Citric Acid-a mild acid in powder form. It originates from citrus fruits. It is used to add acidity to the dyebath and to precipitate the fine lac residue when using powdered lac dye. The acid is also used as an alternative acid with Aquarelle Liquid Natural dyes.
From our Feedback Friday series:
Is there a way to have the citric acid reaction stay more permanently on the fabric with washing?
I use citric acid while dyeing some stuff and it reacts with the dye creating pink shades onto the fabric. When I wash the fabric on a gentle wash, it’s like it reverses the process and the fabric comes out without the pink colors. (It goes back to how it was before adding the citric acid.)
Is there a way to have the acid reaction stay more permanently on the fabric with washing?
The acid lowers the pH of the dye bath and can cause color shifts to pH sensititive dyes, and washing with soap raises the pH of the laundry bath – from acidic to neutral or slightly basic. If the citric acid color effect occurred because it shifted a color, then raising the pH through washing would neutralize the effect that the acid changed. I am a little cautious when using acids to shift shades. It’s always a good idea to consider how the textile will be used and if laundering might cause changes to the piece.