Rayon, also known as viscose, is a regenerated cellulosic fiber mainly produced from wood pulp. Firstly, it was invented as a substitute for silk and also known as artificial silk.
Now, it can also be produced for resembling linen, cotton, or wool. They are mainly used in home furnishing, medical supplies, fashion purpose, diapers, sanitary products, etc. So, if you ask us, can you dye rayon, the answer is yes, and definitely yes.
Now you might also ask, why is rayon called regenerated fiber?
The raw material of rayon, cellulose is obtained from linters (short-fibers) or wood pulp. They are converted into liquid, passed through tiny holes of spinneret, and finally converted in the form of fiber as cellulose. That’s why it is called regenerated fiber.
Rayon vs. Cotton
- Rayon has more stretchability than cotton and also shrinks more. Mock cable
- They are readily damaged due to poor resistance to abrasion.
- Their strength becomes lower in wet conditions, so careful wash or dry-cleaning is necessary.
- Rayon is also more absorbent than cotton.
- Theoretically, the pH requirement of rayon in dyeing is 0.5-1 higher than cotton. Practically it does not affect so much.
Can You Dye Rayon
As we have stated earlier, rayon can be dyed just like the dyeing process of natural fibers.
As rayon is a cellulosic regenerated fiber, all the dyes that work on cotton are applicable on rayon also. Moreover, you’ll achieve more brilliant and deeper shades.
These dyes can used to dye rayon −
How to Dye Rayon: Step-by-Step Guide
Before you embark on your rayon dyeing adventure, gather all your supplies. You will need the following:
Tips for Dyeing Rayon
- You can use Procion MX fiber reactive dyes as well which will give you best results in terms of color fastness.
- Continuous stirring is necessary during the dyeing.
- Maintain high liquor ratio.
- Follow the dyeing procedure of reactive dyes for cotton (according to the reactivity of you dye). If you use other dyes, the procedure is also same as cotton.
- For dyeing darker shades like black or dark navy, extend the simmering time in the dye bath to about 60 minutes for the best results.
Be Careful about Rayon Damage
A major drawback of rayon is their poor strength in wet conditions. The reason behind ‘Dry-clean only.’ tag for rayon is because they are damaged very readily in wet conditions. The tag also applicable if the dyes used are water-soluble or any water-soluble finishes are applied.
During dyeing of rayon, do machine wash without putting stress to the fiber. Gentle hand wash followed by machine wash is more suitable. But if you want to use a washing machine, use a delicate cycle and avoid washing with heavy garments.
Try to wash rayon with cold water and tumble dry in low temperatures. Beware that using a washing machine may cause several failures sometimes if the rayon fabric has weak spots present.
Where to Buy Rayon Fabrics
Dharma Trading Company supplies white rayon fabrics that are ready to dye. Their rayon fabrics are sewn with cotton sewing threads most of the time, and they also absorb the same amount of dye as the fabric.
If you buy rayon from local sources, make sure that they are free from finishes such as water repellent finish, stain-resistant finish, etc. These finishes are typically hyphobic so your dye’s won’t get absorbed evenly or at all!
Similar Fibers Like Rayon
Although rayon acetate is made from rayon, the dyes that work for rayon does not apply to acetate. You must use disperse dyes for rayon acetate dyeing.
Now, you can ask, “How can I know that my fiber is rayon or rayon acetate?”
The answer is, cut a small piece of the fabric, dissolve it into acetone, rayon will remain undissolved, and acetate will be dissolved.
It is almost similar to rayon; just it has higher wet strength. So, you can dye lyocell in the same manner as rayon. It is also known as Tencel (Commercial name).
Most of the recent bamboo fibers are made from bamboo pulp instead of wood pulp that is used for rayon. The bamboo plant is only used for producing a very small amount of these fibers. Both cases use the same dyeing process as rayon.
Some bamboo fibers are acetylated for making acetate; you can dye them in the rayon acetate dyeing process. Fiber reactive dyes produce beautiful shades in bamboo.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Dye Rayon with Rit Dye?
You can dye rayon using Rit dye products. If the rayon is blended with other natural fibers, use Rit ColorStay Dye Fixative to increase the durability and prevent color bleed.
Can You Dye Rayon with Dylon?
Dylon dye is effective on rayon but for a blend of rayon and spandex, hot water dyes should be avoided as it can damage the spandex fiber.
Is Dyeing Rayon-Spandex Blend a Good Idea?
The answer depends on the percentage of Spandex present. The dyes designed for natural fabrics like Rayon won’t hold well for spandex. So, if the percentage of Spandex is around 5-10%, it can be dyable in the regular process.
Is Tie-Dyeing Rayon-Spandex Blend Possible?
Tie-dyeing rayon and spandex is a bit challenging due to the spandex present. But if the percentage of spandex present is low (5-10%), you can tie dye the rayon in regular process.
Can You Dye Rayon with Coffee?
Dyeing rayon with coffee is possible by brewing a strong pot of coffee and using soda ash as a mordant. The soaking duration would influence the final color tone.
Can You Dye Rayon with Tea?
Tea bags can also be used to dye rayon. The amount of tea bags used influences the depth of color. Remember, you can darken but not lighten the fabric color with dyeing.
Can You Dye Rayon Ropes & Ribbons?
Rayon ropes & ribbons can be dyed if they’re 100% rayon, although the results can vary. Identify the composition before choosing a suitable dye. For dyeing 100% rayon ribbon, use PFD rayon ribbon and fiber reactive procion dyes. This dye is a cold water dye and should not harm the ribbon.
I think we were able to provide you an in-depth answer to your query regarding can you dye rayon or not. As long as you stick with the instructed dyes and method, you’ll be all set. And even if you make some mistake, you can always go for a color remover for clothes to rectify the problem.