How to dye fabric with Procion dye

Procion is a brand of reactive dyes, meaning the dye reacts with the cellulose fibres (plant-based fibres including cotton and linen) of fabric. A cellulose fibre will not work on protein fibre (animal-based fibres including silk and wool), it which case Acid Dye will need to be used.

I chose Procion over Acid Dye due to being a little cheaper, and the specific Procion type I bought was Procion MX, a cold water dye, what I didn’t realise was a fixer/setter is also required in this case sodium carbonate (soda ash) as this added to the price.

Both items can be purchased from eBay and including shipping cost $6 for the Procion (25g) and $5.50 for the Soda Ash (200g).  Acid dye (10g) can be purchased on eBay for $7.

Procion MX and soda ash

The procedure to dye fabrics with Procion MX is fairly straight forward, what I planned to dye black was a pink top and grey skirt.


  1. First fill a container with about ten litres of water, add the Procion MX dye and stir to make sure everything is dissolved and mixed evenly.
  2. Immense the cloths in the dye bath and stir for thirty minutes to make sure cloths are evenly dyed.
  3. Add the soda ash and again stir for thirty minutes to make sure soda ash is dissolved and mixed evenly.
  4. Remove cloths from dye bath and rinse with clean water to remove excess dye.
  5. Once the majority of dye is removed, it can be machine washed to remove any traces.

Mixing the dye bath
Add the fabrics to the dye bath

Enjoy the newly coloured clothes.

Skirt before and after
Top before and after

  • You CAN dye a protein fiber (silk) with Procion MX cold water dyes. You need a PH of 4 (vs. PH of 11 for cotton) to set the dye. This can be done with “Fruit Fresh” (aka Citric Acid). You also left out SALT, which “drives” the dye particles into the fibers by raising charging the ions, through the raising salinity of the water when you add salt. MUCH more info available at