We make gorgeous colors our business. Sometimes you have questions about those colors. These are the frequently asked questions we’ve heard since 1999.
At Fuzbaby we hand dye all of our own products and fabrics. We tend to stick to a soft, sherbet colored palette with a few bright colors but no saturated dark colors. You get dozens of colors to choose from, and you can be confident that the colors are safe for baby and for the environment.
What flat diaper colors do you have?
Colors of flat cloth diapers available can change, but we do have some favorites that come up frequently. Our fabrics are hand-dyed by Fuzbaby. Dye lots vary.
What color of wool do you have?
Currently, we offer our wool product only in undyed.
That, however, might change, so we offer swatches of colors we have dyed in the past. The colors may use the same dyes as flat diapers, but wool (protein fiber) takes the dye differently than organic cotton (vegetable fiber).
All our colors are hand-dyed by Fuzbaby. Dye lots vary.
What kind of dyes do you use?
Fiber-reactive dyes. For 15+ years we’ve been using these dyes on cotton, wool, hemp, and other fibers. We like how we can control the colors. We like that clean rinsing means no more bleeding. When the fibers are colored, they are colored.
Why don’t you use natural dyes?
Many natural dyes require mordants that are not environmentally friendly. On the scale we are dyeing, fiber-reactive dyes give us the overall lowest impact.
But we experiment with natural dyes often, mostly just staining rather than dyeing with mordants, to see what happens. Try it. Boil a diaper in beet juice or in a tea of turmeric. The colors are beautiful, and they fade naturally. There are also interesting tricks to fixing natural dyes using metal pots. It’s a fascinating area for experiment.
We like to use natural dyes for our personal projects. We aspire to larger scale natural dying. It could happen!
Will you dye a specific color for me?
Probably not. We don’t do custom dye work, but we’re open to suggestions. We like to try new colors on both cotton and wool.
Will the colors bleed?
The colors of your flat diapers and wool blankets should not run. All of our dyed fabrics are fixed, rinsed, and rinsed again to minimize the possibility that there are free, unreacted dyes hiding out in the fibers.
We’ve conducted experiments with weight (to simulate a baby sitting on a wet diaper), with undyed fabrics (to see if dyed fabrics can be safely washed with whites), and with hot urea solution (to simulate urine). The dyed fabrics pass. With properly dyed fabrics, such as these, the dye becomes part of the substrate, indistinguishable from the molecular structure of the fabric.
It’s still important that you don’t use your dyed diapers or other fabrics in situations that may liberate traces of unreacted dye, begging them to bleed. Use undyed or light-colored diapers and diaper covers at night or on a long road trip, especially on a boy. Sitting a long time in urine that has converted to ammonia can liberate any unreacted dye and damage the fibers.
But what if the dyes on my wool do bleed?
Your dyed wool should not bleed. We deliberately do not use dark and saturated colors. Rarely, though, some colors bleed. We’ve been putting together the pieces of this puzzle over time, and every time that I know of this happening, the baby has been a boy.
Did you know that, historically, urea was used as a carrier in the dyeing process–specifically urea from pre-adolescent boys? I don’t know the science of why this is, but if you do and you want to explain this to me, please write (because my dye guy doesn’t seem to know the why of this, either).
In the meantime, we can fix the dyes again. These are the suggestions of our resident dye scientist. “A wool cover bleeding is not normal, and we should be able to prevent it happening again. The dye should be fixed to the fibers on a molecular level. If there is free dye floating around in there, we want it out. These dyes are fixed to protein in an acid environment. [Please note: colors on vegetable fibers like organic cotton diapers are fixed differently.] You need to give the wool a bath in vinegar. You can make a strong solution with water, or use straight, white vinegar. If you warm it a little on the stove, it will stink, but that will be most effective. Five minutes should fix the dye, but it wouldn’t hurt if you left it all day. If dye is coming out, rinse until there is no more dye. This is similar to the method we use to fix the dyes, but we using boiling water. After the vinegar bath, rinse under flowing, warm water. You can wash in woolwash (like Eucalan) at that point, if you like, to keep the fibers in good condition.”
The best solution? Natural, undyed wool. That’s the way we tend to lean.
What if the colors of my cotton diapers bleed?
The dyes on your organic cotton diapers should not bleed. When we find a color that bleeds, we don’t use it. If we find a color that bled for customers, we retire that as well. After many years (15+!), we have a good idea which colors to avoid, so bleeding diapers are a very rare occurrence.
Dyes on vegetable fibers are fixed by a alkaline bath. We don’t recommend that you introduce soda ash to your diapers, which is what we use on fabric, so soap and water will be the best solution. Baking soda is also alkaline, but you shouldn’t need to go that far. Vigorously handwash the diaper in soapy water that is as hot as you can bear. Rinse until the water is clear of soap and of color. The good news is that even with our retired, temperamental colors, the fabric will stop releasing dyes, much like new jeans tend to give up dye but stop after several washings.
The best solution? Natural, undyed organic cotton diapers.