Our Dyes And Their Uses

Currently we specialize in Reactive type dyes.

Fiber Reactive Dyes: Reactive dyes are the absolute best type of dyes made for fabrics or fibers made from plant materials. Plant materials means anything made from a plant including; Cotton, Linen, Rayon, Hemp, Bamboo, Paper, Jute, etc. The dyes also work well on silk. These dyes are not made for nylon or wool, and they don't work at all on polyester. Our dyes are considered to be "cold water dyes" which in the world of dyes really means warm water, but the dyes do not need to be heated to be used.

Reactive dyes are best for cottons or other plant materials because they are very color fast and wash fast. The dye attaches itself to the fabric via a chemical reaction where the dye actually becomes part of the fabric. Once the fabric is correctly dyed, and once the loose dye that didn't fix to the fabric is washed away, no more dye will bleed out of the fabric. Once all loose dye is removed, the dyed fabric can accidentally be washed with a load of white laundry and the dye will not come off and stain the laundry.

Our dyes are used by dyers all over the world. Our customers use our dye in many ways. Tie dye, batik, solid color, patterns, and textures can all be achieved using our dyes in different ways. See our instruction tab for different ways are dyes can be used.

Chemicals: Various chemicals are used in dyeing with reactive type dyes. These chemicals and their uses will be explained here. Some chemicals are only used in tie dyeing or other "direct application" dyeing. Direct application dyeing is a dyeing process where the dye is made in small concentrated batches. The dye is then applied directly to the fabric. Squirted, painted, poured, or sponged on with various tools such as pipettes (big plastic eyedropper type tools,) squeeze bottles, sponges, stamps, or paint brushes. Check our health and safety tab for more information about our dyes and chemicals.

Dye Fixer: Dye fixer is a chemical called sodium carbonate. The fixer is the one chemical you absolutely must have to make these dyes work. Fixer causes the important chemical reaction that makes these dyes become part of the fabric. In direct application dyeing such as tie dyeing, the fabric is first soaked in a solution of dye fixer dissolved in water. In vat dyeing, solid color dyeing, the dye fixer is added to the dye bath near the end of the dyeing process. In tie dyeing, we estimate that one pound of dye fixer will make approximately 20 adult T-shirts. A 5 pound bag will make approximately 100 T-shirts. In solid color dyeing, one pound fixer will color about 6 pounds of dry fabric.

Urea: Urea is used in tie dyeing or other direct application dyeing. It is generally not used in Vat (solid color) dyeing. Urea does many things to help the dyeing process. Urea helps large amounts of dye dissolve in small amounts of water. Urea helps the dye penetrate the fabric. Moisture is an important component of the chemical reaction process with these dyes, and urea helps draw moisture to the chemical reaction. We estimate that on pound of urea will tie dye about 16 to 18 T-shirts. 5 pounds of urea will therefore tie dye about 80 shirts.

Ludigol: Ludigol is used in tie dyeing or other direct application dyeing. It is generally not used in Vat dyeing. Once reactive dye is mixed with water, it slowly starts to break down in the water. When this happens, over time the dye becomes less effective. Soon the dye solution will lose all effectiveness. Ludigol is added to the dye to keep the dye from reacting with, or breaking down in the water. It keeps the dye fresher longer, and allows more dye to react with the fabric. Helping the colors to come out brighter. We estimate that 2 ounces of ludigol with tie dye about 60 T-shirts. Therefore, an 8 ounce bag should dye around 240 T-shirts.

Water Softener: Dyes work better in soft water. Water softener is used in both tie dye and solid color dyeing. One 8 ounce bag of water softener will tie dye approximately 160 shirts.

Sodium alginate: Sodium alginate is used to thicken dye mixtures for hand painting and silk screening. Most of our customers do not use sodium alginate unless they have a specific reason that they want thicker dye mixtures. Two ounces of our sodium alginate will thicken about 8 quarts of water to a hand painting consistency.

Synthrapol detergent: Synthrapol detergent is used to wash out loose dye after the fabric is dyed. Synthrapol is used to wash out different colored dyes, as in tie dyes and keep those dyes from staining other parts of the fabric. Using Synthrapol is the best way to ensure that your colors will stay pure during wash out, and that your white areas will remain relatively white. One 16 ounce bottle of synthrapol will wash 8 to 24 wash loads.

Here are some rules of thumb we use for how much dye you need to buy for your project.

Remember, in dyeing, especially with reactive type dyes, the key to getting the shade you desire, is to use the proper amount of dye. Deep shades require a larger amount of dye. Light or pastel shades require only small amounts of dye. So naturally, dark deep shades will be more expensive to achieve than light pastel shades.

Tie Dye: We use this rule of thumb when thinking about tie dyeing. For deep, dark or bright shades, using relatively heavy dye concentrations on large adult sized shirts, we recommend that you buy 1 ounce of dye for every 4 or 5 shirts you wish to dye. For example, you wish to tie dye 96 adult T-shirts with bright colors.

Divide 96 by 4 which equals 24. This means that if you bought 24 total ounces of dye, you should have enough for your project. The 24 total ounces of dye can be broken down in many ways; 3 different colors in an 8 ounce size, 6 different colors in a 4 ounce size, 12 different colors in a 2 ounce size. All these add up to the 24 recommended ounces. If you wish to dye in medium or pastel shades, less dye is required so you can buy less. Solid Color or Vat dyeing: The traditional rule of thumb with reactive dyes is that one ounce of dye will color 2 pounds of dry fabric to a medium shade. Deep shades require much more dye, as much as 1 to 4 ounces of dye per pound of dry fabric. Light or pastel shades can require small amounts of dye. One ounce of dye could color 4, 8, 16, 24, or more pounds of dry fabric depending upon how light or pastel of a shade desired.

Please feel free to call us if you have any questions regarding your dye project.