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57redbird

Softening batik fabric

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Hi all -- don't know if anybody can help but it's worth a shot.... I bought a great batik top on one of our excursions in the Caribbean ---- any idea how to soften the fabric up?   Even after machine washing & dryer sheets, it's still really stiff.....I know it's because they use wax to design it but I'd love it even more if it were softer.   TIA!

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20 hours ago, 57redbird said:

Hi all -- don't know if anybody can help but it's worth a shot.... I bought a great batik top on one of our excursions in the Caribbean ---- any idea how to soften the fabric up?   Even after machine washing & dryer sheets, it's still really stiff.....I know it's because they use wax to design it but I'd love it even more if it were softer.   TIA!

  Fabrics used for tourist Batik  are frequently very low grade cotton and are not soft because of the original quality prior to printing. The only suggestion would be to take the chance of putting it in very hot water in your washer and running it for two or three minutes on delicate. This would remove remaining traces of wax but chances are not soften the fabric very much. 

 

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Yeah, I would think it's the fabric not the dye process. Vinegar might work (not sure how it would affect the dy; I know with certain fabrics I've bought, I've "set" the dyes with salt water before washing, but I've never tried to set dye AND soften fabric with the same item)

 

ETA Professor Google tells me a salt water soak also softens fabric, so...

https://m.wikihow.com/Naturally-Soften-Laundry

Edited by Hoyaheel

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You can remove any wax remaining in the fabric by ironing it between clean white paper towels.  The heat will melt the wax and the paper towels will absorb the melted wax.

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1 hour ago, maddycat said:

You can remove any wax remaining in the fabric by ironing it between clean white paper towels.  The heat will melt the wax and the paper towels will absorb the melted wax.

Thanks --- what heat setting & steam?

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On 9/21/2019 at 8:24 PM, 57redbird said:

Thanks --- what heat setting & steam?

Sorry, I haven't been on for awhile.  Try a low heat setting with out steam.  If that doesn't work go to medium.  It's been years since I did any batik.

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I would do the iron that Maddycat suggested then do the cold saltwater soak that Hoyaheel suggested. I had batik years ago from St Kitts & this is what I did. 

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Thank you all for your suggestions!  None of them worked so I think, as Hoyaheel said, it's the fabric....oh well....

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Try fabric softener!  Hey...if it's too stiff to wear comfortably....you're not going to wear it, anyway.  Take the chance!

 

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1 hour ago, cb at sea said:

Try fabric softener!  Hey...if it's too stiff to wear comfortably....you're not going to wear it, anyway.  Take the chance!

 

I've done the dryer sheets but I will try Downy.....

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Timely to see this pop up again as I'm getting ready to soften a new t-shirt. Fabric softener is basically going to coat a fiber - it's not a lasting change. I am trying to decide which option I want to try - probably washing soda, but salt & vinegar are the other options...[I have washing soda, salt, and vinegar at home right now, so....]

 

You said "none of the options worked" - what did you try other than dryer sheets & ironing?

 

https://www.polaroidfotobar.com/how-to-soften-t-shirts/

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I did the hot water soak with a delicate wash as well.  Might try the others as well 'cause like you said,  I probably won't wear it like it is....

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One option - should you decide you aren't going to wear the shirt due to the feel - is to frame and hang as art. I do that with scarves all the time, and I have a baby quilt my great-grandmother made me that is also hanging as art. Might not be your personal style, just throwing it out as an option in case it works for you or someone else. (I love fabrics - they don't always "love" me  color or style wise - but my office at work and guest rooms are full of fabrics on walls)

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Ok - I tried the washing soda --- no difference ---- darn!  I guess I'll just wear it stiff.  Thank you all for the suggestions!

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I successfully softened my new t-shirt but I also took some of the color out. 1 gallon hot water, 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup salt. Soak 2 hrs. Wash in machine (hot) and dry. Repeat twice.

 

Sorry it didn't work on your batik!

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4 hours ago, Hoyaheel said:

I successfully softened my new t-shirt but I also took some of the color out. 1 gallon hot water, 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup salt. Soak 2 hrs. Wash in machine (hot) and dry. Repeat twice.

 

Sorry it didn't work on your batik!

Maybe I'll try this --- maybe I won't.  Glad it worked on the t-shirt.

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Try soaking it over night in white vinegar and cold water (1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water).  Vinegar sets the color in fabrics.  I also use it in my washing machine as a fabric softener.  It removes any soap build up.  Once the fabric is dry the vinegar smell disappears.  If you try the vinegar and water soak, follow it up with a cold water wash.

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