Using HE washing machine
  • I have a question about using a front loading high efficiency (HE) washing machine during tie dyeing process. I received some helpful information from Janice at Dharma Trading Company. I wondered if anyone on this forum also had information.

    So far, all of the tie dying resources I have seen talk only about regular top loading washing machines for pre-washing garments, washing out after dyeing, etc. I have not found any that discuss the use of HE machines. In case you are not familiar with them, HE washing machines are quite different from regular top loading machines. They use much less water. You cannot prefill them with water like you can with a top loading machine. You have to use special HE laundry soap (concentrated, low-sudsing). For other types of wash additives, you usually use less than in a regular top loading machine.

    Do any of you have experience using an HE washing machine during the tie dyeing process? Does Synthrapol or the Professional Textile Detergent sold by Dharma work with HE washers. What about other additives used in the tie dye process? Do you have to use different amounts? Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

  • We have done tie dye projects both pre-HE and post-HE machines and did not do anything different with the HE washer.

    I have not noticed a difference in the results.

    Here is what I normally do:

    1. prewash anything brand new to remove the sizing, always 100% cotton
    2. soak, tie and dye, let sit for AT LEAST 24 hours
    3. rinse really well in the garden hose outside
    4. remove all the ties, rubber bands etc.
    5. rinse some more in the garden hose outside
    6. rinse in the sink with warmer water until water is mostly clear or I am sick and tired of rinsing, whichever comes first.
    7. run through the washer on 'pre-wash" cycle - no detergent, just a rinse and spin really
    8. wash with regular detergent on an "extra long" cycle (jeans cycle or whatever) in warm water
    8a. Look at my yellows - if they seem a bit grey - like other colors have bled into them a bit, wash another cycle
    9. When my yellows look yellow, dry on high heat (to set the colors)

    Sometimes, if I don't want to have to remember to wash them separately the 2nd time around, I'll go ahead and run them through
    again on a regular cycle, detergent, warm water then dry on medium.

    I've never had a problem with fading or bleeding. And we used black dye the last project when we had the HE washer...

    Hope this helps.