MORDANT MONDAY: Let’s Talk Aluminum

We get mordant questions all the time at Botanical Colors so why not create Mordant Monday??? Got mordanting questions? Email [email protected]

YOU ASKED: I used acorn extract as a tannin treatment on cotton, rinsed it like crazy, and put it in my aluminum triformate bath. Now the aluminum triformate bath has changed color. Should I toss it? I was hoping it would last awhile more and I could put it to use.

KATHY ANSWERED: If you are using the bucket method for aluminum triformate mordanting, I would keep the bath. It’s probably still just fine and there’s a lot of alum in there waiting to be used. It should not adversely impact future mordanting. If you notice some sediment accumulating, it’s the alum attracting minerals and insoluble ingredients. Rinse the aluminum triformate mordanted fabrics so that the sediment doesn’t end up on your cloth.

YOU ASKED: I use a large aluminum pot to do my scouring. Is this okay?

KATHY ANSWERED: The reaction between aluminum and soda ash (sodium carbonate) can possibly cause some light pitting if the aluminum pot is unlined and the pH is high enough. If you are in any doubt, save your pure aluminum vessels for boiling water and use a non-reactive pot such as lined aluminum, enamel or stainless for scouring.

Read more Mordant Monday questions and answers here.

2 thoughts on “MORDANT MONDAY: Let’s Talk Aluminum”

  1. After watching your video about Aluminum Triformate I decided to order it and started using it. I work with large quantities and large pieces, so I prepared a bucket with 50lt of water and 500gr of AT. I used it to mordant approximately 5 kg of yarn/pieces. The water was white at the beginning, I suppose because I just mixed the powder, but after the first load, it was just like regular water. I used it again with 2 kg of yarn, and after that it looks a little murkier but no sediment at all. I think I might need to add more AT. What am I supposed to look for in the water to know that it is time to add more? Is there some kind of testing/checking maybe with PH strips, to see if there is still AT in it? My regular water has a PH of 7 and this one is 4. One last question, you recommend to wear gloves, does that mean that the AT can affect your skin or is it just out of habit?
    Thank you for your help!

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