What do you do then? Should you just bite the bullet and drop another $50 on a new suit? Should you be doomed to wear that yellow trashbag until you can replace it? Not necessarily...
After discovering an old khaki Rothco suit in my closet and pondering its fate, I decided to conduct a little experiment. The results were far more than I'd ever hoped for:
(Click to enlarge.)
The first picture was taken inside under incandescent lighting; the second outside under natural sunlight. The suit on the left is my Desert/Tan Nomex suit, and the one on the right is my dyed Rothco. Not an exact match, but it sure beats that putrid yellow color. In hindsight, I probably should have used slightly less orange, so I adjusted the recipe below accordingly. You know what I'm talking about. Recipe below the fold:
1.) Wash suit, hot/cold cotton cycle. Machine Dry with a Fabric Softener sheet. (This is to knock a little of the sheen out of the fabric and agitate the fibers to be more receptive to dye.)All steps are important to the finished results, including the preliminary washing. Be sure to use water as hot as you can physically get it. Use your black uniform gloves if you have to, to be able to stand the heat, but the hotter the water, the better the suit take the dye.
2.) Wash again, hot/cold cotton cycle, with 2 cups bleach. Machine dry.
3.) Wash once more, hot/cold cotton cycle, with a package of RIT color remover. Do not dry; leave the suit damp.
4.) Dye with 1/3 cup (79 mL) Orange liquid RIT, 1/2 cup (118 mL) Purple liquid RIT, a splash of Black liquid RIT, and 1/4 cup (59 mL) salt in a sink full of hot water for 10 minutes.
5.) Pull out, rinse until the water runs clear.
6.) Add a little more hot water to the dye bath, and let the suit soak for another 10 minutes.
7.) Pull out, rinse well until the water runs clear.
8.) Wash once more on a normal cycle with 1/2 cup of bleach. Machine Dry with a Fabric Softener sheet.
The liquid dye seems, to me, to take effect much more quickly than the powdered dye, and is easier to measure and work with.
The suit should be good to go for a few wearings and washings. It will eventually start to lighten, however, and the remedy for this is simple. Just fill up the washing machine with hot water, pour about 1/8 cup of liquid Orange RIT, 1/8 cup of liquid Purple RIT, and some salt into the water, and add the pre-soaked suit. Put it through the wash and rinse cycle, and the color should be refreshed.
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