This week: Clean dye studios, saturated color and vinegar post-bath for everything?
Every week, we are emailed with questions from our natural dye community that are worth sharing. Of course, all of your burning questions are answered by natural dyer in chief, Kathy Hattori, Founder of Botanical Colors. This week we look at keeping natural dye kitchens clean, saturated color and vinegar post-bath for everything.
Do you use the same dye pots for the same dyes? Like yellows for one, reds for another, iron and indigo have their own pots? I scrub the heck out of my pots and still get marks from indigo when I thought it was all washed clean!
We use stainless steel pots and we dye all colors in them. Because we dye indigo in large volumes, we have barrels for those and they are kept separate. Dark enamel pots are difficult to see any residual dyes, but with a stainless pot, it’s easy to see. Cross-contamination from dye utensils or work surfaces can also be a big culprit here, so check those as well.
Do you post-dyeing use a vinegar bath to clean off residue and brighten?
We use vinegar to clean the calcium hydroxide residue from indigo in a 1-2-3 vat. The mild acid helps remove the slightly grayish cast of the calcium, causing the fabric to appear a brighter blue. We don’t use vinegar for any other natural dye as it may shift the color.
How much dye do I need to dye fabric with ink?
You cannot dye fabric with the ink. Our inks are derived from a dye by making it insoluble, so now it cannot bond with fabric through a normal dye process. If you want to dye, most of these colors are available as dyes on our site. If you want to experiment with the ink as a dye, test and please report back to us with the results!