Fabric dyeing with textile dyes
We gathered all customers questions in this little 'Dye-Wiki' and really hope we can give helpful answers to all the problems and issues about dyeing ;-)
In the PATIN-A fabric dyeing range we exclusively carry high quality dyes by DEKA and DYLON. This is why we shall only deal with DEKA and DYLON dyes here.
However, many questions and answers about the subject of 'DYEING' are generally valid.
About the use: Just click on a question in the list - you shall immediately be redirected to the right text passage.
General information about Dyeing
• What is a dye liquor?
• Which fabrics can be dyed resp. not dyed?
• Do textiles have to be discoloured before dying?
• At which temperature do I have to dye?
• How can I tell whether the dye is a hot water dye or a cold water dye?
• Why do I have to use salt for dyeing?
• Is fixing after dyeing necessary?
• Can I mix dyes?
• What is the meaning of 'full shade' or 'half shade' dye?
• I would like an intensive shade - do I have to take more dye than the amount specified?
• Is it possible to mix different products?
• Can shades be mixed which are not part of the range? • Can I dye garments in the microwave?
• I would like to dye by hand - what do I need and what should I pay attention to?
• Which pot should I use?
• Tie-dye: Can I keep textile dye which I have already mixed?
• Tie-dye: according to experience, how much dye do I need for one T-shirt?
• Can I apply textile dyes with a paint brush?
• What's the point of colour charts and where can I get them?
• How much does my garment or my bedlinen weigh?
• Which dye should I choose - DEKA or DYLON?
• Where do the DYLON dyes come from and how do you pronounce the name of the brand?
How do I dye... what?
• Can I dye fabrics white?
• Can I dye jeans fabrics?
• Can I dye faded garments?
• What is the right way to tie-dye?
• What is better - machine dyeing or hand dyeing?
• Can I redye my wedding dress?
• How do I dye polyamide or nylon?
• How do I dye buttons and 3D prints?
• How do I dye polyacrylic and polyester?
• Can I dye lingerie?
• Can I dye down feathers and microfiber clothing?
• How do I dye feathers?
• I do not know the composition of the fabric I want to dye - can I find out myself?
• Can I cover stains by dyeing?
• Why does my fabric show stripes and/or dark stains after dyeing?
• Why does the dyed colour look different than the colour on the pack's label?
• What is going to happen if I have used too much salt?
• Does dyeing in the machine affect subsequent washes?
• How can I remove dye from my fingers?
• Why do I have tiny little coloured dots on the fabric after dyeing?
Environment and health
This has nothing to do with 'liquor' ... it's the liquid, in which the textile is dyed.
Dye liquor contains all the components which are necessary for dyeing.
» Which fabrics can be dyed resp. not dyed?
Natural fibers / processed natural products
Basically, natural fibers and processed natural products can be dyed without any problems (careful though: cellulose fibers may shrink up to 10% when dyed at 60°C)
Wool and silk should only be dyed by hand.
Mixed materials consisting of natural and synthetic fibers.
These can be dyed with DEKA Textile Dye if the proportion of natural fibers is at least 50%. The colour intensity / colour shade though will not be the same as the synthetic fibers in the material will not take the colour (the basic colour tone of the synthetic part will remain, there will be a mixed colour tone). In most cases, the seams will keep their original colour, as the threads are synthetic fibers (mostly polyester). Synthetic fibers.
Synthetic fibers like polyamide (nylon) and elastane/spandex can de dyed with DYLON Multi-Purpose Dye. These colours are not boil- nor light fast.
Polyester, polyacrylics and mixed materials containing acrylic cannot be dyed!
Faulty dyeings on synthetic fibers cannot be discoloured again.
» Do textiles have to be discoloured before dyeing?
Not always - if you dye a dark colour on a light fabric, you do not have to discolour. But the other way round you should, when dyeing a light or brilliant tone on a dark fabric.
There are a lot of colour stripping products on the market.
We carry classical colour strippers by Burnus.
Some industrially dyed fabrics cannot be discoloured sufficiently with colour strippers available in retail.
» At which temperature do I have to dye?
We carry hot water dyes and cold water dyes.
For wool or silk though you should never use salt (the fibers would be damaged - saltwater by the sea also harms your hair and makes it brittle)! Instead, use vinegar. For one dye I use 75 ml of vinegar essence.
One dash of vinegar in the last rinse makes silk beautifully shiny again.
The hot water dyes DEKA 'L' and DYLON Multi-Purpose Dye do not have a fixing agent in the dye - contrary to the cold water dyes: DEKA Machine Dye and DEKA aktuell.
If you want to wash the garments dyed with hot water dyes more often, then it is essential that you use a fixative right after dyeing.
Hot water dyes = an extra fixative is required
Cold water dyes = an extra fixative is not required In internet forums you can often read that fabrics should be fixed with vinegar.
Please forget about this, as it works only under certain conditions!
PATIN-A sells the fixative 'DEKA 111L' 25ml are enough for the after-treatment of 500g of fabric (dry weight).
Stir the 25ml in 10l of hand warm water. Dip the dyed and thoroughly (!!!) rinsed fabric for 30 minutes in the fixative.
Hang up to dry - without rinsing.
Dyed garments should always be washed separately. After fixing you can wash the textiles as usual at 40°C.
Here are some examples:
Red and blue = violet
Blue and yellow = green
Red and yellow = orange
Light green and light blue = turquoise
It is very easy to mix dyes. Creating thousands of new shades is magical!
If you look at the colour wheel you can see which colours you will get if you mix two shades.
Itten colour wheel (1961):
It reads: to achieve a 100% full tone, do not dye more than 500g of fabric.
That is 'full tone'.
Dye 1000g of textiles with the same amount of dye and you will get a half tone dye (you can also dye only 500g of fabric and use only half of the content of the box).
If you want to dye 2000g of textiles with one pack of dye then you will get a very pastel quarter tone (this works also for 500g of fabric and a quarter dye pack).
|Full tone||Half tone||Quarter tone|
|1 dye pack||1/2 dye pack||1/4 dye pack|
|1 fixative pack||1/2 fixative pack||1/4 fixative pack|
Full Tone / Half Tone / Quarter Tone - DEKA 'aktuell'
Just to be sure: leave dark colours a bit longer as recommended in the dye liquor.
Most of them have different chemical components and the dye result would be uncertain!
Dissolved dyes can be mixed best.
Dyeing in the microwave achieves beautiful TIE DYE effects.
If you would like to achieve an even dye result though, do without the microwave and dye in a pot or in the machine.
A wooden spoon or a stick
Salt and of course: textile dye
For further info please refer to: 'Differences in the use of hot water dyes and cold water dyes'.
The pot's capacity should be at least five, or better seven liters.
Take a stainless steel pot, if you have one! In this one no pigments will remain!
My personal preference goes to an electrical preserver with drain valve and a capacity of 30 liters (these pots are also known as 'mulled wine pot' or 'canning pot'. They cost between 100 and 150 euro and with a bit of luck and for very little money you can purchase these great pots by auction in summer).
This allows a trouble-free dyeing even of big textiles for a longer period of time.
The size of your group is relevant alone.
How many colours do you want to dye the T-shirts or how many different colours do you want to provide (tie-dye works of art usually come in more than one colour)?
You need one pack of DEKA Aktuell textile dye per colour. But a good idea is to use three base colours so you can mix a lot of beautiful shades!
If you want to tie-dye with a number of children (summer camp or birthday party), plan 1 pack of dye per child.
An experienced tie-dyer will only need little dye - newcomers spill a lot...
For applying the dyes we recommend our 500 ml Squeeze Bottle for Tie-Dyeing with the red nozzle (but empty washing-up liquid, shampoo or drinking bottles work well too).
In our blog post for tie dye batik we show you very precisely how easy and fun it is to tie-dye with kids.
Perfect squeeze bottle for TIE-DYE:
The damp fabric will absorb the dye and spread it generously like blotting paper. But if this is the effect you want, then of course you can apply dyes with a paint brush and fix them with the tie-dye technique.
They're useful for precise selecting of a colour and for choosing the right base dyes. RAL-colour fans make sense to copy colour shades. We carry colour charts from DEKA and DYLON at cost price. Link: Colour charts
Colour charts for dyeing:
Very often clothes weigh less (therefore you can weigh them yourself before dyeing).
These are only average weights:
• A pair of jeans or trousers weigh approx. 600g
• A men's shirt approx. 250g
• A blouse approx. 200g
• A T-shirt approx. 100g
• A beach towel weighs approx. 600g
• A duvet cover along with a pillow case weigh approx. 750g
One thing is sure: they're the same high quality!
All textile dyes by DYLON and DEKA contain high quality pigments, are easy to use and you will be thrilled by their brilliant colours!
Contrary to other dyes from the drugstore or the DIY store, these dyes are a professional quality!
If you have used 'Simplicol' dyes in the past you will see the difference!
As far as our dyes are concerned, there are differences in the way they are used and in the colour shades: Hand Dye by DYLON and machine dyes by DEKA and DYLON contain already all the necessary chemical ingredients - except salt.
For DEKA aktuell you need to add a reactive agent.
DEKA 'L' and DYLON Multi-Purpose Dye need, if you want colour fastness, a fixing agent (for instance DEKA 111L).
DEKA enriches the "market of dyes" with exciting and unusual shades - DYLON prefers a more classical colour palette.
DEKA aktuell and the DEKA Machine Dyes feature an impressive 'black'. There is no black blacker than the DEKA-black on the market! Theater dye workshops almost exclusively use DEKA aktuell and DEKA Machine Dye for dyeing costumes black.
We also sell this dye very often to fashion labels.
Another special feature of these two producers is that they also offer bulk quantities of certain dyes.
Dylon is the world's leading manufacturer of textile dyes for consumers with a distribution in over 70 countries. This is how the name came up:
It stems originally from 'Dyes of London'. The name of the brand was formed with the first letters: DYes of LONdon , and is pronounced the English way, of course: [ˈdīlən]
For that purpose, we recommend DYLON Machine Dyes - they can dye your jeans the most beautiful colours.
Or do it the easy way and use 'Wash and Dye' by DYLON!
An incredible product: it refreshes faded colours (black, dark brown or jeans blue) and at the same time washes your item.
All you need is dye - no detergent and no salt!
But please bear in mind:
the light/dark contrast of a pair of jeans will go once dyed...
The instructions for use are easier to follow and the result is always perfect.
Small textiles and silk or wool should always be hand dyed in a container or bowl.
This question is frequently asked and for the right kind of advice is it essential to know the composition of the fabrics. I'm afraid the bride's dream of a future coloured evening or cocktail dress has to be destroyed here, as most wedding dresses are 100% polyester!
These polyester dresses cannot be dyed with any of our dyes - and no polyester dye offered on the internet can do that either. The colours dyed are dull and disappointing for lack of brilliance.
Really, it is not worth the effort. However, if your wedding dress consists of mixed fibers (viscose/polyester or cotton/polyester or silk/polyester) or maybe even of 100% natural fibers, then it can be dyed without any problems.
But please bear in mind that the seams will stay white! Cotton yarn, which can wonderfully be dyed, is very rarely used for seams (only if you ask the tailor previously).
Lace fabric I'm afraid most of the time is polyester - even very expensive lace!
Please see at the differences in use between hot water dyes and cold water dyes.
Dilute 5g of dye in 500ml of boiling water (making sure the pigments dissolve completely). Plunge up to 125g of plastic items in the dye liquor.
They have to be covered entirely with dye.
Bring the dye liquor to the boil and dye the items for 10 minutes, moving them again and again and checking whether the dye is even.
Rinse the items in clear water until there is no dye in the water any more.
With ordinary household dyes no finished garment can be dyed. All the polyester dyes on the market can only dye very light pastel tones - the result is disappointing.
Very often people ask: can I dye my parasol / awning / tent / seat rest, etc. ?
This won't work either, as these articles most of the time are 100% polyester.
For natural fibers, I recommend 'DYLON Hand Dye' and for polyamide or elastane 'DYLON Multi Purpose Dye'.
The downs would be destroyed and the microfiber does not take the colour.
1. First of all, the feathers should be washed (and degreased). For this purpose, please take 30°- 40°C warm water, add 1 teaspoon of washing-up liquid and a little bit of wool detergent. The feathers should remain in the suds between for 15 to 30 minutes to be completely clean and grease-free. Then rinse with clear water and press slightly.
2. Completely dilute 5g of DYLON Multi-Purpose Dye in 1/2 a liter of boiling hot water. Pour the dye liquor in the cooking pot with hot water and stir. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar (or 1 teaspoon of vinegar concentrate) per liter of water. A drop of washing-up liquid will decrease the water's surface's tension and so the dye can better penetrate the items to be dyed.
3. Put the damp feathers in the dye liquor and bring the lot to the boil on the cooker, stirring carefully. The feathers should remain 30 to 40 minutes in the dye liquor to achieve an intensive dye. It will take longer for dark colours and for the colour black, it is best to leave the feathers in the dye liquor overnight. For this purpose we recommend a cooking pot with integrated heating surface and thermostat (for instance the electrical preserver or 'mulled wine pot' mentioned above). Allow the dye liquor to cool down a bit before you take the feathers out. Please note the following carefully: After dyeing, the dyed feathers have to be rinsed thoroughly and very carefully. The rinse water should not be cooler than the dye liquor! Reduce the water temperature gradually. Avoid sudden temperature changes. You can add very little wool detergent to the water.
4. Lay the feathers on kitchen paper or on a towel to dry, or dry them with the hairdryer. You can reshape large feathers over water vapour.
This will only work if the desired colour is much darker then the stain.
Do not machine dye more than 1500g of fabric at the same time. If the fabric is very bulky (terry cloth for instance), than up to 1000g only.
How the dyed colour tone will look depends on the textile you dye!
A useful hint for machine dyeing: turn the garment inside out (for dyeing and for every wash). You will thus avoid streaks when spin-drying.
Too much of a good thing is not necessarily better - and more is not always more but sometimes less...
Please read the instructions carefully to find out exactly how much salt to add to your dye.
You can remove the dye from your hands with any usual colour run remover.
» Why do I have tiny little coloured dots on the fabric after dyeing?
If you detect red or purple dots on the textile you will probably not have diluted the pigments in the dye powder properly before dyeing.
This is how you should prepare for dyeing:
Textile dye with a proportion of red should definitely be filtered through a cloth/fine pantyhose to avoid little red or purple dots (coloured spots) on the dyed fabric.
This only applies to DYLON Multi-Purpose Dye, DEKA 'L' Dye' and DEKA aktuell Textile Dye - Machine dyes dissolve completely in the washing machine!
These dyes contain red pigments:
DYLON Multi Purpose Dye: 60 Peach, 39 Tangerine, 32 Scarlet, 09 Pagoda Red, 12 Rose of Paris, 13 Carnival Pink, 44 Cerise, 10 Cherry Flame, 11 Bordeaux, 15 Windsor Purple, 34 Olive Green, 22 Reindeer Beige, 53 Desert Dust, 65 Havanna Brown, 07 Coffee
DEKA L: Orange, Scarlet, Bright red, Ruby, Salmon, Old Rose, Rose, Carmine, Wine, Lilac, Violet, Chestnut, Mid Brown, Dark Brown, Old Gold and Beige.
DEKA aktuell: Orange, signal red, strawberry red, wine, heather violet, chestnut brown, chocolate brown, blue lilac, raspberry red, fuchsia
We hear very often that dyeing damages the environment.
We think that this is only partly true: The environmental damage for new textiles is much bigger, as the fabric for new textile has to be produced! Natural fibers have to be cleaned, bleached, mercerised, dyed and provided with a finish before the fabric can be weaved.
Most of the time clothing is manufactured in other continents meaning long transport routes.
If you dye your clothes, you recycle them yourself and thus contribute to less fabric and clothes being produced - and along with that there will also be less pollution.
It follows that dyeing of clothes instead of buying new ones can make sense ecologically.
Mothers very often enquire whether they can dye baby clothes or baby slings.
I'm afraid we have no satisfactory answer to that as there are no well-known surveys about that matter.
As far as resistance to spittle is concerned, we cannot give a general statement for DYLON or DEKA textile dyes. Resistance to spittle can only be tested on the dyed fabric - not on the dye itself (it is the same problem with bought textiles)!
Different types of fabric can cause different reaction to spittle, depending on the fabric's nature.
Damage to the health can occur with cheap imported textiles dyed with harmful dyes.
DEKA and DYLON use quality dyes and the dyed fabrics are allergically unproblematic.
Unfortunately, bio dyes and plant dyes look very dull and are time-consuming to dye.
If you want to dye children's clothes with our DEKA or DYLON dyes, then wash them several times before the first wear.
The soluble dye particles should then have vanished completely.