Chemicals Used for Dyeing (During)

Urea is used in tie dyeing, or other direct application dyeing. It is generally not used in solid color dyeing or Ice Dyeing. Moisture is an important component of the chemical reaction process. Urea helps draw moisture to the chemical reaction, helping the dye penetrate the fabric. Urea also helps large amounts of dye powder dissolve in small amounts of water. We estimate that one pound of Urea will prepare enough chemical water to tie-dye about 16 to 18 t-shirts. 5 pounds will therefore prepare enough for about 80 shirts.
March 2023 Note on Urea: The price of Urea has increased. Here are things you can do to help keep your dyeing costs lower. 
Know when to use urea. When you tie dye, you generally mix small, concentrated solutions of dye. Urea helps large amounts of dye powder dissolve to achieve relatively deeper shades. You control the strength of your colors by using more or less dye powder. If you are mixing light or medium shades, urea is not needed because the relatively small amounts of dye powder can dissolve easier in the water. Our colors these days are typically so powerful, that even if you don’t use urea, you can still mix strong, bright shades using a little less dye (4 tsp instead of 6 tsp). So if the price of urea is getting you down, try using a little bit less dye with plain warm water. You can also try using less urea in your normal recipe and see if that works well for you. We hope this is as high as the cost will go.


Water Softener is used in both tie-dye and solid color dyeing. Dyes simply work better in soft water. One eight ounce bag of water softener will tie dye approximately 160 t-shirts.

Ludigol is used in tie dyeing or other direct application dyeing. It is generally not used in solid color dyeing. 

Really, we don't recommend Ludigol anymore. Don't buy it. In our tests Ludigol does not make a difference in your tie dye project. Only purchase Ludigol if you've tested it for your process and you know it makes some sort of difference.


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