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Is it salt or vinegar to set the color in fabric?

Posted by marti8a (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 8, 07 at 15:26

I bought some red denim & prewashed. It turned the inside of my washer red! I want to set the color before I put it in my denim quilt. Which is it?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Is it salt or vinegar to set the color in fabric?

I, personally, wouldn't trust a quilt to one of these products. I always use Synthrapol in the first wash water, with a new quilt, and it takes care bleeding dark colors.... navy blue, and red I can personally attest to. It's available on line and at many nicer quilt/fabric/sewing machine shops.


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RE: Is it salt or vinegar to set the color in fabric?

Synthrapol does not actually 'set' dyes, it washes away any unfixed dye. Retayne is the only product that will set fixed dye AND wash away unfixed dye.

Of the salt or vinegar choice, it's vinegar, but it's very risky and I would not use it. If you do, be sure to rinse VERY throughly because vinegar can eat the fabric for years to come. Check out the link below for more info.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bleeding Fabric FAQ


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RE: Is it salt or vinegar to set the color in fabric?

When I noticed that the dk blue of my backing fabric color was fading onto my hands while I quilted it, I called the people who sell both Synthrapol and Retayne. I explained what was happening and asked which I should use...they said Synthrapol. The fading blue color did not bleed into the other fabrics and I've not had a problem with the quilt since...that's why I put Synthrapol into the first washing of every new quilt.


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RE: Is it salt or vinegar to set the color in fabric?

synthrapol for finished quilts. retayne for new fabrics that you want to wash before using.


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RE: Is it salt or vinegar to set the color in fabric?

I have heard dawn works well too.


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RE: Is it salt or vinegar to set the color in fabric?

I was the one who said that the instructor in my fabric dying class used Dawn to get out the dye that had not bonded with the fabric. I'd still err on the side of caution, washing one more time and adding a color catcher to be sure that the fabric was truly done bleeding dye.


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RE: Is it salt or vinegar to set the color in fabric?

It can be salt OR vinegar depending on (1) the fiber content & (2) type of dye stuff.

But I'd be careful of using vinegar, as it's a form of acetic (or ascorbic) ACID (I forget which). If not rinsed out or diluted, it will over time damage the strength of the fibers.

When I was in college, they taught to use a drop of bleach on a Q-tip to remove a bit of dye dripped in the wrong place (in a batik for example). Folks who didn't take care to dilute the bleach afterwards, had the rude surprise of the bleach literally eating thru the fibers, resulting in a whole in the cloth. I'll grant you bleach is a much stronger form of it, but they're both types of acids.

That is not the case w/ salt.


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Correction of Typo

I'm sorry for the typo, I meant to type "hole in the cloth".


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RE: Is it salt or vinegar to set the color in fabric?

Very true, pirate girl. And while salt will not eat holes in the fabric, it will eat holes in the washer. Use it for hand treating only! (vinegar is acetic acid, btw, and is also a stop bath for bleach [though the least effective] which I'm guessing you already know)


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RE: Is it salt or vinegar to set the color in fabric?

Save this thread to your hard drive, because it's good insurance against a disaster.


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RE: Is it salt or vinegar to set the color in fabric?

OK-Great advice. Now can someone please tell me what to do about my particular problem? I was ready to piece together my quilt, when I realized I had forgoten (old age)to prewash the red fabric I'd used for the cherries. Problem, red cherries on a white background. I'm sure that the red is going to bleed without some kind of treatment.


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