the dyes should be a problem, though the cooler should not be reused for food. Follow the recipe as closely as you can.

  • ...I can only plead a temporary lapse of memory - I'm certianly old enough to remember those excruciatingly hot cups of coco (in styrofoam) my mother would allow us on road trips. Thanks, Paula!
  • Hi All,

    Ok so with Paula's input, things are sounding promising. I'm planning to dye a wool sweater (thrift store find, so nothing dear) but since I dont want it to felt up, I don't want to do it in the washer and I dont have a pot big enough to accomodate the sweater for stove-top dying.

    A while back, I'd saved a styrofoam cooler that Omaha Steaks were shipped in thinking it might be a good tub for dying, though at that time, I'd only dyed cotton. And no worries, I'd never use it for food...ha! And ew.
  • The one worry I have is that you're supposed to avoid sudden temperature changes for wool, so you don't want to pour boiling water on it, do you?

    Maybe you could gradually bring the sweater to the desired temperature, without dye, in your good cooking pot on the stove, then transfer it to the dyebath in the cooler, following theinstructions as much as possible.

  • That's a very good point. i wonder if i couldnt double-batch it, as it were. Bring the sweater up to temp. in plain water in one pot, while heating the dye/water in a second pot then mixing them in the styrofoam cooler for actual dye bath.