Environmentally Friendly Dye for Textiles Fabrics



What is Eco- Friendly Dyes?

Eco-friendly dyeing techniques involve the use of non-toxic, biodegradable, and renewable materials that have a minimal impact on the environment. It is feasible to use dyes and finishes on textiles without negatively impacting the environment. To the extent that chemical-free and eco-friendly dyes can be utilized, dying may have positive environmental effects. Naturally occurring colors may be derived from a wide variety of organisms, including plants, fruits, algae, fungi, marine invertebrates (like starfish and sea urchins), and even bacteria.

Standards of Environmentally Friendly Dyes:

  1. Eco friendly dyes do not contain or produce harmful aromatic amines.
  2. The dye itself has no carcinogenicity, allergenicity and acute toxicity.
  3. Eco friendly dyes do not contain environmental hormones and persistent organic pollutants.
  4. Eco friendly dyes will not produce harmful chemicals that pollute the environment.
  5. The color fastness and performance of ecofriendly dyes are better than normal dyes.
  6. After use, formaldehyde and extractable heavy metals are below the limit.
  7. Eco friendly dyeing complies with relevant environmental protection regulations and can be used in the production process.

Turmeric dyes:

A yellow dye extracted from the roots of the plant, ‘Curcuma Longa’. This dye is still used today in India for Carpet dyeing. Turmeric are often applied on polyester by mordanting and dyeing by the subsequent methods as discussed further. Gold-yellow is the most common shade achieved using turmeric, one of the oldest natural dyes used on textiles. The roots of the turmeric plant contain the pigment cur cumin, which is used for coloring. To extract the dye, the roots are ground into a powder and then infused into boiling water. You can use this plant-based dye to color cotton, silk, and wool, but you'll need to mix it with a mordant to make the color stay.

Tulsi leaves:

Tulsi is mostly used for medicinal purposes and in herbal cosmetics and is widely used in skin preparations due to its antibacterial activity. For centuries, the dried leaves of tulsi have been mixed with stored grains to repel insects. Antimicrobial property of tulsi plant can be used in textile dyeing. If along with natural dyeing some important feature is also added on to the fabric, it will be a real breakthrough. Durable antimicrobial cellulose-containing fabrics have a great deal of demand in a country like ours, where temperate climate conditions especially during rainy season cause immense damage to untreated cotton fabric.

Henna Dyes:

As a Eco-friendly dye, henna may be used for many purposes. Ancient Egyptians (more than 9000 years ago) were the first to use henna. In its widespread use as a hair, skin, and clothing dye, henna demonstrates its general safety for use on people of all ages. Depending on how long the henna leaves are allowed to dry before being crushed, the resulting dye may range in color from mustard yellow to brown. Because it sticks well to synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon, henna is a beautiful substitute for synthetic dispersion colors. To get a subtle brown on silk or wool, you may use this dye as well.

Indigo dyes:

For centuries, indigo has been commercially produced for dyeing fabrics in different parts of the world and especially in Asia. The dye is extracted from the seeds of indigo plants and the color that it produces is royal blue. The plants are first soaked into water for fermentation and once the hydrolysis of glucoside is over, the plant residues are removed from the liquid. The solution is then aerated to convert the indoxyl to indigotin, which eventually become the precipitate. Indigo works well with natural cellulose fibers present in cotton, viscose, and linen but can also be used to dye wool or synthetic fibers.

Cochineal dyes:

The cochineal insect, from which the dye gets its name, contains the natural pigment carmine in its scales. Organic fibers like silk, cotton, and wool may be colored red or pink using this substance. The addition of mordants like iron, copper, or chromium to the dye may produce a wider range of colors, from purple to grey.

Safflower dyes:

The Safflower, as a dye producing plant, probably had its origin in south Asia; however, it was cultivated from ancient times in China, India, Persia and Egypt, where it was also used as a foodstuff and as a medicine. In Greece, it was rated as the official color. The yellow dye from safflower is similar to saffron, although the two plants from which the dyes are derived are not related botanically. Safflower dye is obtained from the flowering head of the plant. The florets are harvested by hand when in full bloom. The fugitive soluble yellow dye is removed from the florets by agitating in water. The mass is then pressed, dried, and made ready for market. The coloring matter of the plant is composed of a small percent of insoluble red and a soluble yellow. Depending on whether the dye is mixed with an acid or alkali, various shades of yellow, orange, red and pink are obtained with safflower dye.

Herbal dyes:

Herbal Textile is dyed entirely with herbal extractions, without using any variety of chemicals. The herbs used are different from vegetable dyes as they’re not only natural but even have medicinal value. These herbs are applied on to the material with the assistance of natural ingredients, so the medicinal value of the herbs are often kept intact. No natural process is adopted while dyeing. Even bleaching of fabric is finished naturally by exposing it to sunlight. The herbs also don’t pollute the environment through contamination of water resources in areas near processing units. Every kind of reminder red, yellow, brown, orange and green etc. are often prepared with the assistance of those herbs.


The Spaniards near the bay of Compeche, Mexico, discovered logwood shortly after their conquest of the new world. Quick to see its value as purple dye on wool, blue and black on cotton and wool, and violet and black on silk, the Spaniards introduced logwood dye to dyers of Europe shortly after its discovery. It is still used to some extent as a cloth dye and it is interesting that in labs a black color lake made from logwood was invented for use in the first bleachable ink for printing telephone directories, permitting recovery of millions of pounds of paper pulp each years. Logwood is obtained from a large tree, which is indigenous to sub-tropical and tropical America. The wood in its natural state is colorless. The color is produced by reducing the wood to chips or a paste. This is thoroughly wetted, causing fermentation to take place, in the process of which the color is developed.


Innovations in the textile dyeing sector are very promising and environmentally friendly but still have many obstacles to overcome. Cold dyeing, dry heat fixation, and vegetable tanning are some of the processes that textile manufacturers can use to develop eco-friendly garments. Can play an important role in reducing usage.

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