safety of vinegarized ProcionMX dye on cotton
  • Hi I am hoping a dye expert can help with this

    I have a piece of fabric that has a silk thread and a cotton thread. I wanted to acheive a nice contrast with the silk, so I used vinegar in place of soda ash as Paula Burch describes and indeed the silk took brilliantly. The cotton took a very pastel-gray tone of the shade. It is a very nice effect, but I need to make sure it is safe and the dye wont be bleeding and leaching out over time.

    I washed the sample a _ton_ in hot water, with synthrapol massaged directly into the fabric, with near boiling water for many rinses. Finally I boiled the whole thing in water for 5 minutes. The colors of the cotton fiber did not come out at all (the water in my pyrex glass was completely clear). Is it safe to say the dye is quite associated with the fiber?

    I also did a soda ash bath on another sample after rinsing all the vinegar out. Would that help set the dye in the cotton? It did not seem to affect the color for the silk at all, remained quite nice.

    Your help is appreciated! The garment is going to be used with a baby that might chew or drool on it so it needs to be safe.
  • Hi there,

    It seems to me - from your description that you have a solid bond between the fibers and the dye.
    Our dye expert is out of the office for the next couple of weeks, but Paula is an excellent source for expert info and she does have a forum as well.

  • I was out of town myself. As far as this question is concerned:
    Is it safe to say the dye is quite associated with the fiber?
    ...the most definitive answer is to try the hot press test: Dampen the dyed fabric and place it between two clean white cloths, ideally one cotton and the other wool, then press with a hot iron until it is dry. If no color transfers, then you know that the dye that is in the fabric is there to stay.

  • paula: i did the iron test and the cloths were unmistakably white after hot and heavy pressing! i am feeling pretty good about the color being bonded to the fiber since Procion MX dye is so reactive and has such an affinity for the cellulose molecules.

    Thanks for the reassurance! I wanted to hear from an expert since I am also advising some other ladies on dyeing their wraps.

    here's a photo of my sample results of my vinegar procion dyed cotton/silk materia, in case you are interestedl. the dark thread is the silk, the light thread is the cotton. The zigzag stitching on the 2 samples on the left is mercerized cotton which after my boiling and ironing let go of the dye, but the cotton of the wrap kept it!

    Colors from L to R are Dharma's Dusty Rose, Dharma's Deep Purple and Dharma's Wedgewood Blue. They're all pretty true to color except lighter in shade.


    Thanks again for your advice!