Acid dye colourfast problem.. help!
  • Hello! (Hope this is right category)
    I have been having a problem regarding colourfasting for a long while and after reading copious amounts and experimenting am not quite sure where I’m going wrong. There is no instruction for hand painting actual fiber on your website (rather than silk) and I’m not sure if I am mordanting correctly or if this problem is usual?!
    So just to walk you through my process
    I soak 100g of fiber (falkland superwash at the moment) in 100ml of water, I add between 2-3G of citric acid to this to get a ph value of 4.
    I leave to soak for 2 hours at least (usually overnight) and dye with my pre made stock solution (1% dos)
    I then steam this in my electric vegetable steamer (i only use one tier) for about 3 hours, I know it’s a long time but thought it might be heat effecting my colours!
    Anyway.. all is good until I come to rinse, I’m not sure how many rinses are usual but I can never get it to rinse clear. I have tried synthrapol, fairy liquid and plain old water (room temp) I always leave to soak for about 10-15 mins between each rinse but there is always colour running (albeit a very very pale shade) that doesn’t seem to budge no matter how much I rinse (greens seem to be the most persistent)
    SO I thought it must not have bonded properly to the fiber so again I soak in citric acid for a day and steam.. but still the same rinsing problem!
    What I am wondering is if the ph level needs to be more acidic for hand painting as you need to get rid of excess water? I’m still experimenting at the moment but it is a lot of time for little progress right now..
    Anyways, sorry for the lengthy post just getting rather desperate for answers, thanks
    :)
  • Interesting. Hand painting on wool is harder than on silk as wool has a cuticle that is meant to make the hair waterproof for the sheep's benefit. It is a major reason dye doesn't always take to wool as well as it it does silk. This means that when hand painting you probably aren't going to get the same level of absorption, and the dye may rinse more.

    I think your pH level is on target. Going lower can affect the color. I have noticed especially that blacks become more brown and red are affected to by even lower pH ~2.

    The big question I think is the steam hot enough? If the steam isn't 212 F or 100C it may not be setting the dye as well as you want. Can you get a thermometer reading?

    The other thing is that you almost always over saturate the fiber no matter what when you hand paint, so there is usually excess dye.

    So, I have 2 suggestions provided we assume your procedure is correct.

    #1 Solar Fast Wash. I have really fallen in love with this detergent, and I think it is better at getting dye out of fiber than synthrapol is. It really gets that excess dye out and prevents it from bleeding.

    #2 Idye fixative. This is a classic example of a time you need a fixative. When you are getting minimal bleeding, but it just won't go away. This is an electrostatic fixative that helps acid and direct dyes stick to the fabric. After you do you main rinse with detergent, you should do a rinse in a bucket or other container with the Idye fixative included. This should really help with that tiny bit of dye that keeps coming out.

    http://jacquardproducts.com/symfor_solarfast-wash.html
  • Fantastic thank you I will try both these things!
    I actually went and bought a pan to try stove top method and still had the same problem! It’s like I’m cursed and I only used a 1% solution so really bizzaire. The only other thing I can think is that this superwash wool is just freaky it does absorb everything like crazy and not sure if that is effecting my outcome or if it’s just sat in water for too long with the amount of rinsing I am doing.. don’t know if that can effect?!
    I have dyed some alpaca fleece so will see how that compares when dry.
    thanks again hoping this can help solve my problem
    :) lauren
  • Oh, another thing your instructions say 180-200 degrees but your saying 212.. should I be aiming for higher temperature in this case?
  • Ok, so tried both these things and none have helped, when I use the solar fast wash lots of dye comes out I have repeated this along with an after soak about 4-5 times (so about 10 rinses) and still dye coming out, I then tried the fixative but again small amount of dye still leaking. Both these batches I dyed on the hob, the temperature was high enough as I tested it constantly and I only used a 4th of the recommended dye amount.
    Interestingly it seems to be the turquoise, chartruese, golden ochre and hot pink that are leaking, I tried the same method on the same falkland superwash wool using burnt orange, lilac and black and all were fine (as long as I only use 0.5% dos, anything above has these leak problems)
    So I thought It was just the wool, so tried the chartreuse (this time 1% dos) on a Polworth nylon blend (stove top method) and have had the exact same problem.
    Going to try again on some fleece I have processed myself from raw and see how it holds out.
    Right now it’s looking like I need to either avoid those colours (which is hard as they are my fav) or try a different brand dye as I am losing the will to live and getting beyond disheartened rinsing this much.
    Any suggestions regarding these colours or why the type of wool seems to wield such different levels of colourfastness!?!
    (Hot pink and turquoise worked fine on alpaca I processed myself- yet to try golden ochre and chartruese)
  • The temperature question is that there are 2 types of temperatures here. One is for dyeing in a pot immersed in water, which is 160-180 degrees. If you are steaming, the steam needs to be hot, the temp of boiling water. IF it is not that hot you may not be getting full fixation. This could be your problem. I am not familiar with your equipment.

    Wool is easily the most variable fabric there is. Even what the animal eats can greatly affect how much dye is absorbed. So, yes it can cause huge variations in the amount of dye and therefore how darke th color can get.

    Should you be using even less dye for this project and maybe go below 1%? It is really possible your wool won't hold the dye.

    I have had success soaking in the solar fast wash in hot water for a whole hour. It continues to get the dye out.

    I am also wondering if maybe the preprocessing with citric acid is a problem? Usually we add the critic acid after it has been in the bath for ten min already. Maybe try adding the citric acid later in the process?