How to Set Color in Cotton Fabric

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If you're to match the color of something, or if you're no longer happy with the color of that cotton shirt, you can use a fabric dye to change the color. To ensure that the color sets into the fabric, meaning that it doesn't bleed out in a regular wash, you'll need to follow some basic principles, while still following the manufacturer's package instructions. Select a dye that is "fiber-reactive" which works best for cotton.

Things You'll Need

  • Synthrapol detergent
  • Dye
  • Prewash your fabric with synthrapol detergent, following manufacturer's instructions, to ensure the cotton is clean. Synthrapol works as both a pre- and post-wash treatment for dyeing fabric. Use about 2 ounces of synthrapol in a full washing machine load.

  • Mix the dye ingredients with water, according to package instructions. Exact quantities will depend upon the amount of cotton fabric you intend to dye.

  • Immerse the fabric in the dye mixture until it reaches the appropriate color. Wring out excess dye back into the container.

  • Cover the fabric, or cover in plastic wrap and allow the fabric to set for 6 to 24 hours, depending upon how deep you want the color. Allow 6 hours for pastel colors and 12 to 24 hours for deeper shades.

  • Rinse the fabric in cold, running water.

  • Remove excess dye by laundering the fabric with a synthrapol detergent in hot water. Synthrapol helps remove the dye not chemically bonded to the fabric, ensuring that the cotton won't bleed in the wash in future launderings.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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