Help I cant get my colors to stay bright and the white to stay white!
  • I cant get my colors to stay bright and the white to stay white? I have used soda ash, waited over 24 hours, rinsed, used synthropol! What is the secret to bright tie dye??
  • What kind of dye are you using? Is it a fiber reactive dye such as Procion MX? I have to ask because using Rit dye will invariably cause exactly that problem. If it happens with fiber reactive dyes, there will be a way to solve the problem.

    To get the unattached excess dye out of the unwanted places on your shirts, use hot hot water, 140°F. Soak the fabric in the hot water, then wash, then repeat. Hotter water works much better at removing the unwanted dye that is dulling down your colors. You'll get dull colors if excess dye has gotten onto a region of the fabric that is the opposite color. For example, excess red dye on a green section, or purple on a yellow section, will produce dull colors.

    The hot water washout treatment works only if none of the unwanted dye has been fixed in place. That's pretty easy to manage if you keep your Procion-dyed and soda-ash-treated fabric tied up in a warm place (70°F or warmer) overnight to react. Don't untie or wash out until you're sure that all of the dye has had time to react.

    If you're doing all of the above right, the problem might be the fabric—if it's been treated with starch, you'll have problems, since starch is impossible to wash out completely—or your water.

    Hard water is a common problem. Do you have hard water? If so, you'll need to use sodium hexametaphosphate to soften your water for both dyeing and washing out. Otherwise the calcium ions will enable the dyes to form complexes that are difficult to wash out. (See "Dyeing with hard water".)

    You can buy sodium hexametaphosphate from your dye supplier. Jacquard Products sells it as "Calgon", but don't substitute the liquid Calgon sold at the grocery store, because it's a different product altogether; only the kind of Calgon Jacquard sells will work. You can also buy it as "Water Softener" from Dharma Trading Company or as "Metaphos" from PRO Chemical & Dye. Distilled water will also work, but water softener is much easier, and it is highly effective.

  • I am using Jaquard Procision MX dyes/soda ash and I let the shirts sit for over 24 hours in a zip lock outside in 85 degree weather. I rinsed in COLD water but will try hot next time. I do not know if my water is hard. I had one last shirt and I rinsed it really well in the salty ocean. The shirt was better. the whites stayed white but he colors still a little dull. Thank you for your advise I am willing to try again.