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Textile Dyes » Dyes for Protein Fibers
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Acid Dyes  |  Basic Dyes  |  Mordant Dyes (Chrome Dyes)

Before going into details about the different kinds of dyes that are used for dyeing the Protein fibers, we should understand the following points in brief. What are Protein fibers, the answer to this is that all those fibers those are obtained from animals are known as Protein fibers.

General composition of Protein fibers

Proteins fibers are made out of different combinations of twenty different essential amino acids. Composition of these fibers are more complex then the cellulose fibers which are made out of in repeating order unit forms of sugar, glucose, and this is the reason why more chemical dyes can be attached to them.

Do you know?

All the protein fibers have strong reverse affection with the alkali and strong affinity with acid. That is why we should wash our hair with pH-balanced shampoos instead of high pH-similarly, we avoid soda ash recipes for washing woolen clothes.

Silk that is highly sensitive to high pH and can be dyed by soda ash.

Dyeing process of protein fibers

Protein fibers can be successfully dyed with unsweetened soft-drink mixes such as Kool-Aid or Flavor-Aid. This is an easy and foolproof process and with this process color and light fast dyed fibers can be manufactured.

Both non-spun fibers and spun yarn can be dyed along with white colored fibers. Other colored fibers like natural gray also produce wonderful result after dyeing. Dyeing result of white color fibers comes in intense colors while for gray fibers died with Kool-Aid will produce intense, rich and heathery results. Some alertness should be maintained at the time of dyeing superwash wool because it absorbs the colors more quickly than the non-superwash wool and the color will seem more brilliant than the non-superwash brethren.

Major types of Protein fibers and commonly used dyes

Name Source Main dyes
WOOL From sheep Acid Dyes
Sheared Wool   Natural Dyes
Puller Wool   Vat dyes
Recycled Wool   Aniline(Water Based) Dyes
SILK Silk larva spun the fibers Acid Dyes
Chiffon   Natural Dyes
China Silk   Acid Dyes
Tussah   Natural Dyes
Charmeuse   Natural Dyes
Noil   Natural Dyes
Raw silk   Natural Dyes
MOHAIR Angora goats Rit Dyes
ANGORA Angora goats/Angora rabbits Acid Dyes

Commonly used Dyes for protein fibers

The following dyes are the commonly used dyes for dyeing protein fibers and also non-fibrous protein products:

Acid Dyes
For dyeing protein fibers, Acid Dyes are used. It is used mainly for wool, angora, cashmere, and silk. It is also used for milk protein fibers i.e Silk Latte, Soy protein fibers i.e Soy Silk etc.

Natural Dyes
Natural Dyes are often considered not very safe as well as not very ecological friendly. Natural Dyes are also less permanent, difficult to apply, easily washed out and usually consist highly toxic mordants.

Vat Dyes
Vat Dye is a kind of Natural dyes. It is a mordant dyes and it required others assistive substances for attaching to the fibers.

Rit Dyes
What types of fibers can be dyed with Rit Dyes? The answer is that almost all textile fabrics, many plastic and nylon fabric, material including golf balls and fabric from plush can be dyed with Rit Dyes.

Rit Dyes are recommended for:
  • Almost all the natural fibers, like linen, silk, wool, ramie blends, cotton.
  • Many synthetic fibers, like rayon, nylon, acetate.
  • Blends of fibers when majority of the fibers are dyeable.
  • Blend which is tinted evenly but doesn't retrieve the full color.
Rit Dyes are not-recommended for:
  • When the percentage of polyester is 50% or more than 50% in the fibers.
  • When fibers are either 100% acrylic or fiberglass or metallic fibers.
  • When the fabrics have rubber backing.
  • For such fabrics having bleach damage or extensive staining.
  • For such kind of fabrics which are strongly recommended to wash only in cold water.


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