The fear of stains is common when starting tie-dye. It’s easy to think that our furniture is in danger. This is especially true if you plan on using wooden table. You might also be afraid of staining your clothes or even your hands.
Most household surfaces are actually resistant to tie-dye and won’t get stained. Plastic, metal, and glass can be wiped clean. Porous surface like raw wood and fabric can become stained if they come in contact with dye.
We always recommend exercising caution when tie-dyeing. If you’re unsure about a surface you should cover it with a plastic sheet.
|Can stain||Will not stain|
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Surfaces that can get stained
Fiber-reactive dye is made for “staining” natural fibers such as cotton. The dyeing process adds color to suitable fabric.
In addition to fabric, reactive dyes can stain a number of household materials.
Fabrics made of natural fibers (cotton, linen, hemp, silk), raw wood, and painted walls can all be stained by contact with dye.
Any porous material is susceptible to having dye stuck in its pores. Materials like granite, marble, and concrete can trap dye particles. The dye will not bond, but the particles can be hard to remove.
How to protect work surfaces
If you only have access to vulnerable surfaces you can easily protect them. Lay a plastic sheet over the surface to protect it.
You should also protect any surface you’re unsure about just to make sure. Dye your items over a container to contain any spill.
Surfaces that will not get stained
Luckily, most household surfaces are resistant to staining.
Any material that is waterproof can be wiped clean. Under normal conditions these materials will not get stained.
Plastics, synthetic fibers (polyester, nylon, acrylic), varnished wood, metal, glass, vinyl, porcelain, and ceramic are all resistant to staining.
Most kitchens tables and countertops are safe and will not get stained. Make sure to wipe down any spill.
Soda ash contained in dye solutions is alkaline and can affect certain surfaces if left to dry.
Can tie-dye stain my hands?
Yes, you can temporarily stain your hands when tie-dyeing. Luckily, tie-dye is non-toxic and gets off the skin quickly.
Tie-dye only stains the outer layer of skin and fades in a matter of hours.
Quickly rinse off dye off the skin to minimize the exposure and reduce the staining. The color will fade on its own in under 24 hours in most situations.
Be careful how you use your dye bottles if you don’t want to stain your hands. Wear gloves to prevent staining.
Can tie-dye stain my clothes?
Yes, you can stain your clothes while tie-dyeing. While spilling dye on your clothes is rare, it’s something we don’t want to happen.
Clothes made of natural fibers are susceptible to getting stained. Always wear clothing you don’t mind staining.
Synthetic fabric cannot be stained under normal conditions so they are a good choice. Wear an apron to protect your clothes. Don’t wear expensive or precious clothing while dyeing.
Black fabric cannot be stained with dyes since it’s already fully colored.
Can tie-dye stain my table?
Most tables are resistant to staining by tie-dye. Common materials such as metal, glass, and varnished wood are safe.
Some table can get stained. Never tie-dye on a raw wood table. Unprotected wood is porous and readily absorbs dye. Wood that is painted, stained, or finished with wax will be safe.
Lay a plastic sheet over your table to protect it. Dye your shirt over a cookie sheet to contain the dye.
Can tie-dye stain my sink?
No, sinks are made of nonporous material and cannot get stained by tie-dye. Stainless steel, enamel, and other sink materials are safe and will not get stained.
You can safely rinse and/or wash a tie-dye shirt in your sink. It is also safe to pour dyes down the drain.
Can tie-dye stain my washer?
No, washers are made of metal and cannot be stained. It is safe to wash tie-dye shirts in washers. Dye droplets can sometimes be deposited on surfaces inside the washer. Wipe down any colored specks you find.
Can tie-dye stain my countertops?
Most countertops are resistant to dye and will not get stained. Be careful with stone countertops (marble, granite) as they are slightly porous and can trap dye particles.
Can tie-dye stain walls?
Yes, dye can stain walls. Common painted drywall will get stained on contact with dye. Be careful not to splash dye on your walls as it can be difficult to remove.
Can tie-dye stain the floor?
No, most floor surfaces are resistant to dye and will not get stained. Laminate, vinyl, and varnished wood can be wiped clean after a spill.
Carpets can get stained depending on the material. Carpets made of natural fibers can get stained. Be careful not to spill dye over any carpet as they are hard to clean.
Can tie-dye stain my bathtub?
No, bathtub are non-porous and waterproof. They are usually made of acrylic or porcelain, both of which cannot be stained by tie-dye.
It is safe to rinse tie-dye in your bathtub and to pour dyes down the bathtub drain.