Preventing clothing dyes from staining your doll.

After my incident where I had to scrub my new resin baby’s butt since the cotton fabric from the new clothes he was wearing left black marks on him, I decided it was high time I did something about the clothing to prevent it from happening again.

Now everyone will tell you to wash your clothes before putting them on your doll to get excess dyes out of the clothing, and this is a good practice because a lot of the time it’s the excess dye that is the problem and not the fabric. However, everyone and their mother’s sister’s niece on DoA will also tell you to then soak your doll’s clothing in a solution of vinegar and water for a couple hours to set the colors, which is very nearly false as I recently found out. Of course it can’t hurt to do this as long as you wash and rinse thoroughly afterwards, but it will not set any dyes on cotton. It will however help to set some acid based dyes on fabrics that have been acid dyed such as silk, nylon and wool, but definitely not cotton.

So, you might be wondering now how in the world you can set the dyes on your dolls cotton clothing which probably take up the majority of your doll’s wardrobe unless you have a bunch of barbie/fashion doll synthetic clothing. The answer is a product called “Retayne” which is a dye fixative that quilters use to prevent one fabric from staining another if they need to wash the quilt. Thankfully Retayne is cheap, you can get a bottle of it for around $2 in stores like JoAnn’s where they also have lots of quilting supplies. You can also order it online from JoAnn’s and various other crafting quilting sites, BUT Amazon lists this stuff for $6, so don’t be fooled into wasting money!

Lastly I want to say that I found out all of this info from this very informative site I found called “All About Hand Dyeing”. You can read the very same FAQ section that I read here:

The site also has lots of other useful information on special washes to help remove excess dye, as well as more information on Retayne and it’s uses. Also if you ever have the need to dye something, this looks to be a good resource for that too!

3 Replies to “Preventing clothing dyes from staining your doll.”

  1. Yeah pretty much you just wash them a few times until when you rinse them the water runs clear. A lot of makers have been a lot better about using prewashed fabrics though so I feel it’s less of an issue now.

  2. an even cheaper alternative to retayne is simply table salt. as you said vinegar only works on protein based fabrics (think animal products) and the dyes used for them. you also need to heat the fabric to set/re-set the dye. then let cool before rinsing.

    salt is the mordant you need to set dye in cellulose based fabrics (plant product) just soak them in a tub of cold water with as much salt as you can dissolve into it.

    if those things don’t set the dye they probably have just too much dye left in them and rinsing till the water runs clear is your best bet.

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