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Should You Always Add Extra Soda Ash When Ice Dyeing?

A while back I talked about how adding extra soda ash to turquoise when ice dyeing can help you achieve deeper colors due to turquoise’s long cure time.

So if additional soda ash helped make turquoise deeper does that mean it’s a good idea to always throw some extra soda ash on top of your ice when you ice dye?

To test this idea I took 2 colors: cobalt blue and fuchsia. Cobalt blue has a longer cure time, but definitely nowhere near as long as turquoise. Fuchsia is incredibly quick to cure.

Basically we’ll be using these colors to see the differences in ice dyeing colors with quick, medium, and long cure times and we’ll be able to extrapolate the results to the other colors.

How did I determine which are which? You can check out the full test here.

Here’s what turquoise looks like as just a normal ice dye and with additional soda ash added on top of the ice:

Here’s fuchsia:

As you can see it does make the fabric more colorful but not in a way that is particularly pleasing. The whole point of ice dyeing is to make those beautiful swirls of color and this has caused the fabric to look kind of blah. You could achieve something similar from a lightly crumpled tie dye and you’d end up wasting less dye and soda ash in the process.

What about cobalt?

It’s not quite as uniform as fuchsia was but it still defeats the purpose of ice dyeing.


The short answer is no, it’s really not worth it to add extra soda ash for ice dyeing any color other than turquoise.

That also means you have to be extra careful when using turquoise to ice dye alongside other colors. You can just add soda ash in the places with turquoise but know that it is going to also cause the other colors to be much darker too, potentially covering up the turquoise you are trying to bring out. Turquoise is just a really tough color to ice dye with.

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Kathleen B.
Kathleen B.
June 13, 2021 4:28 am

Could you mix the soda ash with the dry turquoise dye before applying it to the fabric?