What is the best way to wash the dyed garments after it's been rinsed in cool water until clear.
I've been experimenting with tie dye socks and using Procion MX dye.

I've found that after rinsing the tie dye socks until water runs clear - the colours and patterns are distinct, vibrant and the white undyed sections are still white.
Although after rinsing them in cold water with laundry detergent the patterns seem to run into the white and even the MX dye fades more than expected. I'm also aware that colours look darker when wet.
Here is my current process:
1. Soak socks in soda ash for 20 minutes
2. Ring out excess water - socks still damp
3. Fold socks and add dye to create desired pattern
4. Wrap socks in cling wrap
5. 12 hour curing time
6. Rinse with cold water until water runs clear
7. Leave to dry a bit - also still wet before putting in the washing machine with detergent.
Any tips on how to keep the patterns intact, colours strong and minimise bleeding into the white?

Does the reaction time need to be longer?
Is the socks too wet when I apply the dye and the reason why colours blend too much into eachother?
Is it necessary to wash garments in hot water?
Also where do you place your tie dyed items overnight to ensure it sets in atleast 70deg temperature?
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Jacquardmod Jacquardmod
The washing step is pretty important.  We have great dye detergents. Synthrapol is the best known detergent to keep the white parts white and prevent "backstaining" which is when dyed areas bleed into white areas.  With procion, the dye is very permanent, so once all the excess is washed out, you shouldn't get backstaining.  Our Solar Fast wash is also superb at washing out unreacted dye.  This is my go-to and I think it works even better than Synthrapol, I use it on a ll my dye projects.

Those are the best but are not the only detergents that can help you though.  2 others are really good that you are likely to have in your house.  Baby shampoo is good at getting dyes out. Also, just a little squirt of dish detergent, especially one like Dawn is good to help the water penetrate and get that excess dye out. 

As far as keeping better color and maximizing it, you are hitting on the 2 big ones.  The more time you leave it the darker it gets.  12 hrs is good, but people go longer.  Also, heat while you have it wrapped up helps.  I used to use a radiator in the winter, but I got a great tip from a customer.  She puts her tie dye on a heating pad overnight.  

Lastly, you can kick your color up a notch by using Urea.  1-2 tsp in your tie dye bottle can really intensify the color.  All the pro's use Urea, and it is relatively cheap because you use so little.  
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Thanks for your reply!
I'm planning on selling some of my tie dye products so I'm trying to get this step right so I tell confidently tell customers that it won't bleed in the wash.
I have a few more questions. 
1.  Is it important in the first machine wash to use hot water to help get rid of any unreactive dye? In my previous batches I've been washing them in cold with household detergent.  I did a text in a container with hot water and quite a bit of colour bled out.  
2.  Eventhough the dye is permanent can it fade overtime?
3.  What would be the best washing instructions to give customers?

Thanks again!
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Jacquardmod Jacquardmod
Hot water does help in the initial wash, as does one of the detergents like I mentioned above.  I use Solar FAst wash almost exclusively because it is just so good at pulling dye out and it is a great scour for washing before dyeing to get any grease out.  

The first wash and maybe the 2nd or 3rd might bleed, but the washfastness of procion is why people like reactive dyes. They chemically combine with the fiber so theoretically, after the first couple of washes, they shouldn't bleed at all.  I regularly wash my tie dyes with whites and have no problem even in hot water.  This is not true of acid dyes or direct dyes like Idye natural. 

In practice, I would probably still be wary of the dye that everyone knows bleeds which is any of the red dyes.  They are just more likely to bleed, and it is more obvious when they do. Even a tiny amount stains and you can see it, so just be aware, 

Of course, the best practice is to always wash any thing hand-dyed in cold water with colors.  

As far as lightfastness goes, UV light can damage any dye basically, so leaving anything outside 24/7 that has been dyed is risky.  The good news is that Procion MX dyes are some of the most lightfast dyes, generally much better than acid dyes and direct dyes.  That is why you see these old tie dyes that still look bright and beautiful.  I have some that have been washed hundreds of times. Generally. the fabric wears out before the colors does.  
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