Benefits of Natural Dyes - The word ‘natural dye’ covers all the dyes derived from the natural sources like plants, animal and minerals. Natural dyes are mostlynon-substantive and must be applied on textiles by the help of mordants, usually a metallic salt, having an affinity for both the colouring matter and the fibre. Transition metal ions usually have strong co-ordinating.
These metallic mordants after combining with dye in the fibre, it forms an insoluble precipitate or lake and thus both the dye and mordant get fixed to become wash fast to a reasonable level.
Natural dyes are known for their use in colouring of food substrate, leather as well as natural protein fibres like wool, silk and cotton as major areas of application since pre-historic times.
The use of non-allergic, non-toxic and ecofriendly natural dyes on textiles has become a matter of significant importance due to the increased environmental awareness in order to avoid some hazardous synthetic dye.
Advantages of natural dyes
The shades produced by natural dyes/colourants are usually soft, lustrous and
soothing to the human eye.
Natural dyestuff can produce a wide range of colours by mix and match system. A
small variation in the dyeing technique or the use of different mordants with the same
dye (polygenetic type natural dye) can shift the colours to a wide range or create totally new colours, which are not easily possible with synthetic dyestuffs.
Natural dyestuffs produce rare colour ideas and are automatically harmonizing.
Unlike non-renewable basic raw materials for synthetic dyes, the natural dyes are usually renewable, being agro-renewable/vegetable based and at the same time biodegradable.
In some cases like harda, indigo etc. the waste in the process becomes an ideal fertilizer for use in agricultural fields. Therefore, no disposal problem of this natural waste.
Many plants thrive on wastelands. Thus, wasteland utilization is an added merit of the natural dyes. Dyes like madder grow as host in tea gardens. So there is no additional cost or effort required to grow it.
Application of natural dyes has potential to earn carbon credit by reducing consumption of fossil fuel (petroleum) based synthetic dyes. Some of its constituents are anti-allergens, hence prove safe for skin contact and are mostly non-hazardous to human health. Some of the natural dyes are enhanced with age, while synthetic dyes fade with time.
Natural dyes bleed but do not stain other fabrics, turmeric being an exception. Natural dyes are usually moth proof and can replace synthetic dyes in kids garments and food-stuffs for safety.