100% Cotton Apron Refusing to Take Dye?
  • I've had the weirdest stroke of bad luck in an attempt to dye a 100% cotton apron black. Yes I know, sounds pretty simple, yes? However I just finished my third attempt at dyeing this thing with Procion black dye and soda ash fixative. I've used this method and these ingredients several times and always with success, and since the article is 100% cotton I thought for sure this would be a piece of cake! However besides the first dye attempt where I managed to turn it from beige to gray, it refuses to take any more dye and go full black like I want it to. This is what I do:
    Small washing machine load with hot water - add dye, let machine agitate. Add the apron, let spin for 15 min. Pause machine, let soak 30. Add soda ash and salt, reset machine and let cycle go through from start to finish. Total time in dye about 1h.
    Again, normally this method has given me success but for whatever reason, after the first dye attempt, this apron is just not having it! I've tried using the procion dye and soda ash from different stores incase there was a bad batch maybe? But to no avail. And I can't find expiry dates on them either.
    Any advice would be appreciated! :D
  • I don't think the dye is the problem either. This could be a couple of things. It might be a waterproofing agent on the cotton to help keep the apron clean from spills. It might be synthetic content even if it isn't labelled.

    2 things I would try are dyeing on the stove as to increase the heat to almost boiling with the black procion or maybe even try Idye. It can get cotton very black.

    I might also try using some Idye poly to get any synthetic content. Sometimes a synthetic coating is added as a waterproofer. In this case the poly will dye the coating and make the whole thing blacker.

    You can use both dyes at once. Try a combo of Idye natural black and idye poly black. I think that will do it.
  • I read somewhere in the Internet that pure cotton is easier to die as compared to mix cotton so it might be possible that you shirt might not be of pure cotton.
  • The more I have seen of this type of fabric, whether it is a tote bag or apron is that there is a special waterproofing that the material has had applied. It will not take dye as long as it is waterproofed in this way.