Cause of fading?
  • Hi there, I am not new to tie dying. I have always use procion MX dyes, and I have never had an issue with fading. I rinse my shirts in the sink until the water mostly runs clear, and then I wash them in my front loading washer either on cold or warm, using my regular detergent.

    I decided to try three new things on a new batch this week, and I experienced major fading. 1) I put urea in the dye bottles, 2) I washed the load with just synthrapol, and 3) I washed on hot water. The colors looked fine until after I pulled the shirts out of the washer.

    My question is, which is those is the most likely culprit to have caused the fading? I am guessing either the synthrapol or the hot water.

    Thanks a lot!
  • It's probably a combo of the synthrapol and the hot water. Either way it indicates that the dye may not have been completely set. How long did you leave the tie dye?

    Synthrapol gets all the unreacted dye out, the stuff that is not bonded to the fabric, so it can make the color appear lighter. The hot water opens up the fiber, and allows more dye to wash out, but even that should not affect procion that much. I'm a little surprised by this.

    The Urea should make your fabric darker not lighter.

    Any chance that the dye sat with soda ash in the bottle longer than usual? Soda ash makes the dye much darker, but it also inactivates the dye after a few hours, so if you mix the soda ash with the dye, it has a lifespan of about 5-7 hrs, and then it is much lighter than it was before.
  • Hi, thanks for your reply. I did not mix the soda ash in the dye bottle. I think what may have happened is my soda ash water got contaminated by some treated clothespins. They turned the water brown.

    I did another batch of shirts, soaked in a fresh bucket of soda ash water, and the colors turned out a lot better.
  • I did wonder if the urea shortens the life of the dyes in the bottles?
  • Urea no, soda ash yes. The urea is a humectant, which is just something that draws water keeping the fabric wet. the longer it stays wet, the darker the dye. So that is really a physical change and not a chemical one. Soda ash is like a chemical sandpaper ripping protons off the fiber and making more spots for the dye to attach.