Soda ash question.
  • I had dyed some shirts yesterday, and while rinsing them out after 24 hours, I noticed a lot of the two shirts were still white, so I re-dyed them, but now I wonder if the dye will stay after they've already been rinsed?

    I threw out the rest of the soda ash solution, but is there any chance it'd still be in the fabric, even after I rinsed it out? Because the new results of the color are much better, and I'd hate for it to fade away.


    Thanks a lot!
  • Soda ash rinses out very easily. (It's a major constituent of most laundry detergents.) If you redye after rinsing, you must add more soda ash.

    Since you did not resoak your shirts the second time, you need to add soda ash to them and allow them to react with the new dye before you rinse again. If you're doing multicolor direct application tie-dye, like most people, you don't want to reimmerse the shirts the same as you did when presoaking, because the dye will bleed a bit from one section to another. Try spraying on soda ash dissolved in water, after unfolding the shirts, or else soak in a soda ash solution that has been mixed with a lot of salt, as much as can dissolve in the soda ash water, plus a little more to be sure. I think this is about 2 cups of salt per gallon. Adding as much salt as possible to your soda ash solution will reduce the tendency of the dyes to dissolve in it.

    Alternatively you can paint on a liquid sodium silicate solution onto your dyed items for the same sort of reaction. Don't let sodium silicate dry. Sodium silicate is sold under many different names: as PRO Fix LHF and PRO QuickFix by PRO Chemical & Dye, as Drimafix by Batik Oetoro, as Tobafix by Tobasign Dyes, and as AfterFix by Dharma Trading Company.

    Soda ash solution can be stored and reused for many months. It does not go bad. (It does eat through milk jugs, because they are very thin, so use a thicker container for storage.) If you're out of soda ash now, go buy some sodium carbonate (pH Up) from the swimming pool section of your local hardware store. (Check the label to make sure they're not seling you sodium BIcarbonate!) This is my preferred way to buy soda ash.

    For more information, see What is soda ash, and what's it for in dyeing?