Fabric Washing – 2018 Update

I keep learning new things! The last time I wrote about fabric washing was in August 2017. (Click here, and on the link in that post, to read about why I always wash my fabric.) Since then I’ve made changes to my washing routine.  FYI: I never use laundry detergent or fabric softeners on my quilts or quilt fabric.

Retayne-RetroWash

  • I now use Retro Wash instead of Orvus Paste as the “soap” in the washer. Both work, but Retro Wash is easier to use.

Retro Wash is a powder. The instructions on the package are clear. Use 1 tablespoon per load in a top-loading HE machine. I don’t mix it with water first, but you probably could. I use the same amount of Retro Wash, no matter the size of the load, which might be wrong, but it works for me.

  •  Retayne is the chemical that sets the dye into the fabric. There is new, much improved, information on the label now.

The label says is to use 1 teaspoon of Retayne per yard of fabric in a HE machine, with warm water. It turns out that I wasn’t using near enough Retayne before! I mix the Retayne in a half-cup of water and pour it into the detergent receptacle.

Click here to find Retro Wash and Retayne.

  • Add 1 Color Catcher to pick up excess dye, just because.

Color Catchers catch the excess dye from the water. (I very much suspect that they have Synthrapol in them, but I don’t know that for sure.)

Since I changed my washing routine, the Color Catchers are coming out white, even in dark loads. I am happy!

When I wash quilts, I will use Retro Wash, at least 1 Color Catcher, and Synthrapol. Synthrapol keeps dye that has migrated into the wash water from re-depositing into the fabric. I haven’t done that yet — I’ll let you know when I do.

I do have one more bit of (mildly disturbing) news that I learned from a student who works for US Customs. There’s not a nice way to say it, so here goes: ships, and the containers on them, are often infested with vermin. Who leave droppings. ICK!!!!

I don’t know how fabric is wrapped for travel inside the container. It starts on rolls and later is folded, wound onto cardboard bolts, and then shrink-wrapped in plastic. That might happen here in the US, or overseas. Either way, the contamination is probably small. But still, that got my attention. (FYI: Most of our clothes are also imported so I’m now washing new clothes before I wear them.)

 

10 thoughts on “Fabric Washing – 2018 Update

  1. I have a quilting friend who has been working in shipping her whole career. She says if you ever saw what is in the containers (scorpions! shudder) or the filth on a loading dock you’d be sure to wash your fabric. She washes all hers in hot water and puts in a hot dryer.

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  2. I wash my fabric with plain old detergent and iron dry with a very hot iron, When I finish my quilt it goes straight back into the washer with detergent and then the dryer. I’ve never had a problem with fabric running. Sometimes I will test it first especially reds. Because I make my quilts to be used they will be laundered again at some point without any special soap.

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    • Regular detergent has additives that do more than clean the fabric. It feels different, softer.

      If you like that feel, go with it. There is room in this world for different views. That said, I don’t like working with softer fabric so I’ll continue to avoid regular detergent.

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  3. I wash all new clothes since last year when I got a rash all over my body from a new pants and top. My derm doctor said it was from the chemical on new clothes that keeps them looking fresh when hanging in the store. Took medication and a few weeks to get rid of it. I’ve always washed, used Retayne or Synthropol, and a Color Catcher so do you think I should be washing older fabric that I’ve washed in the past with the Retro Wash again?

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    • I am not washing my old fabric, even though I’m pretty sure I didn’t get all of the dye out of it before I switched to this new regimen. But when I wash quilts, I’m going to be very careful and use Retayne, Color Catchers, and maybe Synthrapol, along with Retro Wash.

      And, really, an all-over body rash! I’m sorry about that but thank you for sharing what your doctor told you.

      >

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  4. My HE toploader barely has any water in it and I can’t increase the amount. I am afraid to wash anything that may bleed. I go to my friends house instead. Does your toploader fill up?

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