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How to Use Procion Dyes

Updated April 17, 2017

Procion dyes are used to dye plant-based fibres or fabrics, such as cotton, linen, bamboo and ramie. They are a fibre-reactive dyes, which means that they create a chemical reaction with the cellulose in the fibre to make a permanent and washable colour. These dyes produce bright, clear colours, so they are a good choice for tie-dyeing, but you can use them on any plant-based fabric, fibre or yarn.

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  1. Machine-wash the fabric with the fibre wash to remove any dirt or sizing. Use hot water for the best results. Don't dry the fabric.

  2. Put on the face mask, rubber gloves and apron. Measure 14.2gr. of Procion dye into a plastic cup and add some lukewarm tap water. Stir with a chopstick or spoon to make a smooth paste. You can remove the face mask after mixing the dye.

  3. Fill a container with 2 gallons of hot tap water. Add the dye to the container and stir gently.

  4. Add the salt and stir until dissolved. The salt draws the dye into the fabric. For very dark colours, including black, navy blue or brown, increase the amount to 1227gr.

  5. Add the wet fabric to the container, and stir gently to distribute it in the dye bath. Let the fabric rest in the dye for 10 to 20 minutes.

  6. Put on the face mask and rubber gloves, and dissolve 2 tbsp of soda ash in warm water in a plastic cup.

  7. Add the soda ash mixture to the dye bath, stirring gently as you pour to spread the solution around evenly. The soda ash fixes the dye to the fabric, making it colour-fast.

  8. Let the fabric sit in the dye bath until it reaches the shade you want. Light shades should take 20 to 30 minutes, while dark shades should take up to 1 hour.

  9. Remove the fabric from the dye bath and machine-wash in warm water with the fabric wash. Machine or line-dry.

  10. Tip

    This technique is called tub or immersion dyeing.


    Soda ash is caustic, so always wear a face mask and gloves when handling. If you dye outside, avoid windy days. Do not use any of the tools for cooking after using them for dyeing.

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Things You'll Need

  • 0.454kg. of cotton fabric
  • Fibre wash
  • Washing machine
  • Face mask
  • Rubber gloves
  • Apron
  • Plastic cups
  • Procion dye
  • Chopsticks or old spoons
  • 3- or 4-gallon container
  • 0.454kg. plain table salt
  • Soda ash

About the Author

Susan Brockett worked in the computer industry as a technical writer for nearly 20 years at companies including Motorola and Dell Computer Systems. In addition, her articles have appeared in Society of Technical Communications publications. Brockett has a master's degree in English composition and communications from Kansas State University.

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