What’s the Difference? (Synthrapol vs. Retayne)

We decided to solve this question once and for all. After a diligent Google search, the answer is:

Retayne FIXES dye to fabric and should be used in cases where you are concerned that a fabric dye may bleed. Use Retayne as directed,  as a pre-wash or before putting suspect fabrics into a quilt.

Synthrapol is a special detergent that suspends dye particles so that they do not reattach to fabric. Dyers use Synthrapol as a pre-wash to REMOVE  sizing, oils, fingerprints and other impurities that would interfere with an even dying of fabric — and then they wash the dyed fabric with Synthrapol to remove any remaining unattached dye particles.

Here is one situation that requires further research; I’ll update when I can confirm or deny it:

It’s my understanding that you don’t use Retayne on a completed quilted, because of the possibility that dye might migrate and THEN affix to (the wrong) fabric. The proper procedure in that case would seem to be to wash the quilt with Synthrapol (to remove the extra dye), and THEN use Retayne to affix the dye that remains.

Both products are available at New Pieces, and we have directions on how to use either one. If you’re interested in the chemical reactions that each one employs, please contact Heather (who is interested is such things) at Rags1927@gmail.com.


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4 Responses to “What’s the Difference? (Synthrapol vs. Retayne)”

  1. Heidi Rand says:

    Very interesting! I was taught (and now teach) that if you print your own fabric with an inkjet printer, it helps to rinse with synthrapol to keep any excess ink from bleeding. With pigment ink there’s not supposed to be bleeding, but if the print has very saturated areas there often is.

  2. sewberkeley says:

    I think that makes sense. The fabric can’t hold more than a maximum amount of color, and the trick is to get rid of the over-abundance in a harmless way. I will look into this further and let you know what I find out!

  3. Melinda says:

    I would prewash my fabric with Retayne to set any dyes before I piece my quilt. This also helps keep colors vibrant. Then use Synthrapol in the first wash after it is quilted to prevent any bleeding of excess dyes onto other fabrics.

  4. Pam says:

    I want to use my ink jet printer to print labels. Just wondering if treating with one of these might help make the printed design more permenent? Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks

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