Iron sulphate


Used as a MORDANT in natural dyeing, which allows the plant pigments to bond with the fibres.

Iron darkens or “saddens” colours. It takes only a tiny amount to do this, and one must be careful with iron: too much will harshen or damage fibres. If you use iron with any regularity, consider having a dedicated pot for this purpose, as it sticks to pot surfaces and will affect the colour of future dyebaths. A chipped enamal pot is perfect.

Used mainly on protein fibres such as wool, alpaca, silk. Although it can be used as a premordant, most natural dyers use iron to alter the colour at the end of the dyeing process. If you prefer to premordant, follow the usual steps using iron at 6% WOF.

TO USE: Weigh fibre before wetting. Dye in the bath of your choice, with or without an alum premordant. Calculate iron mordant required for 2% WOF (weight of fibre). Dissolve iron in hot water. Remove fibre from warm dyepot, stir in dissolved iron and re-enter fibre. Simmer for 5 minutes, cool then wash and rinse well.

Spent mordant solution may be safely disposed of by pouring in the garden. Iron sulphate is a common soil amendment in agriculture and horticulture.

CAUTION: wear a mask when handling powders. Wear gloves when using iron, as it stains skin easily. BEST DONE OUTDOORS or with very good ventilation. Avoid breathing fumes.

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