Retayne and Synthrapol

rosajoe_gwMay 8, 2012

A lady told me she will not purchase or make quilts when the fabric has been treated with Retayne. I haven't used it yet, but, I have read that it works well. Her concern was the famaldehyde.

I know from experience that vinegar, salt will wash out the excess dye but will not set the dye so it doesn't bleed. I have also found, from experience lol, that once the quilt is finished and if the fabric bleeds you are pretty much stuck with it as is.

I have read that Synthrapol doesn't always work, that Color Catchers and Dawn Ultra dish detergent works just as well as Synthrapol.

Have you ever had a finshed item bleed and how did you get it out??? Do you feel Retayne is safe to use???

I normally prewash until the water is clear - but that has made some batiks fade.


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I've never used Retayne or Synthrapol, but if you have something bleed and immediately wash it again with a color catcher (DO NOT DRY FIRST!) that will get the color out.

Rit makes a color remover, but don't use that unless you want to remove all the colors! And my experience is that it may leave you with a different color instead of a removed color. I had a blue/tan/cream plaid fabric that something bled on and I washed it with the color remover and ended up with 3 shades of cream and nearly invisible plaid.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 1:57PM
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LOL Donna I washed one fabric so much trying to wash out the excess dye it was a completely different color.

I used an entire box of Color Catchers and they never came out clear. The fabrics was not cheap either so I used it in a denim raggedy.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 2:03PM
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I wash all fabric first. If I am concerned about a quilt I dry clean it. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 2:06PM
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I have and use both but don't pretend to know any of the answers. I don't feel Retayne is unsafe to use as it is accepted by many people that I believe give good advice.
What was her objection to the formaldehyde? The quantity couldn't be that excessive and would be even more dilute after rinsing.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 3:23PM
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Caution: strong opinion ahead!

Unless it's a wrinkle-resistant fabric treatment, impregnated into the fibers so that it stays there, washing will remove formaldehyde. I don't think Retayne is an unsafe product to use and I don't think it leaves any meaningful amount of formaldehyde in the fabric. Formaldehyde is one of the most commonly used chemicals and we are all exposed to it daily - but mostly in small amounts. It most certainly can cause problems, including cancer, but the exposure from Retayne is minuscule compared to when you get every time you sit in your car, ride in an elevator, walk on carpeted floors or enter a store full of brand new, unwashed clothing. If you breathe outside in any city, you are breathing formaldehyde because it's present in auto exhaust. If you ever use a wood burning fireplace you've probably been exposed to pretty high levels. There are so many things to get into a panic about; this just doesn't seem like one of them.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 5:53PM
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Hooray Kate!

I had typed up several replies to this, and deleted them, not wanting to stir up a hornet's nest.

Formaldehyde is everywhere - should it be? Maybe not, but most of the negative evidence is anecdotal, not scientific.

Treating a fabric with Retayne is a HUGE non-issue.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 8:46PM
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Ditto, Kate. I've used both but I agree that a strong detergent like Orvis and color catchers do it for me. Remember you can use the color catcher over and over for several loads. I had one quilt bleed badly onto the white background (before I knew much about washing and hand dyed) and I used Rit color remover. It is just bleach and dulled the colors but did get the bleed out. So, in a pinch a person can use it if you know what you're doing.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 9:40PM
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Sorry to be such a dummy, but what are these products for? Are they supposed to set the color?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 10:53PM
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I would like to make a rag quilt using Modal Marbles Flannel in Burgundy and a white flannel .... I realize the burgundy is likely to run .... Would a prewash with Synthrapol followed by a wash using Raytene solve the running problem? Should I dry between washes or leave the fabric wet. This is to be a gift so I don't want any washing problems for either myself or the recipient.

Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 4:35PM
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Ditto LoisF question....what are they for?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 11:38PM
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littlehelen (LoisF)

Here are two links which will explain Retayne and Synthrapol in detail ............

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 2:18AM
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