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All About Black Fiber Reactive (Procion) Dyes

Black Dyes
We currently have 5 black Fiber Reactive dyes, each with a different color cast. (A true black is the hardest color to get with Fiber Reactive dyes.) Three of them work well in lower temperature direct application methods like tie-dye,  batik and low immersion techniques, where the temperatures used are cooler but the fabric is kept moist long enough for the dye to develop full depth. You will see, however, some differences depending upon which one you use and your particular situation and techniques. All five can be used for tub-dyeing (when you are dyeing a solid color shade) and here there are also some differences:

  • #39 Black - Tub dyes with a green cast and edges are blue/green in tie-dye. The least expensive of the blacks. Not black on protein fibers.
  • #44 Better Black - one of our most popular blacks. Tub dyes with a purple-blue cast and edges are blue in tie-dye. Not black on protein fibers.
  • #250 Jet Black - BACK by popular demand; But the price did go way up, as we had said it would. Also, one of the ingredients was no longer available, so we had to experiment around with a new one. This color runs a little different than what you were used to, so if you want to go back to this color, we recommend TESTING before you go whole hog and purchase a very expensive 25 pounder or something!!! Best tub dyed in hot (130° to 150°F) water! Not black on silk or wool or other protein fibers. Not black in tie-dye, batik or low immersion tecniques unless you have a way of heating it while it is curing. (But that would melt the wax with Batik)
  • #275 Hot Black - NEW! - Also best tub dyed in hot (150° to 180°F) water, like the #250, which it was replacing. Now it is a less expensive alternative. Tub dyes with a deep but bluish black cast on cotton. With Soda Ash on silk is a deep blackish brown, with vinegar on silk, came out black in our tests and a less deep shade of black on wool. #250 Jet has never come out black on silk or wool. Tie-dye came out really black for us in warm ambient room temp of 75°F or more! (unlike #250, which it was replacing). We are very excited about this black! Try it!
  • #300 New Black - now tied with #44 for the title of most popular black! Tub dyes with a blue cast and edges are blue/pink in tie-dye. Not black on protein fibers.

Since black is a tough color to get, you have to use a lot of dye and in tub dyeing, you need to use 1.5 to 2 times as much salt. Some of our customers have even recommended a 1/2 and 1/2 combination of #44 and #300 for the blackest black in tie dye and batik. We got a mean black tie-dye with our new Hot Black! In tub dyeing, to make the blacks even darker, and the washout less, we also recommend adding the extra step of soaking the finished dyed garment in Dharma Dye Fixative or Retayne. (This also helps when you want darker purples, browns, blues etc.!) When the dyebath is done, drain it but don't rinse the garments/fabric. Fill tub back up with HOT water and the fixative, 1 oz per lb of fabric, so 8 oz for a full washing machine load. Soak it in that, agitating occasionally, for 30 minutes, then rinse and wash in HOT water and Synthrapol as usual. Sometimes it is necessary to wash black items twice.  


For re-blacking black clothes and jeans that have faded, you can get away with a lot less dye. (4 to 8 oz per machine load, depending on how badly faded - instead of a pound!) To make it worth while, gather up enough faded black stuff so you can just do a whole washing machine load (about 8 lbs. of fabric) and follow our basic tub dying directions.

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