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Retayne or Synthrapol: Prevent and Reverse Color Bleeding


Hey if you have ever done any of your own
fabric dyeing you’ve probably used these. But if not you’ve got to. These are fantastic.
And today’s tutorial is all about sewing science. That’s right I’m going to walk
you through some of the basics of Retayne and Synthrapol to help stop the bleed. Ok now in all seriousness aside, it’s time
to take these gloves off because you don’t need to be this protected to work with Retayne
or Synthrapol. I just love to play dress up. And I’m always looking for a good opportunity
to show off some of my cool threads. Now check this out. These are primarily used in two
different ways. We’re going to start today with the retayne. And retayne is usually used
with commercially produced or fabric that you buy from the quilt shops or in the links
below in our description, right? What happens is sometimes especially with dark reds and
dark blues, they will bleed a bit after we started sewing with them, onto other fabrics
and it can be terribly devastating in our quilt projects after we’ve put all that
work into it. So the first thing we need to do is we need to learn how to test our fabrics
to see if they will even bleed. Now I’m using batiks today because batiks are also
very unstable because of the way they’re produced. And now here’s a funny side note.
Of course you know I spend months and months in my studio in California preparing for these
tutorials. And the first round of fabric I couldn’t get any of it to bleed because
even with batiks the fantastic vendors out there are producing fabulous fabrics. And
so it was really hard to prepare today’s tutorial because I couldn’t get any of the
fabric to misbehave. I found a couple of old batiks in my stash that are definitely dye-challenged. And so when I want to find out if they’re
going to bleed, what I do is I take a fresh piece of white fabric. And what I’m going
to do is I’m going to use this spray bottle. And I’m literally soaking the white fabric.
And we’re going to do it on this red here. And we’re also going to do it on the purple.
I’m going to also point out real quick that I have this non-stick teflon pressing sheets
underneath because if this does bleed as I’m hoping it will, it will also soil and ruin
your ironing board. I have proof in my home studio to show you. So you can see that this
is very, very wet. We’re going to now take a hot iron. And I’ve actually got mine set
to steam as well. And I’m going to come down here on top and I’m going to literally
dry this white fabric with the iron itself to try to produce a bit of bleeding. And I
can see fortunately my science is working today fantastically. The red is definitely
discharging some of its excess dye. And what it really is is it’s the dye coming off
of the fabric. And even though our batiks are rinsed several times this will still happen.
And I’m getting a fantastic discharging already but I’m going to go ahead and finish
this off. And then I’m going to show you this other set of samples that I’ve already
pre-treated, right? So this was a really fun series of experiments
for me to do working on in my studio getting everything ready. Now what I’d like to do
is I’m just going to bring this in a little closer for you so you can all get a good feel
of some of the dye. I’m hoping you can see some of this discharging already. And it’s
not even dried yet. So now as I do this. We’re going to just keep pressing through, pressing
through. And the purple is working fantastically as well. Now of course you could do this just
on the edge, along the selvedge edge of your batik or your commercially produced fabric,
right? But look at this. Let me pull this off, there and there. Still even a little
bit damp and just in case you couldn’t remember what it used to look like. That would be like
one of those Tide challenges or something like that, right? So we have that all put
together. And you can see how much bleeding really happened. Now the next two samples I’m going to show
you we’re going to do the exact same test with. But these fabrics I pre-treated with
Retayne. We’ll just do it with this purple. That will make this easy, right? And with
the purple piece that we have here, the Retayne calls for one teaspoon per yard of fabric.
And you get yourself a stock pot like this up to about 140 degrees in temperature. And
you’re going to soak your fabric or fabrics that you’re going to work with, for about
20 minutes. And then you’ll rinse and dry immediately. Watch this test. So this purple
one here, I have it labeled at the top, Retayne, which means I have already treated this at
home. And I followed the directions to a T, maybe for the first time in my life, I read
the instructions and followed them. You’ll be very proud of me, right? Now as I go ahead
and do the exact same testing here, I’m getting no dye exchange between the purple
and the white fabric. So again if you’re a pre-washer, with your fabrics, you come
home from the quilt shop and you toss your stash right in the washing machine. Well then
you can simply just add a teaspoon of the Retayne per yard of fabric. And you already
know how much you’ve got going into the wash. You can do it all at once. And if just
stabilizes everything. So you can obviously see the difference in the tests, right? So
very, very effective. And the fun thing about this stuff is I used to push a dust mop around
my mom’s quilt shop for years. And literally for over 20 plus years I’ve seen these things
sitting on a shelf, but I’ve never dyed fabric much so I never really played with
them to find out how they worked. And I am so thrilled to have this tutorial for all
of us today. Now what are the differences however between
Retayne and Synthrapol. Retayne stops the bleed. So you do it in advance. You do it
before you have any problems. But what happens if you’re watching this tutorial and it’s
already too late and you’ve already had fabric that bled onto another color. Well
what you can do for that is that’s when Synthrapol comes into play. Synthrapol is
used to actually pull out excess dye and get it off of the fabric. So it could do a little
lightening of some of your colored fabrics. These two samples right here I’ve already
done. And I’m going to show you here in the pot in a second and I’m hoping it will
work for our camera time. But these ones, as you can see I’ve labeled them Synthrapol.
I stitched this to this purple batik. This went into the pot and at that point it looked
just like that piece of white fabric. And when it came out and I rinsed it and dried
it, this is the final example right there. So we’re going to use now, for Synthrapol,
it’s a teaspoon of the Synthrapol per one gallon of water, not one yard of fabric. The
cap is about a teaspoon. And I’m going to drop that in there. My water the other instructions
for this says very hot water, the other instructions were for 140 degrees. Let’s check. I’m
using a candy thermometer to test here. And I am well over 140 but I’m not boiling.
Just kind of smiling we used to call that in the restaurant business. And so then what
I can do, we’re going to take our purple and we’re going to take our red fabrics
that we have. And this is going to go in the pot. Now I should stir this around and/or
it says to wash. So you might need something to help agitate it better. So maybe some of
these fantastic kitchen tools we have laying around like this. We could put them in here
and we can wash. And I’m going to look at my watch and I’m going to do this for five
minutes. I’m going to move it around and agitate it for five minutes. And then we’ll
come back and show you what’s happened. Ok, time’s up. Here, it’s been our five
minutes in the hot bath with the Synthrapol. And I’m just pulling these out real quick.
And you can actually already see. That was, I believe, the purple one. How much of the
dye has already been pulled back of it. And of course my water is starting to look a bit
like grape juice anyways. So now these need to be taken to a sink, rinsed out with cool
water and then dried. I’ll be right back with that. Ok so now I have my rinsed fabrics here coming
out of the Synthrapol. And I’m going to hit them with the iron to dry them. Of course
you could put this in your dryer at home. That’s what I did with my other samples.
And I really should take this moment and I should have said it earlier, pointed out,
but this is not necessarily for heirloom, quilt projects, right? Because we’re using
hot water and we’re using an agitation or washing process. A lot of us are doing this
in our washing machine at home. So this is, the best application of this kind of stuff
is when you’re using your fabrics before they are created into a quilt and stitched
together. As a matter of fact this piece here I labeled that I had tried to splotch or I
took a very wet rag, dipped it in the Synthrapol, in the hot water, and I tried to clean an
edge as if I was working on grandmother’s heirloom quilt. And it really didn’t allow,
it needed some agitation so it didn’t pull the dyes back off like I would like. So what
I’m really trying to say as I’m ironing this stuff dry to show you, is you want to
make sure that you’re thinking ahead if at all possible. And if you are trying to
pull bled fabric out, or bled dyes out of other fabrics, if it’s an heirloom, I really
recommend strongly you do not. I don’t want to be the one getting in trouble telling you
to use hot water and a washing machine on an 80 year old quilt. So that’s today’s
disclaimer at Man Sewing. Now check this out. I’ve got this all but dry, right? And you
can see, you saw one that went in looking just about like this and here it is coming
out. Now if I look really closely I can see the faintest amount of the pink on there.
But it certainly wasn’t as bad as when I started. So this is a fantastic way to help control
some of the run or some of the bleeding of the dyes especially if you’re doing your
own kind of tye-dying and that thing. So if you were tye dying and you were doing the
rinse that would be the great time to go ahead and put the Synthrapol right in your rinse
bath because it’s going to help secure and hold everything together. Now there are some
fantastic home remedies also out there such as using salt or vinegar. I’ve done a little
bit of research on both and unfortunately I never found any true recipe or true information
that said it worked fantastic and that is why I was dying, pun intended, today to share
with you the benefits and the blessings behind Retayne and Synthrapol. I hope I’ve got
you all charged so that your colors aren’t discharging next time here on Man Sewing.

32 thoughts on “Retayne or Synthrapol: Prevent and Reverse Color Bleeding

  1. Awesome tutorial on how to use these products. I am ALWAYS worrying about my batiks bleeding!! Super informative and awesomely fun as usual! Thanks! =)

  2. 140 degrees … that would be Fahrenheit, right? About 60 degrees Celsius for the rest of the world 🙂

  3. I have a quilt I made for my daughter and I have never washed it because I'm afraid of bleeding (its a jelly roll quilt with a literal rainbow of colors/batiks) would the synthropal be okay for a quilt that's already been put together, with a lot of colors?

  4. Do you wash your jelly rolls and your fat quarters? If so how would you do that without the jelly rolls getting all tangled up?

  5. This was really helpful – thank you! I have both of these products as they were recommended by an instructor, but afterwards, I got confused on which one to use when. Seeing your tutorial made it so much easier to sort out the uses of these two products. 🙂

  6. awesome! hooray for stitch science! can i throw in retayne together with color catchers or does that defeat the purpose? i hate sorting my wash unless i really have to!

  7. Fun video…. What about Color Catchers? I wash all of my quilts with a couple of Color Catchers… Never had any bleeding… But them, I always use gold water…

  8. Excellent and fun tutorial. Thanks, Rob, for ALL your tutorials! My concern is quilts that are washed after finishing them. I do not prewash, but do use color catchers in the wash when finished. I've never had a problem–but, there's always a first!

  9. Very informative tutorial – loved all your preparation Saved me lots of time. I gotta admit, you're growing on me…

  10. please excuse this question if it is stupid, however… Could Synthrapol be used to remove hair dye from a pillowcase and the top of my 22 year old quilt? Apparently my hairdresser missed a spot while rinsing my hair and I cannot remove the hair dye using normal washing products, including Clorox 2 for colour. Thanks!

  11. I have always been afraid to prewash.  Does the fabric not start to fray? Also what if you are using precuts.  Would love some help on this as I have only been quilting a year and so far each time I give away a quilt I give a wash sheet to the person and tell them to use it when they was for the first time.  I am afraid that y the time they wash it they will forget. Help Rob please.

  12. Great video as always! Just a comment about vintage quilt tops…I have dissolved several denture tablets in a bathtub with a few inches of water and immersed stained tops with a fair amount of success. Probably would not try on anything valuable, but it worked for my purposes.

  13. Great idea, and great products. My grandma used to throw new fabric into the washing machine, add some cider vinegar and a few spoons of salt, run through the cycle, then dry, and they never bled after that. I'm not a natural products Nazi–whatever works and is handy is fine with me. If it just happens to be natural, so much the better, but it's not necessary. I've used both of these and they work wonderfully. Thing is if you don't have any on hand or the store is closed or whatever, everybody has salt and vinegar around the house, and it's a bit less expensive. (Although if you've bought all that lovely fabric, what's a few more dollars…)

  14. very awesome —i want to make my daughter a skate board quilt using bright colors —i was thinking how i could keep the colors from running together —while i have your attention i watched a tutorial with you and jenny i saw some of your art work —i would love to use a few of your ''under the deck'' squares —i also want to use colored wheels along with the black wheels but im not sure on my color coordination could you help???

  15. I'm making a signature quilt where pigma micron pens were used for the signatures. It's a quilt-as-you-=go project, so I'm wondering if the retayne might be a good step for me to add before I join my blocks together? All fabrics used were Moda, and nothing was prewashed. Thoughts??

  16. If using Retayne in the washing machine (specifically a front loader), where would we put the product? Right in with the fabric? In the detergent dispenser? Thanks!

  17. I’ve already washed my seven red cotton fabrics twice, and the red is still bleeding. I now have Retayne, is it too late? My fabric cost a fortune, it’s to make a quilt for y grandsons wedding.

  18. Could you use retayne on fabric that is not a solid color? I have some quilting cotton that has red roses covering most of its white(ish) background, and it is still bleeding onto white despite washing it twice. It also drenched the 5+ color catchers bright pink that I put in each load.

  19. If you have an Heirloom piece (clothing, hankies, quilt, etc) that you need to clean – I highly recommend Retro Clean!! You can buy it here: https://imsewhappy.co/products/retro-clean Great Tutorial for these products, Rob!!

  20. What if I had a paint on the purple fabric which is dyed ? Will this chemical remove the bleed from the painted dye design as well as the original colour ?

  21. Got your printable. Thanks for the straightforward info. I dye fabric frequently and use Synthrapol in the final wash to make my hand dyes "quilt-ready" but I didn't know how the Retayne was meant to work or quite what the different between them is. I have printed the printable and that's going on the cork board in my studio. 🙂 As you say, we are lucky to have great quality fabrics so this isn't an issue very often but I recently starting prepping some new Christmas fabrics with a lot of red and omg several of them bled!! So I had to back up and treat them and retest. What a headache, but better than finding the bleeding after sewing them into the quilt!

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