Using Deka L Dyes

What are Deka L Dyes and How to Use Them

Deka L Dyes
10g Sachets of Deka L Dye, also available in 500g tins for classrooms and workshops

Deka L dyes fall into the category of Direct Dyes. These dyes give quick colour results with a simple process. They are economical to use (compared to the more specialised synthetic dyes such as Procion MX and Acid dyes) and ideal for learning the basics of colour theory, especially with tie dyeing techniques. Deka L dyes are perfect for educational use and craft activities.

You can use Deka L dyes on all natural fabrics including cotton, linen, silk, wool and viscose, although they are not suitable for use on synthetic fabrics.

General Dyeing Instructions

  1. Weigh fabric to be dyed, then wash and rinse to remove sizing, fabric softener etc.
  2. A 10g sachet contains enough dye powder to dye between 125g and 250g (dry weight) fabric (see How Effective are Deka L Dye Colours? below). Dissolve dye powder and 2 table spoons salt in 4-5 litres of boiling water and stir well. For silk and wool, also add 8-10 table spoons of vinegar.
  3. Dampen fabric, put loosely into the dye bath. Maintain the highest temperature suitable for the fabric (a maximum of 90°C).
  4. Stir frequently for 15-30 minutes.
  5. Remove fabric and rinse thoroughly under cold running water until water runs clear.
  6. Always treat pieces requiring frequent cleaning with the Deka L Fixative or Fixatol P. This will help to prevent colours from fading when washing on a gentle washing machine cycle at 30°C. Wash separately for first few washes.

Using Deka L Dyes for Wax Batik

Used at the recommended temperature, Deka L is likely to melt the wax resist used in Batik designs. To prevent this from happening, allow dye bath to cool to 50°C or use the cold water dye Procion MX as an alternative.

How Effective are Deka L Dye Colours?

As with all dyes, the final colour results are dependent on a number of factors:

  • the amount of powder in the dye bath – insufficient water will cause the dye bath to gel
  • the fibre content of the fabric
  • the length of dyeing time
  • the temperature of the dye bath
  • the water softness/hardness – hard water can cause colours to appear dull or uneven and they may fade more quickly. Soft water improves the absorption of dye and helps to produce brighter and consistent colours.
  • the cleanliness of the garment/fabric (see PFD Prepared for Dyeing)
  • a deep black is difficult to achieve with any dye; a more concentrated dye bath, longer dyeing time and a higher temperature is required

Safety – sensible precautions to be taken when handling dyes and chemicals, particularly as powders:

  • Avoid inhaling dusts, they can produce an asthma type reaction. People with known respiratory problems should not handle synthetic dyes, and particularly the fibre reactive dyes, in powder form. A dust mask should be worn when working with the powders or exposed to an aerosol from spraying dye solutions made up in water
  • Avoid splashing solutions into the eyes, swallowing the materials or prolonged skin contact. A simple ‘non-contact’ approach (most people use gloves to avoid dyeing themselves) plus normal, good, hygiene is sufficient precautions for the occasional user
  • Take care with hot
  • Store in clearly labelled containers well away from children, pets and foodstuffs. Treat dye powders and solutions with the same caution as domestic poisons (e.g. strong cleaners, bleaches or medicines)
  • Dispose of spent solutions containing residues of the dyes responsibly. Dilute and pour onto waste land or into the sewage system. They have no known effect on the environment when used in the quantities recommended
  • Not recommended for children younger than 14 years old


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