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How to Rinse Dyed Yarn

By Amy Reader on December 11, 2020

So you’ve dyed your favorite skein of bare yarn! Now what? There are a few things to do at this phase that will be the best for your yarn. Today we will walk you through the basic steps needed to rinse your hand dyed yarn and care for it properly. This process picks up after you have heat set your yarn. If you hand painted your yarn, skip ahead to “let it cool.”

How to Rinse Dyed Yarn


Wait until your dye bath is exhausted

You will know that your dye bath is exhausted when the water is clear. This means that all of the pigment has been absorbed into the yarn. An easy way to check if the bath is exhausted is to dip a white bowl or spoon into the liquid and check the color. Scoop out a little bit of water to check. This prevents the water in the dye bath from reflecting back and making the water in the spoon look tinted. Once the dye bath water is clear, you can move on to the next part.

Let it cool

Wool yarn dyeing processes involve heat to dye the dye. This is essential to ensure the dye is fully bonded to the yarn. Before doing anything with your freshly dyed yarn, it is vital to allow it to cool completely before moving on. Yarn can felt with agitation, and heat increases the likelihood of felting. By allowing yarn to cool completely before moving on, you will minimize the chance that your yarn felts. It is often easiest to remove the dye bath from the heat source in the evening and allow the yarn to cool fully overnight.

How to Rinse Dyed Yarn


Squeeze out excess water

Once the yarn has cooled, remove it from the dye bath and gently squeeze out the excess water over a sink. If you used a zip tie to loop around the yarn, it is easiest to hold it by this loop. Hold the hank vertically and start and the top and squeeze working your way down to the bottom. Squeeze the yarn in this manner a few times to get as much excess water out as possible. 

How to Rinse Dyed Yarn


Rinse with cool water

After you’ve squeezed out the excess water, rinse the yarn thoroughly with fresh, cool water. The water may be tinted from any dye left in the yarn that didn’t bond fully. Rinse the yarn until the water runs clear. At this time, you can additionally wash the yarn with a little bit of ph neutral soap too to ensure any unbonded dye particles are rinsed out fully. This can be done by plugging the sink and filling it up enough to cover the yarn with cool water. Add a squirt of soap while it is filling and leave it to soak for fifteen minutes. Drain the sink and rinse the yarn again after this. 

How to Rinse Dyed Yarn


Squeeze out excess water again

Repeat the same squeezing process outlined above to remove excess water. All of the water being squeezed out of the yarn should be completely clear at this point. If dye is still coming out, rinse the yarn again. 


Hang the yarn to dry

A clothes drying rack is a great option for hanging yarn out to dry. The yarn is likely to drip a little. To catch any drips, dry the yarn outside or lay a towel underneath. You can also dry your yarn over a sink or shower. Yarn will dry quickly outside on a sunny day. If it is humid or rainy, drying yarn with a gentle fan in the area can help the yarn dry more quickly. When you lay out your yarn, you can fluff it a little with your fingers to help spread out the individual strands to dry. This should be done gently to avoid tangles. 

How to Rinse Dyed Yarn

Store your yarn in a loosely twisted skein until you are ready to cake it. Now your yarn is ready to be transformed into a cozy hat or comfy cardigan. Finished projects created with your hand dyed yarn should be hand washed in cool water when they need to be cleaned. Use a gentle detergent and dry flat. Superwash wool can be washed in a washing machine on delicate and laid flat to dry. 

There you go! Now you know how to best rinse and finish your dyed yarn. We can’t wait to see your finished projects. Make sure to tag #Knomadyarn so we can see what you create! 

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Amy Reader

Amy Reader is a fiber artist based in Portland, OR. She learned to sew when she was six years old and quickly fell in love with textiles of all kinds. With the help of her grandmother, Amy learned to knit and crochet shortly thereafter. Amy started dyeing with kitchen safe dyes and was immediately hooked. She loves working with bold and playful colors and primarily dyes yarn for her line of hand-embroidered jewelry.

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