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Can I use a dye fixative such as soda ash, or other dye fixatives used in craft dyeing, to reduce towel fading?

By itself, soda ash will not prevent fading in towels. Fading in textiles can generally be attributed to one of two things. First, the quality of the dyeing process the textiles went through can have a dramatic impact on whether or not, and how much, towels will fade. Second, the washing procedures can greatly affect fading as well. Better quality textiles are dyed in pressure vats, where the dye is forced through the yarn. The other commonly used method is that of open atmospheric vats, where the dye is applied through wicking. This method does not yield the quality of pressure dyeing.

Washing procedures for colored textiles include a list of things not to do. Do not wash in hot water above the manufacturer's recommendations. Do not use free caustic as the alkali in the wash bath - use only a buffered product or no alkali at all. Finally, do not use chlorine bleach on colored textiles. Oxygen bleaches such as sodium perborate or sodium percarbonate are acceptable if staining is a problem. There are many good chemicals that clean without damaging fabric or fading colors to textiles. Investigate a non-alkaline detergent that performs this type of cleaning. Review with your chemical supplier the textile manufacturer's recommendations. Also determine the quality of the towels you are using and consider a change to a higher-grade towel.

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Mac-Gray Corporation’s Lighten The Load™ Initiative

WALTHAM, Mass. — Mac-Gray Corporation, a provider of laundry facilities management services to multi-unit housing locations announced that it received the Foundation’s first annual For People and Planet award in the education category. Since Mac-Gray launched its Lighten the Load(TM) initiative in 2008 with, they have partnered with 29 academic institutions to offset more than 40 million pounds of carbon.

“This award highlights Mac-Gray’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Our Lighten the Load™ initiative is helping to reduce the carbon footprints of college and university laundry programs, while educating students on the benefits of being ‘green’ in the laundry room,” said Stewart G. MacDonald, Mac-Gray’s chief executive officer.