About Color Remover, Discharge Paste, and Bleach
  • We get a lot of questions about the workings of and differences between color remover, discharge paste, and bleach. In textile dyeing it's often usefull to know not only the steps to achieve a result but also what's happening behind the scenes, so to speak.

    To that end our intrepid chemist, Michael Katz, has put together a detailed explanation of the inner workings of these three chemicals. See it at: About Color Remover, Discharge Paste, and Bleach.
  • I can't see the article attached to this link. Since I am changing the color of a formal that I bought at goodwill.
  • Thank you for bringing this to our attention - we'll see about repairing this link in the next couple of days. In the time being you can find this article at our website in the FAQ's.
  • I use thiox, soda ash and heat to do my discharging and have come across items that will not discharge or as you stated in your article return to their original color after the discharge bath.
    You mentioned "The answer is that vat dyes needs to be reduced to go into solution." I'm not clear, is there another reducing agent that can be used to get those dyed fabrics to hold the discharge? Or am I reading this wrong? Thanks, Jo
  • Hi Jo,
    This questions really gets to the heart of vat dye chemistry. Vat dyes require reducing agents to become water-soluble, and reducing agents and discharge chemicals are one and the same thing. A vat dye will not dissolve in water unless it is in its reduced (oxygen-free) form (often called the leuko state). The fiber is immersed repeatedly in this oxygen-free dyebath, then exposed to the air, whereupon the water-soluble, reduced form develops its color as oxygen turns it to the water-insoluble form. Indigo is an example of this dye class; it changes from yellow, in the dyebath, to green and then blue as the air hits it. When you try to discharge a vat dye, you are reducing it and putting it back into its leuko state. It will lose its color only until it is exposed to oxygen (air) again and re-oxidizes. This is why the color can return after discharging. The only way to successfully discharge a vat dye is to rinse out the reduced dye while it is in its water-soluable, leuko state. This can be tricky, but it is not impossible. Once you see that the color has discharged (or in this case, reduced to the leuko state), you must rinse it out quickly and thoroughly. (Use Synthrapol for best results). The more of the reduced dye you can rinse out, the more it will "hold" the discharge...
    I hope this is helpful!
  • Thank you Asher...very helpful to know what's happening. I've discovered this a little on my own when I've come across garments that won't discharge down to a light color.
    I have been rinsing immediately after the discharge bath, getting some varying results. Though I've never tried rinsing with synthrapol at that point. I will give it a try.
    Thanks again, Jo
  • Following the directions to boil on stove top, I just used idye color remover on a 100% cotton, indigo colored jacket. Absolutely NOTHING happened. The color remained exactly the same and the water in which it had been immersed was likewise unchanged. I then tried again, again following directions, this time trying to remove the color from an ivory/beige jacket that was 50% cotton and 50% poly. Again, nothing happened AT ALL. I was planning to dye the ivory/beige jacket with a packet of idye violet and a packet of idye poly violet. Since idye'd color remover had absolutely no impact on the jacket, should I even attempt to dye it using the dual idye/poly idye combination? And for that matter, what about the all - cotton item that the idye color remover likewise had no impact on? If I try to dye these items with the idyes I have bought, what is the likelihood that they will take on any new coloring?? I am so disappointed--- I had really assumed it would all work fine!
    Hope someone will respond soon!
  • Lynda,

    Please see my response to your other post.

  • Hi! I love your products, but I made a mistake when I used iDye Poly on my 100% polyester dress. IDye Poly worked well, but I want to remove some (a shade) of it because it is a bit dark. How can I do that?
  • Hi Rachel,

    That will be a bit tricky. You could use the iDye Color Remover in a dilute form, or with warm rather than hot water and you may be able to lighten the color a bit.
    The tricky part comes in controlling the amount of lightening and in the possibility that the particular color you have dyed with may shift to a different hue with the removal. Take a look at this page for more information: http://jacquardproducts.com/color-removers.html

    hope this helps

    Hi Folks & Rachel,

    I happened to be randomly reviewing some past posts and realized as I re-read this that I gave Rachel bad advice!!!:(:(:(
    iDye Color Remover will not work to remove iDye Poly colors - it works only on natural fiber dyes such as iDye for Natural Fibers and Procion MX.
    Please accept my most humble apologies!
  • Hi Everyone

    In terms of stamping and printing what is the general consensus in how the new bleach gels work as a substitute for creating pastes ? And layering different products in one time-window on the same piece of black fabric ? Pros and cons; notes on results received requested here.

  • Mixing the discharge paste with paint actually works really well. I have done it with both Dye-na-flow to get subtle shades on dark fabric and with the textile colors to get a more full intensity color on black.

    The trouble is that it can be hard to tell what the end result is going to be. Sometimes it is easier to bleach or discharge and then go back and fill in the color afterward. You definitely have more control over the finished product that way, and you aren't diluting the intensity of the paint with the discharge paste. It takes longer too.
  • Please help. ..i have a wool rainbow striped knit shawl that I would like to dye dark brown or black. With all the colors of the rainbow in it, does anyone know what color it will turn out with either dark brown or black? I have never dyed anything before
  • Hi there. Excuse my lack of knowledge but do you do a product to dye Synthetic leather. I have a pair of karate sparring gloves my daughter wants to change from red to purple or yellow. Can this be done? Any suggestions would be great...thanks
  • Can anyone tell me if there is a way to determine if discharge paste is too old to be useful?
  • @dlynne you are likely to have some of the colors visible after you overdye them. The acid dye black at 180 degrees on the stove is going to give you the best black, but the purple stripe of the rainbow is likely to be darker than the yellow stripe. Does that make sense? Dyes are all transparent and mix so you can see every shade. Black is going to cover better and be less affected by the other colors than brown.
  • @IMWheeler synthetic leather can be difficult to color. There are many potential ways to do this. Paint is the easiest to use, but may not hold up well especially on something like gloves that get a lot of friction. I think for that reason, I would try IDYE poly. The violet would give you the color you want. How would the gloves hold up to boiling?
  • @jillann the discharge paste is very stable, so it should be ok. The best thing to do is test it on a small part of the fabric that won't be visible to see if it will work on that color. As we know, discharge paste does not work on every color and in this age of pigmented dyes(not dischargeable) testing is absolutely necessary.
  • Just some thoughts about recent experiments I have had with with color remover. The color remover performs much better if you add 2-4 tablespoons of soda ash in with it when you heat. I can get a much better white that way.

    Speaking of the soda ash, that can also be used to lighten(but not eliminate) the poly dyes. The normal color remover has little effect, but boiling the polyester with some Soda ash can lighten it a few shades.
  • I was using the procion mx dyes in turquoise and lemon yellow to create a mint color. Unfortunately I went too heavy on the yellow. I know that color remover won't take out the turqouise, but can I use it to remove some of the yellow?
  • Yes that should work. You might be a little surprised. I have been seeing the turquoise come out more than I expected it would. It should be pretty stable, but you will lose at least a little turquoise.