Home > Ask Our Experts > What Dyes are Safe to Make Babies' Clothes?

What Dyes are Safe to Make Babies' Clothes?

By: Jennie Kermode - Updated: 3 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
What Dyes Are Safe To Make Babies' Clothes?

Q.

I am looking to dye some fabrics for use making babies shoes and clothes. What would be the safest and least harmful dyes to use for this purpose? I need them to be safe for both the child and the environment, to fit in with my theme of using organic materials.

(Miss tori wright, 21 October 2008)

A.

This is a very good question, and one which many people overlook. You should be a lot more careful when dying baby clothes than clothes intended for adults. After all, adults rarely try to eat their clothing, never mind urinate on it. Some nervous mothers will tell you that there are no baby-safe dyes, but that's simply not true. These days, anything sold commercially for babies' use has to pass strict safety tests, and you'll see all sorts of exciting brightly coloured baby clothes in the shops.

Given the nature of your business, you may be tempted to use naturally occurring organic dyes, but this can be a bad idea. Because of the way they are structured at a molecular level, all dyes that last (i.e. don't fade significantly within just a couple of washes) must be 'fixed' by a heavy metal compound. This means that they can potentially expose a baby to lead, chrome or a similarly dangerous substance. However, commercial dyes are treated so that this risk is substantially reduced, meaning that they are usually the safer option.

Any dye which is safe for a baby is also a good choice from an environmental perspective, because its heavy metal components are bound in place and it won't be shed from clothing after use.

The best commercial dyes to use are fibre reactive dyes in liquid form. These work by staining the fibres of the cloth you're working with, rather than by 'painting' it, so they can't be scraped or licked off. Dylon and Procion both make dyes of this type. You can write to either company (their addresses are on their products) and ask for a safety guide which will aid you in choosing the right options, or you can ask your local fabric store for advice. Both these companies sell their products in larger quantities to suit businesses.

No matter what dye you use to make babies' clothing, you should always rinse thoroughly afterwards. Once the clothing has died, place it on an ironing board between two white sheets. Press on it with a hot iron and see if any colour has transferred to the sheets. If it has, you'll need to rinse the clothing again, this time in hot water, and repeat the process until you're sure there's no excess dye present.

Never use powder dyes to make babies' clothing as they're far more volatile, harder to get rid of, and can easily escape into your work room where they can be transferred back onto clothing after you've washed it. They can potentially give you a wider range of colours,but they're not worth the risk.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Hello there, I was wondering if you could help me. I am starting a project for my friends who recently announced they are expecting. I want to print on some baby bodysuits with standard iron on transfers. I plan on printing the design from my home printer. Could you tell me what ink and transfer paper I should be using. I have a HP DESK JET 3720 printer and currently use the standard ink that is provided for the printer. Thank you
do.you.know.about.mo - 3-May-17 @ 8:25 AM
Ani - Your Question:
My little daughter licked and swallowed my dupatta dye colour.her mouth full of blue colour. I don't know how much she swallowed. Kindly help me whether it will cause any serious reaction to her body

Our Response:
Always consult a medical professional in cases like these!
CraftExpert - 9-Nov-16 @ 2:28 PM
My little daughter licked and swallowedmy dupatta dye colour.her mouth full of blue colour. I don't know how much she swallowed. Kindly help me whether it will cause any serious reaction to her body
Ani - 8-Nov-16 @ 9:07 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Wendy
    Re: Glossary of Knitting Terminology
    Hi i have a question,i am knitting a cardigan have got to 5th row and it says pattern 15,do i pattern 15 from 1st row cos it…
    8 August 2017
  • CraftExpert
    Re: Glossary of Knitting Terminology
    Kay - Your Question:Hi please can anyone help me I am making baby shawl the pattern states1st row knit working iNto back of…
    31 July 2017
  • Kay
    Re: Glossary of Knitting Terminology
    Hi please can anyone help me I am making baby shawl the pattern states 1st row knit working iNto back of stitches Yon,…
    28 July 2017
  • CraftExpert
    Re: Glossary of Knitting Terminology
    Trish - Your Question:What does ** mean at the beginning of a row when knitting?Our Response:The
    20 June 2017
  • Yashna
    Re: Sell Your Home Made Cards
    Hi, I m making handmade cards, paintings, bandarwal and other handmade crafts items now I want to sell them so suggest me....thank u....
    19 June 2017
  • Trish
    Re: Glossary of Knitting Terminology
    What does ** mean at the beginning of a row when knitting?
    18 June 2017
  • Sukla
    Re: Sell Your Home Made Cards
    I am from India. I made handmade cards and paintings and drawings I want to sell them..... please tell me some idea sell them...
    6 June 2017
  • Bobbie
    Re: Glossary of Knitting Terminology
    I'm knitting an elephant the pattern tells me to slip the last 4 stitches onto the right hand needle then the next row tells…
    1 June 2017
  • Mahi
    Re: Sell Your Home Made Cards
    Hi, I am making hand made card and wadding box I want to sell, them my cards how to start selling
    31 May 2017
  • CraftExpert
    Re: Glossary of Knitting Terminology
    Margie - Your Question:Hi I am trying to knit booties, I am stuck on the 2nd row which says : increase in next stitch, knit…
    22 May 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the CraftExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.