5 Synthrapol Substitutes and Replacements (Ingredients List)

The state of California has labeled some bottles of this product as a cancer-causing agent. Yet other states do not share California’s belief. How you use Synthrapol will be up to you, you may want to put some gloves on but those might be cancer-causing as well.

Synthrapol ingredients list: The ingredients of this cleansing compound are water, rubbing alcohol, ethoxylated and sulfated aliphatic alcohols. Any good laundry detergent will work in place of this cleanser if you have none of this lying around the house.

To learn more about this product and what you can substitute for it just continue to read our article. It has the information you need in order to use this or other cleansers properly when dyeing fabrics. Take a few moments and see if this product will help your dyeing projects.

What is Synthrapol Used For?


This cleanser is for your dyeing projects. It is used as a pre-wash to get the fabric nice and clean before you put the material in the vat of reactive dye. Then, when the dyeing process is done, you use it as an after wash to get rid of any excess reactive dye material.

It can be used to wet the fabric in order to get the dye to adhere to the fibers a lot better. Plus, this cleanser is supposed to be good at removing Procion dyes as well as preventing different dark-colored dyes from losing their color or coming off the material.

You may find that many claims about this product abound throughout this social media world, but not all those claims are true and are easily disputed. Also, this cleanser is supposed to be very kind to materials like silk and wool, which may be why it is so popular.

Why Use Synthrapol?

You use this product in order to get a lot better color to your clothing as well as help keep the new dye color on the fibers and not lost in the water somewhere. Not only is it supposed to get those fibers nice and clean during a pre-wash, but it is also supposed to hold the dye away from other fabrics so any color bleed does not take place.

In other words, it is a good cleanser that will prevent loose dye molecules from leaving the dyed garment and latching on to any other garment in the same wash. But this does not mean that you are safe from color bleed as that will take place at some point in time in future washes.

What this all boils down to is that Synthrapol helps your dye results be better than if you didn’t use this formula. Your colors should be more even and the fibers should be more receptive to the new dye simply because they are very clean.

When to Use Synthrapol?

The timing is important as this cleanser is supposed to help with the dyeing process. As a pre-wash, it is supposed to get the fibers super clean and make sure they are ready for the dye bath. Thus, one important time to use it is in the beginning stages of the dyeing process before you have your dye baths ready.

The next important time to use this product is as an after wash. The cleanser is said to be able to remove unattached reactive dye molecules so you do not get any color bleed when you place the dyed garment in the wash with other clothing.

Some people suggest that this cleanser can be used in the actual dye bath. When that is done, it helps achieve a more even color all over the garment you are dyeing. Then when used as an after wash, the reputation this cleanser has is that it suspends those unattached dye molecules so they do not spread to other fabrics and are easily washed away.

Synthrapol Ingredients


Once you look at the package, you will see that it is a simple formula using simple ingredients to get a tough job done well. The basic ingredients are a combination of water, rubbing alcohol, ethoxylated and sulfated aliphatic alcohols.

As you can see, alcohol is the main active ingredient in this solution and no bleach is included. That omission does not stop this cleanser from getting fibers very clean. Also, the formula is a neutral PH balance which helps stop reactive dyes from overreacting with the fibers.

Then, it is kinder to silk and wool materials than regular laundry detergents are. What we haven’t mentioned so far is that this is a cleanser that is best used when you are dealing with hand-dyed fabrics. All you have to do is soak the garments in this solution before the dyeing process.

There are no brighteners in this product which means that you will see darker dark colors than if you would have used a laundry soap with brighteners in it.

Synthrapol Detergent Alternatives

There are alternatives for Synthrapol now and some people are saying that this product may disappear in a few years. That may be happening right now as the Dharma trading company posted this disclaimer on its Synthrapol web page.

“We are officially out of regular Synthrapol. We have a replacement in the works so stay tuned! Low Foam is still available.” It may be hard to get a replacement as this is a great cleanser for both wool and silk.

Regular laundry soap can be used as a substitute especially if you do not have any of this cleanser on hand. Then you can use dishwashing soap as long as it does not contain any bleach or other harsh cleaning chemicals.

But if you use regular laundry soap, you will have to do a lot of rinsing of the dyed fabric to get the unattached dye particles out first. Then after you have rinsed enough, you can wash the garment in the laundry soap.

The reason for that is that regular laundry soaps have a very high PH level and may not react well with the dye. A couple of brand names you can try are Eucalan and Orvus Paste.

One reason some people are looking for a substitute for Synthrapol is that there is a rumor that that cleanser can be a bit toxic. California believes it causes cancer and you should use gloves when you wash with Synthrapol.

You do not want to use Rit color remover or any brand of color remover as those formulas are made to remove all the color and not just the unattached dye molecules.

Best Synthrapol Substitute

The best substitute would be a cleansing formula with a neutral PH factor. Regular soaps are okay but their PH factor is usually high and does not do a good enough job. When it comes to dyes, you do have to watch those PH levels.

One product that is PH neutral, which is not Synthrapol, is Orvus Paste. it is totally made from sodium lauryl sulfate and is said to be a detergent, not a soap. It also has no brighteners, fabric softeners, fragrances, or enzymes.

The one drawback is that on the label of the jar that we saw, it is this formula is not for home use. It is an industrial use-only product. But that does not mean you can’t find it in stores and take it home. This product may cause skin reactions and hard water may cut its cleaning power.

Generally, it is found in livestock stores and can be known as horse shampoo. One word of warning though. Do not use Orvus Paste with vinegar. The PH level lowers and allows for the SLS to stay in the fibers.

Dawn dishwashing liquid is also mentioned as a good substitute for this cleanser. But we will get to that alternative shortly. The best version of Dawn to use is the original blue formula that has no bleach or other additives.

Does Synthrapol Go Bad?


From everything we have read, Synthrapol doesn't go bad. At least no one has mentioned that it has a short shelf life. Judging from the large sizes this cleanser is sold in, it is doubtful that it will expire any time soon.

Also, you do not need to use a lot of Synthrapol in any pre or after wash. All you need is a 1/4 cup in a top-loading washer is one recommendation while another is only 1/2 teaspoon for every pound.

If you have a front-loading washer, then you should use even less. The foaming action can cause problems if you use too much. Plus, even if you use more, it will not make the washes any better or give greater results.

You end up wasting money by adding too much Synthrapol to any wash. Simply go conservative when adding this cleanser to your different washes. A little does go a long way when given a chance.

Synthrapol vs Retayne

The one aspect both cleansers have in common is that they both need extremely hot water to work well. The Retayne needs about a 20-minute soak in hot water while the Synthrapol needs only about 10 to 12 minutes.

One of the biggest differences between the two products is that the former prevents the dye molecules from reattaching to fibers and the latter helps the dye molecules to attach to a given fabric.

Also, Synthrapol’s other duties include removing sizing, oils, fingerprints, and other impurities that would stop or interfere with the dyeing process. Retayne does not do that even though it can be used in a pre-wash.

Then, Retayne is not to be used on a completed quilt as it may help the dye migrate. The order these two products should be used is use Synthrapol first to wash the material to remove loose dye molecules and then use Retayne to fix any color so it remains on the fabric.

Synthrapol vs Dawn

Keep in mind that the two cleansers have different purposes. While Synthrapol is good at getting fibers clean, it may not work on all stains. Greasy stains can be a bit difficult to remove even with the best of cleaners.

On the other hand, Dawn does a great job at getting those hard-to-get greasy stains off fabrics. It is a good pre-wash substitute and does not support any color bleed, which we have found out. It is also gentle on fabrics for the most part so there should not be any damage to your clothing when you use this cleansing substitute for Synthrapol.

The other aspect that makes Dawn a better cleanser is that it is non-toxic. Unlike its competitor, Dawn is basically safe to use at all times and even when you are not wearing gloves.

As you know, some states label Synthrapol as a toxic cleaner and place warning labels on its packaging. Those warning labels have more to do with the rubbing alcohol ingredient than the other alcohols being used to create this detergent.

If you do not have Synthrapol around the house, you may be better off as you can deal with dirt and grime with less risk using dawn and some other substitutes.

Where to Buy Synthrapol Detergent


Where would people be without Amazon to turn to? It stands to reason that this marketplace would have Synthrapol and it does. You should be able to find it on that website with ease as there is at least the Jacquard brand of Synthrapol on sale there.

If you do not prefer to buy at Amazon, Wal Mart carries some and a quick trip to your local big-box alternatives may help you find some more supplies. Dharma trading used to have their own brand of this cleanser but if you remember the notice above, they seem to be out of the regular kind.

There is a low foam available at that outlet, but we have heard that it takes several washes before the odor is gone. jacquard sells its brand of Synthrapol and you can find it on their website with ease.

One thing is for sure, you are not going to run out of options to purchase this cleanser. it is not as hard to find as Orvus Paste which is more of an industrial cleaner and found in stores that cater to livestock needs.

How to Use Synthrapol On a Quilt

Using your washing machine, fill the tub with 140 degrees F water and put in 1 to 2 tablespoons of Synthrapol. Add in your cotton fabric and let the machine go for about 10 to 12 minutes. You want a warm rinse as well.

For hand washing, fill a bucket that is large enough to hold the quilt with the same level of hot water. Add 1 teaspoon of Synthrapol for every gallon of water in the tub and then use a wooden spoon to swish the material around for about 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water and then dry.

For a pre dye soak, follow the handwashing instructions for the tub and the water temperature. Only add a 1/4 teaspoon of Synthrapol for every gallon of water. Then swish around for 5 minutes with a wooden spoon (after you have added the fabric).

Make sure to squeeze out all the excess water before putting the material in the dye bath.

How to Use Synthrapol For Tie-Dye


The pre-wash would be the same as the instructions given immediately above. The key to using Synthrapol comes after you have tie-dyed the fabric. using this cleanser comes after you have let the tie-dyed garment, etc., dry between 2 and 24 hours.

Use the washing machine instructions above but only add a very little of Synthrapol Sp detergent. You shouldn’t use it in a front loading washer as it can get very sudsy. Use cold water in the initial wash and about 1 to 2 tbsp of the cleanser if you have rinsed a lot of the dye out previously. 1/4 cup if you haven’t.

In the next wash or two use warm to hot water and add a little more of the Synthrapol each time, using smaller amounts each wash. Wash as often as you need to in order to get all the loose dye out

The dry as you normally would.

Some Final Words

There are options to using Synthrapol as a dye cleanser and booster. They may be needed as some people are saying that it may be gone in a few years. The reason it may be gone is because of the toxic reputation this detergent has.

Your best bet is to stalk up on the product if you like using it or be prepared to use a less effective cleanser later on.

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