How do I Use Baking Soda Instead of Soda Ash as a Fixer Solution?

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Fixer solution can improve a variety of dye crafts.
Fixer solution can improve a variety of dye crafts. (Image: tie-dyed shirts image by Jim Parkin from Fotolia.com)

Fabric dyes help artistic and creative people invent their own styles and truly personalize their wardrobes. The dyeing process is actually a complicated chemical process, in which the dyes chemically bond to the miniscule fibers in the clothing. To aid in this process, many dyers use a fixer solution that involves soda ash to make the chemical process faster. If soda ash is unavailable, you can use baking soda to create a fixer solution, but you need to adjust the soda/water ratio and add heat to achieve the same results.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Microwave-safe container
  • Baking soda
  • Wooden spoon
  • Microwave

Pour one gallon of warm water into a large microwave-safe container.

Add 3 cups of baking soda per gallon of warm water to the container. Stir the mixture well with a wooden spoon to mix in the solution; it may not dissolve, as the water temperature has to be very hot to dissolve baking soda.

Add the garments you wish to dye. Microwave the solution and garments for 10 minutes to increase the temperature and dissolve the baking soda into the garments, creating the same effect that the soda ash would have at room temperature.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are using diluted or impure baking soda, you may need to use as much as 5 cups to replace the soda ash.
  • This recipe will be enough to soak 10 to 12 XL adult tee shirts. If you have more or fewer garments, or larger or smaller garments, adjust the recipe accordingly.

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