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Tuesday Tip – Which is Which?

I like to prewash my fabrics, both to pre-shrink them and to avoid any surprises from bleeding dyes. I knew there were several chemicals that could be used in the wash to prevent problems with dyes, but I could never remember which one to use when.

Synthrapol is a detergent that washes away loose dye particles. Hand-dyers will use it as a final wash to remove excess dye. This is the product to try if you have had one fabric bleed into another – often times it will remove the ‘bleed’. Also use it when washing something where you think a fabric may bleed into the others. Or use Shout Color Catchers – they are similar to fabric softener sheets, but go in the wash, and help to pick up stray dye. (An added bonus to using the Color Catchers – sometimes they turn out to be the prettiest colors, and can be used in art quilting or craft projects!)

Retayne is a chemical that will fix the dye so it stops bleeding. Use it on solid or low contrast cloth, before you have sewn it into a top. (I usually wash my batiks in Retayne to be sure they won’t bleed.) Do NOT use it on a quilt where the red bled into the white, unless you WANT the white to stay pink! I did have a situation once where no matter how many times I washed a blue and white quilt in Synthrapol with Color Catchers, the blue backing just would NOT stop bleeding. I finally decided I was going to have to live with a blue and light blue quilt and washed it in Retayne so it would not continue to bleed.

Remember that to RETAIN something is to keep it, therefore RETAYNE keeps the dye in the fabric. (I wonder if they make RETAYNE for brains? Mine seems to have trouble RETAINING the things I’d like it to lately!)

Hope this helps you remember which is which. Now can someone remind me where I left my keys???…….


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