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Thread: Washing Batiks?

  1. #1
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    I am starting 2 batik quilts. I have about 25 different patterns. Do you wash the fabric first. I bought some Retayne to use, but would like to know what others use. Also, do you wash the strips?

    Thanks!
    Alice

  2. #2
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    I would do a test on all the batiks and if they bleed at all douse them with retayne. just on the safe side. I usually rinse mine to check for bleeding and then starch the snot out of them. it makes a world of difference. I have three batiks that I have taken back because of how bad they bled.

  3. #3
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    I do not wash batiks, but I do test ones I am suspicious of. I have had very few bleed over the years, but it may depend on the type of batik. Most of mine are commercial yardage. I think that hand-dyes are much more likely to bleed.

    When using Retayne, make sure that you use lots of water (front-loaders are not good for this job) and hot water. You can group like colors and do them in the sink, if you like.

    I personally would not use Retayne on pre-cut batik strips because of the risk of shrinkage. I would test them, though.

    To test, drop a small piece of the fabric into a glass of water and wait for an hour or so to see if dye seeps into the water (bleeding). Also, rub both dry and damp fabric against a white fabric to see if any dye transfers (crocking). If a fabric passes both of these tests, it is safe to use in a quilt (for me, anyway).

    One last thing I do is make sure to wash the quilt the first time in Synthrapol, which suspends any unset dye particles in water so they don't settle in other fabrics. Again, for Synthrapol you need lots of hot water (not a home front loading machine). Also, you must not allow the damp quilt to sit on itself; it needs to be removed immediately and either laid out to dry or dried in a tumbling dryer. This is to prevent dye transfer from one wet fabric to another.

  4. #4
    Super Member NikkiLu's Avatar
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    I just got done "testing/washing" over 200 pieces of batik. I have been buying them for over a year when I found a pattern that called for 30 fat quarters - Lucky Stars. I just loved them so much that I kept buying but decided to buy 1/2 yard pieces instead of the fat quarters - more, if I found a bargain on batiks somewhere (not very often though). I finally decided that I had enough and started washing them in a pure white kitchen dishpan. OH MY, about 1/2 of them bled and actually wound up throwing two of them away because they never did stop bleeding. I put lukewarm water in my dishpan along with a few drops of detergent and squeezed my pieces around a few times to see if they bled. If they did not, then I rinsed in cool water, wrung out very gently and rolled up in fluffy towels - then put them on an indoor clothesline to dry. Not too much wrinkling that way. Some, I had to rinse many times until the water was clear.

    HTH

  5. #5
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    rip the selvages off and soak them one at a time in a bowl of HOT water...then if that fabric bleeds you will now it and can treat the whole piece...

  6. #6
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Use Retayne to be safe .... reminder you need to use water that is 140 degrees F.
    Shrinkage is not a factor as hot water has been used in the process of batiking. If it was me I would just treat all of them .
    If you are pre-treating no need to wash.

  7. #7
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    Thank you! I'm off to test them!

  8. #8
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    i always pre-wash my batiks- with warm water, detergent- no fabric softener. wash them, toss them into the dryer= when they are almost dry i take them out and press them- if they are red, purple- or any deep color i check to make sure they are not still bleeding before ironing them- but usually one wash takes care of it.
    some batiks bleed for a long time- some not at all- but it sure saves frustration to pre-wash them in the first place.

  9. #9
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    Also, you must not allow the damp quilt to sit on itself; it needs to be removed immediately and either laid out to dry or dried in a tumbling dryer. This is to prevent dye transfer from one wet fabric to another.
    Be very aware that even when laid out flat to dry, bleeding batiks will seep dye into adjoining areas of the quilt as long as it is damp...whether or nor the seam allowance of the bleeder is in contact with backside of another fabric. It's similar to osmosis.

    I prewash everything, but my feeling about bleeders and runners, is this: why waste money on Synthrapol and/or color catchers for the entire life of a quilt when you can wash the uncut fabrics once or twice with Retayne and be done with it? If Retayne doesn't set the dye in a particular batik, I only use it for non-washable projects.

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