User avatar
By Jairus
#138685
Rothco. The name alone is enough to turn the stomach and put a sour look on the accuracy nut's face. It conjures up mental images of cheap suits in a putrid shade of piss yellow. Most of those in the know favor Nomex suits or even Tru-Specs, though it still happens that a newer member buys one without knowing any better, or is gifted one by a thoughtful but misinformed loved one.

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:

Image Image
(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.)
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.
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.

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.
Last edited by Jairus on August 4th, 2009, 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By Cinnamon B
#148073
Ok, I know this was posted 6 years ago, but: You have in step 4:
Dye with 1/3 cup (118 mL) Orange liquid RIT, 1/2 cup (118 mL) Purple liquid RIT,
You have 1/3 cup (118 ml) Orange, followed by 1/2 cup 118 ml) Purple. Different fractions of a cup, matched with the same number of mL. Which is correct, the cup fractions, or the mL measurement (which makes both orange and purple 1/2 a cup each)

Or does it not matter enough to make a difference?
User avatar
By Jairus
#156830
Jairus,
If I want to dye multiple suits (3 of them), can I still use the same amount of dye you specified? The sink I'm going to dye them in can hold all 3 at the same time, so I'd like to knock them all out at once.

Thanks,
Rob
As long as all 3 suits fit in the sink with room to slosh them all around, you should be fine to do all 3 at the same time; as long as the dye bath stays hot, you can keep dyeing until it's dried up.
By UK Ghostbuster 89
#156835
Image

i dyed my rothco suit, and i think this is a really good reference pic.

from left to right

Joey: german grey police jumpsuit

Nick: dyed Nomex

Gary: undyed rothco

Ben and mark: undyed nomex

Me: dyed rothco


i did a really basic dye, just washed it couple times in hot wash, to drain a bit of the yellow, and then 1 box of pearl grey rit dye.

and thats the end result,

a large amount depends lighting.

and let me just say, colour is a matter of personal opinion, if your happy with it, stick with it. :cool:
Roger, Noremon liked this
By riboblito
#156876
Image

i dyed my rothco suit, and i think this is a really good reference pic.

from left to right

Joey: german grey police jumpsuit

Nick: dyed Nomex

Gary: undyed rothco

Ben and mark: undyed nomex

Me: dyed rothco


i did a really basic dye, just washed it couple times in hot wash, to drain a bit of the yellow, and then 1 box of pearl grey rit dye.

and thats the end result,

a large amount depends lighting.

and let me just say, colour is a matter of personal opinion, if your happy with it, stick with it. :cool:
I really like how that turned out. It has the greenish tone that alot of the merchandise, such as the Mattel figures, have. When you gave it the hot wash, did you use bleach or any color remover? If not, this is the result of just Pearl Gray over the yellow?
By UK Ghostbuster 89
#157043
Image

i dyed my rothco suit, and i think this is a really good reference pic.

from left to right

Joey: german grey police jumpsuit

Nick: dyed Nomex

Gary: undyed rothco

Ben and mark: undyed nomex

Me: dyed rothco


i did a really basic dye, just washed it couple times in hot wash, to drain a bit of the yellow, and then 1 box of pearl grey rit dye.

and thats the end result,

a large amount depends lighting.

and let me just say, colour is a matter of personal opinion, if your happy with it, stick with it. :cool:
I really like how that turned out. It has the greenish tone that alot of the merchandise, such as the Mattel figures, have. When you gave it the hot wash, did you use bleach or any color remover? If not, this is the result of just Pearl Gray over the yellow?
Thanks, yer im happy with the colour also, i have actually now slimed the suit aswell.. permanently ... lol but im happy with that aswell, not too much, just enough.

Yes i used no bleach, it did take me about 4 months to decide to dye it, and in that time its been hanging in my window, so maybe slight sun bleaching happened. but nothing to worry about.
yer just a normal couple of hot washes, with extra spin cycle, to really beat it up.
then the dyeing was easy, 1 box pearl grey, i suppose you could use 2, just follow the instructions, and ya done, make sure you keep stiring,

il be honest, in different artificial light, and sun light, colour does vary also flash of the camera, if you want il take alot of different pics in different lighting conditions.
Glad to help. Standing up for the Rothco suit community lol
User avatar
By FeinDTacticS
#157170
omfg i just dyed my rothco suit..

I was only able to get powdered RIT so I could not get the measurements right, but I did it anyway.

Washing machine with 2 boxes of RIT.. 1 for each cycle

got a pot full of near boiling water.. poured it into a bucket with the salt and rit already at the bottom.. mixed it up good

I threw in black, purple, pearl grey, orange. all at the same time. When i first looked at the suit when i pulled it out it was near dark purple and i got really afraid that I over did it. I rinsed it with hot water until it ran clean and the color became lighter a bit. I also hand washed it with bleach just to lighten it again more. Im waiting on it to try at the moment but once it does ill have comparison pics from the old to new..

and btw.. the stupid patch residue got dyed... thats horrid.. im scraping it off with a box cutter as we speak , (very carefully) lesson learned on that

My leg hose connector was connected by epoxy, so it went through the entire cycle. Bleach nor dye did not affect the dark grey that its painted
By GhostGuy
#157445
Image

i dyed my rothco suit, and i think this is a really good reference pic.

from left to right

Joey: german grey police jumpsuit

Nick: dyed Nomex

Gary: undyed rothco

Ben and mark: undyed nomex

Me: dyed rothco


i did a really basic dye, just washed it couple times in hot wash, to drain a bit of the yellow, and then 1 box of pearl grey rit dye.

and thats the end result,

a large amount depends lighting.

and let me just say, colour is a matter of personal opinion, if your happy with it, stick with it. :cool:

I this Nick fellow a member? I'd like to know how he went about dyeing his nomex.
By UK Ghostbuster 89
#157654


I this Nick fellow a member? I'd like to know how he went about dyeing his nomex.

Yes Nick is member Nick-a-Tron heres link to his profile,
http://www.gbfans.com/fans/nick-a-tron/

he did have a topic on here about the dyeing process of his nomex, and i must say seeing it in person, it looks great, if i find it il update my post.
By darth venomous
#211011
I dyed my fiancee's over the weekend, and while I don't think it came out perfect, she loves it. Even had a couple of purple splotches that you can't really see in the pic, but she liked them because she thinks it looks a little like a slime stain.
I followed the recipie, except for that I couldn't find the liquid orange, so I had to guess-ti-mate how much of the powder to use, and my machine doesn't have a hot/cold cotton cycle, just normal, perm press, and delicate with the temps being hot, warm, and cold. I ran it at normal/warm everytime it was in the machine. I also used a bucket to do the dying in, and the rinsing in my tub. Thankfully, it didn't dye the tub, but I don't think it did a real good job rinsing it, due to their being a few purple stains.
But anyways, she was extremly happy with it, so mistakes or not, it all turned out great.
Image
the white strip on the leg is where the hose connector is going to go, I gotta do that tomorrow. =o)
By GhostGuy
#238402
If I'm not mistaken, the Rothco suits have changed color since many of these dye recipes were created. Something to consider before you go dyeing it with purple dyes and such. The purple was to counteract a greenish yellow tinge the suits had.
User avatar
By Jairus
#238914
Rothco still uses the same fabric blend. This recipe isn't even a year old.

The purple is there to counteract the yellow in the suit, which has consistently been the chief complaint against khaki Rothcos.
The orange is there because the RIT orange, after a washing in dilute bleach, actually becomes a great shade of muted reddish-brown, which duplicates that vintage khaki color fairly well when added to the de-yellowed Rothco. Alternating bleach and dye is fairly unorthodox, yes, and this result could be achieved by tracking down specialty dye shades, precisely measuring them, and carefully controlling the water temperature, etc., however, this method seems to produce the most consistent results with the most widely-available dye colors and plenty of room for error.

Check craft stores; they usually carry a wide variety of dyes. Failing that, try the detergent section of the grocery store. Strange place for dye to be, for sure, but many of them carry it. I haven't tested Sunshine Orange, so I don't know how different it is, but it may possibly work. You could possibly try it with red dye; just use half as much as you would have used of the orange.

The great thing about dyeing is that you can always adjust the color with more dye, or strip the color and try again.
Refer to a color wheel if you're trying to offset a certain color. Good luck!

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