The first thing that happens to a white cotton t-shirt that is about to be tie dyed is it is washed in hot water with laundry soap and soda ash fixer. Next the wet t-shirt is tied into the appropriate pattern and then dipped into a water and soda ash solution and set out to dry. The soda ash acts as a bonding agent between the dye and the cotton fiber. Without soda ash the dye will not stick to the cotton leaving just a faint hint of tie dye colors. The t-shirt can be dyed wet or dry as long as it has been dipped in the soda ash solution first. Dye is then applied to the t-shirt according to the pattern. The t-shirt is left to rest for twelve or more hours to allow time for the dye to interact with the cotton fiber. The washing machine is filled up with the hottest water possible and a concentrated laundry soap formulated just for tie dyers is added to the water to wash the dye out of the cotton fibers of the t-shirt and to stop and dye that is washed off the t-shirts to penetrate and dye other t-shirts in the same washing load. During the rest period the dye bonds together into the fibers of the t-shirt to create the new tie dyed cotton fibers. The extra dye that did not bond to the t-shirt is what washes off. Hot water allows for more of dye to be washed out of the fabric. To make sure all the dye is out after the first wash the batch of t-shirts is washed out again using more hot water and special soap. Finally the t-shirts are dried in the dryer and ready to be worn and loved!
How To Tie Dye: Washing Out Instructions
1) Fill washing machine with super hot water and add one half a cup of synthrapol or similar super strength laundry detergent. (Anywhere from one to about fifteen t-shirts can be washed in one load at a time.)
2) Cut the rubber bands off of the t-shirt.
3) Place t-shirt in the washing machine making sure to fully submerge the entire shirt under the water.
4) Once the washing machine has finished, add another half cup of synthrapol and run the washing machine for a second time.
5) Place the tie dye t-shirt in the dryer and dry.