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I recently dyed my 100% rayon dresses wine red with regular Rit Dye (not their synthetic dyemore brand) because rayon is considered a natural fiber like cotton and linen, and requires the regular dye.

I was very happy with the results, however it bleeds out the dye at every wash to the point that I'm losing the color.

My question is, even though synthetic dye is not meant for natural fibers, will it "stick" better and not wash out as much? I'm thinking about re-dyeing my natural fiber dresses with synthetic dye if this is the case.

It is a sort of stretchy knit fabric that is marked 100% rayon. To be sure it wasn't polyester, I cut off a little scrap and put it in water to test if it would float like a synthetic fiber or sink like a natural fiber, and it must be natural fibers, because it sunk to the bottom quickly which makes me think it is indeed rayon as it was marked.

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    That test is one of density and wettability. It's a proxy for testing whether fibres are natural or not (and a pretty decent one given that you're looking for how they absorb water-based dyes) but it's not foolproof
    – Chris H
    Feb 9 at 13:53

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Per the Rit Dye website, rayon is considered synthetic:

Rit All-Purpose Dye can dye:
Washable Fabrics Containing Synthetic Fibers: Such as nylon, rayon and viscose

However, Rit, and most other resources, recommend using a dye designed for natural fibers for it. That said, rayon does not take dye in the same way or as well as cotton, which is likely why you are losing so much color.

A few resources, such as Waxon Studio (a textile workshop), recommend using fiber reactive dyes (aka procion dyes) with cellulose fibers like rayon. These are a type of dye specifically designed for cellulose, and will likely give you the most stable result.

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  • Thanks! I'm an absolute newbie when it comes to dyes. I thought there was just natural dye, and synthetic dye. But is there a third type of dye called procion dye for cellulose? Feb 13 at 1:32
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    @Rebekah2020 there's actually quite a few different dyes out there! It's definitely always worth taking a look for what one will work best, and doing some tests if you're able, when you're diving in to a new fiber. I hope this does the trick for you!
    – Allison C
    Feb 13 at 15:16

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