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Natural Dyes: Advantages and Disadvantages
Using natural colours has advantages and disadvantages, just like everything else. The best choice regarding whether to employ them for your company or not will depend on a variety of elements, the majority of which are related to your wants and objectives. Think about how it will affect the environment. Compared to synthetic dyes, natural colours have less of an impact on the environment. However, you also need to take sustainability and price into account.
What is Natural Dye?
Natural dyes are non-allergenic, non-toxic, and biodegradable. Although natural dyes are safe for the environment, skin-friendly, and eye-pleasing, they have very poor bonding with textile fibre materials and must be fixed on textile fibres using metallic mordents, some of which are not environmentally friendly.
Advantages of Natural Dye
Following are the major advantages of natural dye
The benefits of natural dyes include not requiring special maintenance, having beautiful and rich tones, acting as a health remedy, being easily biodegradable, requiring a basic dye house to apply them to a matrix, and requiring only mild reaction conditions for their extraction and use. It is advised to apply natural dyes to textile materials. The use of natural dyes on a broad scale is supported by the ideas listed below.
There is no significant environmental impact
Natural dyes are appealing to consumers since they do not affect the environment because they are derived from natural sources. Biodegradable natural dyes can be disposed of without polluting the environment.
Use with confidence
Although natural dyes are not completely harmless, they are less hazardous than their synthetic equivalents in terms of health and safety. Many natural colours are allowed as food additives, including annatto, turmeric, and saffron. Numerous natural colours have pharmacological effects and may be beneficial to health.
Numerous natural dyes have the advantage that, while having low wash fastness ratings, they do not stain nearby materials during washing since the dye is not strongly attracted to the cloth. Turmeric is an exception to this rule because it exhibits substantivity for cotton.
Provides a vibrant and distinctive colour scheme
Nature provides us with a wide variety of colour options for dying fabrics. Each colour in natural dyeing has harmonious, subtle undertones. They could never be replicated by synthetic colours. These hues are “living,” evolving over time and in various lighting conditions (shadow, sun, etc.). Because the plants from these hues can be dyed using a variety of techniques, all plant colours blend harmoniously together.
Valorization of craft knowledge
Natural dyeing is mostly an artisanal process. As a result, there is a significant labour shortage, which creates job opportunities for individuals involved in the production, extraction, and use of these colors. In order to achieve the correct colours that will last over time, developing natural dye recipes requires a lot of trial and error.
Natural dyes come from renewable resources that can be used without causing environmental harm.
If you want a delicate hue or calming tint, natural dyes can help you achieve it.
Disadvantage of Natural Dye
Natural dyes have some drawbacks, such as limited colour availability, poor colour output, complicated dying procedures, poor fastness qualities, and difficulties combining hues. Natural dyes have numerous benefits, but they also have some disadvantages
Compared to synthetic dyes, natural dyes may require a greater quantity to colour a certain amount of fabric. For instance, 5 grammes of synthetic dye can colour one pound of cotton, while 230 grammes of natural dye are required to colour the same amount of fabric. Because of this, natural colours cost more to use than synthetic dyes.
Natural dyes might also be rather toxic. Hematein and hematoxylin, two components of logwood, can be hazardous if inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed via the skin. Another natural colouring source called bloodroot, when inhaled, can irritate and inflame the respiratory tract. More so, the application of natural dyes might require mordants. These compounds can be hazardous even if they aid in the dye’s adhesion to clothes. Metals like aluminium, copper, iron, and chrome are examples of mordants used in natural dyes.
Variations in quality
The quality of dye derived from plants cannot be inconsistent due to variations in soil pH levels and erratic weather patterns. The plants must be grown in a controlled environment to obtain consistency. Given the substantial volume of dye needed for mass textile production, this strategy is impracticable. Simply put, there isn’t enough room for enough plants to be grown in order to create enough dye for extensive textile dying. As a result, small-scale handicraft textile production uses 100% natural dyes today.
Controlling the reproducibility of hues is challenging
The production of these dyes depends on climatic factors, an animal’s age, and seasonal variations. They can also be produced by very specific processes in other animals. As a result, a single dye cannot be used repeatedly to produce the same
Natural colours wash off readily and fade when exposed to sunlight
The dyes are given a mordant treatment to reduce their washability. Although there is precedent for their use, natural mordants like salt and pomegranate do not completely achieve fastness. Even natural mordants like alum (aluminium), which are thought to be benign, can nonetheless be hazardous.
Utilizing natural dyes necessitates using more water:
Natural dyeing requires more energy because the dye baths must be kept extremely hot for extended periods of time. To meet these issues, synthetic dyes are enhanced.
The use of natural dyes in the colouring of textile materials is gaining interest as a result of the stringent environmental regulations in textiles and apparel enforced by nations concerned with nature and health protection. People are being forced to choose natural dyes due to the toxicity and allergic reactions of synthetic dyes. Natural dyes are an environmentally friendly source of colouring agents. In addition to textiles, it is used to colour meals, medicines, and other goods. Although natural dyes are safe for the environment, skin-friendly, and eye-pleasing, they have very poor bonding with textile fibre materials and must be fixed on textile fibres using metallic colourants, some of which are not environmentally friendly. In order to create textiles that are entirely eco-friendly, more research is required on the use of natural dyes on various natural fibres.
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