Shelf life of procion dye stock
  • Does Procion MX, mixed into dye stock (1 tsp dye powder + 1/2 cup water) have a shelf life, or does it store more or less indefinitely? If the former, do storage conditions (temp, light exposure, etc) make a difference?

    Thanks in advance!
  • This is a good question because the conventional wisdom says that the dye is really only good for a couple of days at most once it is mixed with water, but will last years and years as powder. Hydrolysis is what happens here where the reactive part of the dye(part that sticks to the fabric) is destroyed by water even when the color is still there.

    I have found that the dye can be used longer maybe even a week as long as it is not exposed to Soda Ash. Soda ash really improves color short term, but basically destroys it long-term. So, this is a tricky

    Temp and light exposure, especially temperature would really speed the hydrolysis process up and would destroy your dye's ability to bond to the fabric.

    If you find different results I would be interested in finding out, but I think the dye doesn't last long when put in water.

    One way you can use old dye in water that is pretty fun is using Color Magnet. If can still pick up the old dye and bond it to the fabric while leaving the rest of the fabric very very pale. Pretty cool stuff.
  • Hi there - I have a collection of 1/2 C mason jars of clean but (very) old Procion dye stock concentrate (water plus procion, no soda ash etc) and am wondering if I can 're-charge' it by adding more dye powder rather than tossing it out. My thought was to make a paste with powder + water to dissolve, then add it to the existing concentrates. Will this work? Would love not to toss the old dye out as I'm on a septic.

    Thanks for your guidance!

    Frances in Port Townsend, WA
  • PS) wow to color magnet! Will try this too!
  • Procion does not hold up well in water. Color magnet is a good way to use this depleted stock.

    Otherwise, I think just making a new solution is best. Usually procion in water is only good for a couple of weeks.
  • thanks for the reply and scoop - I'll toss the old stock (ancient stuff!) and start fresh. I now have Color Magnet and am psyched to try it out with screenprints!

    Cheers from here,
  • Sounds great, Frances!