Whole Madder Root-Rubia Cordifolia


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We source our whole madder root (Rubia cordifolia) from India. It produces very strong and rich reddish orange shades with multiple exhaust baths. We like to soak the roots, grind or pulverize.  Then we add fiber and simmer at low temperatures to develop the deep rich color.

We use 100% on the weight of the goods for deepest cranberry to garnet shades. A small amount of citric acid and calcium carbonate allow you to get the richest shades from our madder roots. For more detailed instructions, please see our page on how to use madder roots.

After extracting the dye, don’t throw away the spent roots. You can dry them and use in eco printing or for fermentation indigo vats, or even rehydrate for a second, paler dye bath.

From our Feedback Friday series:

I’ve gone deep into the rabbit hole of your website for the first time. As I read your mordanting section, it seems to contradict what you wrote in regard to madder root and chalk/calcium carbonate. In your mordant section it says to use the chalk as an after bath. In your  madder root section it indicates you can specifically add it to the madder root vat itself? Please clarify, thanks.

These are two different processes as I don’t normally mordant with aluminum acetate and chalk, but use aluminum acetate and wheat bran. The chalk is used in madder root to help develop the red color in the dye. You may also come across instructions using citric acid in madder root, which seems to be a direct contradiction to everything I understood, but what it does is help other colorants within the root to develop, hence its use. So I’ve dyed with whole madder root, citric acid, and then shifted pH with calcium carbonate, and gotten some nice colors on cellulose fibers.

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250 gm, 500 gm, 1000 gm

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