Dyeing Safety- March 12, 2019

I had friend of a friend texting me about dyeing pants. After texting her, I realized that the majority of the conversation was about dye safety. Here is the advise I gave her: ALWAYS wear rubber gloves when you are dyeing. Rubber gloves should be put on even before you open the jar of dye. NEVER dye in your kitchen or where food will be stored or served. If you use something from the kitchen, it should never be used in the kitchen again. I use recycled plastic cups, spoons, buckets, measuring spoons and cups. I keep them in the garage. They are used for dyes only. I take buckets of water outside before I start to dye, to rinse these items before they are put away. After your dye process each jar of dye needs to be wiped with a wet paper towel. The reason being when the moisture or water drys it leaves a powder or tiny little particles that get on your hands later. You don’t want dye power showing up on your hands. When an accident happens, I use this:

This leads to a discussion on adding dyes to urea. The urea softens the water. Its usually needed for colors like black, red, fuchsia. Its best to mix urea in water before you add the dye. Never add dye to a dry surface.

ALWAYS add powder to a wet surface. Prepare your solutions with warm water ahead of time in cups. I use the cups over and over after they are cleaned. If the cups crack, they need to be thrown away. I always use a respirator mask while I dye fabric. In the past, I have used a small mask to protect my face. They are similar to ones doctors and nurses wear. It protects my mouth and nose from aspirating the dye particles. I wear glasses as well. I need them to see, but they are also protecting my eyes. I’ve bought my masks from Amazon and replace the filters on the respirator. I also, buy fabric and dyes from Dharma and Pro Chem. I’m sure they sell the masks as well. Here are the masks:

These are called comfort masks.
Here is the mask I found on Amazon. It has replacement filters.

After dyeing, gloves, containers, buckets, spoons, washing machine drum (yes, that too, I don’t use a front loading washing machine), jars and fabric all need to be washed with the gloves on. If you take the fabric from a bucket after adding water and soda ash, the gloves need to be on your hands. I wash the fabric twice sometimes three time in hot water.

I know this sounds a little preachy or maybe a lot of preaching to some of my readers. It’s a serious discussion. Why do I dye fabric? It’s a lot of work. Work reaps rewards. I enjoy seeing the fabrics; when they come out of the dryer. My usual response is: “this batch is not as pretty as the last.” But as I press them with a hot steam iron. I notice their beauty. So, let’s end with : It’s better to be safe than sorry.


This is a work in progress. It was done with my dyed, and painted fabric. Its not laying flat, but it will quilt out. This is a design by “bee creative.” I’m not able to find her with her website or by phone listed on the pattern to give her credit.


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