Web Extra: Dye Types and Fibers
Because the chemical makeup of fibers is different, no one dye is perfect for all fiber types. Below is a table of dye types, and the fibers that they are typically used with.
|Dye Class||Description||Fibers Typically Applied To|
|Acid||highly water-soluble, better light fastness||wool, nylon|
|Basic||water-soluble, applied in weakly acidic dyebaths; very bright dyes||acrylic, some polyesters|
|Direct||water-soluble, anionic compounds; can be applied directly without mordants||cotton, rayon, other cellulose fibers|
|Disperse||not water-soluble; applied in high-temperature||polyester, acetate, other synthetics|
|Reactive||water-soluble, anionic compounds; largest dye class||cotton, other cellulose fibers, wool|
|Sulfur||organic compounds containing sulfur or sodium sulfide||cotton, other cellulose fibers|
|Vat||oldest dyes; more chemically complex; water insoluble||cotton, other cellulose fibers|
Source: Snowden-Swan, L.J. "Pollution Prevention in the Textile Industry," in Industrial Pollution Prevention Handbook. Freeman, H.M. (Ed.), McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, 1995.