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Hello again! This is really two questions:
1) I was dying a white tank top lilac, and as soon as the fabric hit the dye water, it was the perfect pale shade of lilac. After 15 min I added the salt. Now, I know from reading this forum that the salt deepens the color, but I also thought salt is a fixative, so I have to use it? 
If I have the perfect color right away, do I keep the fabric for less time in the dye-water solution, or do I SKIP the salt step?
It did of course darken up when I added the salt, so after a few min I pulled it out and rinsed it, then watered down the dye+salt solution, and then added the soda ash after that.
The color it turned out is still great but I would have loved to keep it the pale lilac it originally turned. Advice?

At the same time, I was overdying a pair of pale blue (very faded) capris and a sky blue hand towel. I used a lot of salt and they were both a nice deep lilac. Then when I added the soda ash, they turned MUCH bluer, more of a purple. which is fine, I was really just experimenting on those. I'm just curious, did the soda ash change the dye color because it reacted with the original dye in them? Useful to know for future overdying....

Photos below: finished lilac tank top, capris in dye+salt, then capris after soda ash added. (My iphone is HORRIBLE with colors so these are not perfect representations... but they are close) AEtank Lilac results.jpg  BlueCapris InLilacDyeWithSalt.jpg  BlueCapris InLilacDyeWithSoda.jpg 

 

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Jacquardmod Jacquardmod
Salt gives you max color.  There is more than one way to control it, but if you add the salt, you are going to get everything the dye has.

So you can

Use less salt

or use less dye.

I prefer #2 because it is the most economical.  Salt is cheaper than dye.

The thing about our dyes and the reason people use them over other brands is that we give you a lot of dye.  If you use the whole thinga nd salt it is going to come out dark.  If you want a lighter color, you should be using 2 tablespoons per 3lbs of fabric or even more.  If you want pastel shades, you should be using 2 teaspoons per 3lbs.  

The soda ash is the fixative, not the salt.  The salt pushes the dye out of solution and into the fiber.  

You can get pastel shade without using salt or soda ash, and it will be pretty even.  It is just more likely to lighten over time more.  
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Thank you very much for clarifying!

When I was a kid, if we bought clothes that looked like the colours might run, the advice then was to soak them in salt water for a while (can't remember how long) to fix the dye. Hence I thought salt was the fixative. I have no idea now if that was an old wives' tale...

Anyway, I'm off to do more dyeing now! 😁

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