The Fibre Garden : Acid Dyes
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Acid dyes require the use of a weak acid to acidify the water, usually regular household vinegar or citric acid. This brings the pH of the dyebath and fibre to the correct acidic level in order for the dye molecules to strike and affix themselves.
Acid dyes are used on protein fibres, which comes mainly from animals. This includes wool from sheep as well as llama, alpaca, goats, rabbits, silk and others. Nylon responds very well to acid dyes, and also soy protein fibre and milk protein fibre. Cellulose fibres come from plants, including cotton, linen, hemp, ramie, rayon, Tencel, bamboo and others, and these must be dyed with fibre reactive dyes, since acid dyes will not be effective.
DYE SAFETY is always a concern. A few tips:
– always wear a mask when handling powders, and avoid handling them in a kitchen or other room where food is prepared or consumed.
– handle powders in a draft-free area, as they are extremely light and will blow around with the slightest breeze.
– use disposable gloves when handling dyes as either powders or mixed as liquids.
– keep dyes out of the reach of children, pets and idiots.
– containers used for dye storage, as well as pots, spoons and other equipment must never be used for food preparation again, after being used for dyes.
– consult a good dye book for more safety and handling information, as well as the product label.