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Advantages of using Natural Dyes

• Natural dyes are easy on the skin and do not irritate or affect it.

• Vegetable dyes are fast colors and do not run despite several washes over the years.

• The raw materials for natural colourants are directly available from nature.

• Wastes from the use of vegetable or natural dyes are neither harmful to human life nor do they pollute.

Advantages of Vegetable Dyes

• Vegetable dyes are skin friendly or in other words eco-friendly.

• Vegetable colors are exclusively used in various block printing techniques; tie n dye work and kalamkari paintings.

• A wide range of colors are developed and thus organic dyes on pure cotton, pure silk, chiffon, georgette, crepe sarees is a new fashion trend.

• Fancy embroidery designs on vegetable printed saris are quite impressive.

• Mother Nature has gifted us with more than 500 color giving plants. These are available in abundance, are cost effective, yield good color and fastness properties.

Dyes used in the fashion industry based on fibre content

Fibre content determines the type of dye required for a fabric:

• Cellulose fibres: cotton, linen, hemp, ramie, bamboo, rayon

• Protein fibres: wool, angora, mohair, cashmere, silk, soy, leather, suede

Cellulose fibres require fibre-reactive, direct/substantive, and vat dyes, which are colorless, soluble dyes fixed by light and/or oxygen.

Protein fibres require vat, acid, or indirect/mordant dyes, that require a bonding agent.

Each synthetic fibre requires its own dyeing method, for example,

nylon requires acid, disperse and pigment dyes,

rayon acetate requires disperse dyes, and so on.

Natural dyes currently in use by the global fashion industry


• Cochineal insect (red)

• Cow urine (Indian yellow)

• Lac insect (red, violet)

• Murex snail (purple)

• Octopus/Cuttlefish (sepia brown)


• Catechu or Cutch tree (brown)

• Gamboge tree resin (dark mustard yellow)

• Himalayan rubhada root (yellow)

• Indigofera plant (blue)

• Kamala tree (red)

• Larkspur plant (yellow)

• Madder root (red, pink, orange)

• Myrabolan fruit (yellow, green, black)

• Pomegranate peel (yellow)

• Weld herb (yellow)