Speeding up the process? HELP!
  • I'm doing tie dyes with my daycare kids and have one kiddo moving tomorrow. We didn't know until this week and I wasn't able to get the supplies to do a tshirt until last night.

    Is there any way to speed up the process once we apply the dye so I can wash it for them before they go (I understand you should allow 24 hours it states, 12 minimum). Can microwaving the shirt help or something? I'm using the MX type.

    Thanks so much!
  • Yes, warmth will speed up the dye-fiber reaction. If you microwave the shirt, enclose it in a zip-lock plastic bag first, and heat just until the bag begins to inflate with steam. Don't microwave uncovered fabric, because it will catch on fire in the microwave if it dries out. The plastic bag prevents it from getting too dry.

    You can also seal the shirt in reliable ziplock bags (maybe double-bagging) and float it in a sink of hot water, for the same effect. The speed of the dye reaction triples for every increase in temperature of 18°F.

    See What is the effect of temperature on fiber reactive dyes? for more ideas on how to speed up dye reactions.

  • Thank you soo much! Do you know how much time doing either of those reduces the process by? I just don't want to assume I know.
  • Well, if the speed of reaction increase three-fold for every 18°F increase in temperature, then what takes twenty-four hours at 70°F will take eight hours at 88°F, less than three hours at 106°F, and less than one hour at 124°F.

    Be sure to allow time for the dye to soak right into and through the fiber before you add extra heat. If you're very quick, microwaving right after applying the dye, you can get ring-dyeing, caused by dyeing only the outer layer of each fiber, which results in very rapid wearing-off of the color later.

  • FABulous advice, thanks so much!
  • I forgot to ask, I have onesies I am doing, and well, they have metal snaps, I know you can't microwave metal, any way to speed up the process like say in the dryer?
  • As I said above, you can also seal the shirt in reliable ziplock bags (maybe double-bagging) and float it in a sink of hot water, for the same effect. Or you can see the web page I linked to above for more suggestions.

    Don't put wet dye into the dryer. It's a major pain to wipe it all out so that you do not ruin your next load of clothes.

    Also, the dye-fiber reaction stops as soon as the dye dries out. You need to keep it most, whether by wrapping in plastic, by adding urea to your dye mixtures, or simply by living in a humid enough environment that the dye does not dry out until you've allowed enough time for the reaction to complete.