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Wax-Out! for removing Batik Wax from fabrics

Remove wash after BatikWhat is Wax-Out!

Wax-Out! offers an alternative solution to removing wax from finished Batik items. It is a mix of products which, individually, are already in commercial use in the textile industry for removing oils and waxes from fibres, yarn and fabrics. These contaminants arise both as from the original raw materials, wax in cotton and lanolin in wool, as well as from lubricants in the production processes.

The mix contains an emulsifying agent, which breaks down the wax and oils, and a dispersant to allow the emulsion to part from the material. There is also a small amount of soda ash to create a slightly alkaline solution, which helps keep the emulsion in suspension.

How to remove Wax from Batik items:

Ensure the dyes or paints have been set on the fabric prior to using Wax-Out! The concentrate should be mixed with the recommended quantity of hot water. This may form a gel at an early point in the dilution. This will disperse with stirring. After the concentrate is fully mixed add the soda ash and again stir until completely dissolved. This stock solution may be kept in a closed container indefinitely. With careful measuring, it is possible to use only part of the concentrate at one time.

It is recommended that the dyed fabric is first washed in hand hot water with added Synthrapol (or similar) to remove any unfixed dye or paints. The MX and Direct dye series will always have some unfixed dye in the fabric and this should be washed out first to avoid any risk of back staining.

Wax-Out! is used at 50–60°C, and there should be sufficient volume of Wax-Out! to allow the fabric to move freely. Heat the bath to temperature and then hold at this level for around 20 minutes. Remove the fabric and allow it to drip for a short period, and then wash in hot water. If there has been heavy waxing, or you used a wax mix which has a high percentage of beeswax you may find the addition of a little detergent helps to remove the remaining white wax emulsion. Wash until all the traces of wax have been removed and hang to dry.

The Wax-Out! bath may be reused several times, but ultimately the chemicals will all be used up. The time for this depends on the amount of wax on each painting.

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Hazards:

The undiluted mix contains a small quantity of a product which is an irritant to the eyes, and which carries a risk of serious damage if it is not washed out with copious quantities of water.

As with all strong chemicals a barrier method of working is always advisable and should include rubber gloves, and work clothes, though no examples of sensitisation to the products are known. Where there is a risk of splashes to the eyes, goggles should be worn.

Wax-Out! has been handled here at Fibrecrafts with bare hands and there appears to be no effect on skin whatsoever. However, it is wise to wash skin after contact.

A Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the mix is available if required (this will download as a PDF).

Environment:

The ingredients of Wax-Out! are ‘inherently and readily biodegradable’ and have no negative effects on the degrading activity of sewage processing systems. They require high concentrations to have a toxic effect on fish or algae.

You can visit The Batik Guild, a UK based organisation, to learn more about the ancient craft of Batik and tools and materials for Batik are available from the Dyeing section of this website.

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