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Polyester Cannot Be Dyed

polyester

I am doing a science project in which I am dyeing fabrics. I am using Rit dye, but also polyester fabric. I read that the reason polyester cannot be dyed is because it’s water repellant, but a non-water based solvent besides water might work. Is this true? Is there any other way of dyeing polyester? Lindsay

Lindsay,
Here is the deal. Polyester is a petroleum-based fiber, sort of like plastic in fabric form. It’s dyed in its liquid form at the factory and then spun into threads and woven. So water-based dyes, such as Rit and also the reactive dyes will not stick to it. It’s like trying to dye a plastic bag. Rit and other water-based dyes are not designed to work with any other solvent. I have heard that airbrush ink will stick to polyester, but it must be heat-set at high temperatures to keep it on the fabric. However, don’t try this at home! I have no experience with it and can’t recommend this for home use.
Get a length of cotton muslin and experiment away with Rit and also the reactive dyes that are available at www.dharmatrading.com.
Have fun!
Jennifer

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