Natural mordants : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

How to use natural mordants (and which ones)to set dyes in already-dyed fabrics where the dyes still run.

-- Lucille Lauducci (, April 21, 2002


I have used saltwater to set the indigo dye into my denims.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, April 21, 2002.

There is something that quilters buy, that sets the dyes in the fabric, so it won't run. But I don't think it is any more natural than the dyes. I have used salt to set dyes when I was hand-dying wool with kool aid, and it worked. But it didn't work much at all on cotton with kool aid. Don't know why.

-- Rebekah (, April 22, 2002.

The fabric should have been soaked in soda ash water (1 cup to 2.5 gallons of very hot water) prior to dying. This will hold your dye in and allow it to be it's most vibrant. You could try vinegar water. I haven't done this, but have heard it works. No idea on ratios, though. Wih Procion mx dyes there will be bleed for years, but if it's excessive the problem was prior to application of the dye.

-- (, April 22, 2002.

What type of fabric are you using? What color are you working with? Red or anything with red in it is always the worse for bleeding adnthere is not much you can do other than to continue to rinse, rinse, rinse. Vinegar also works.

By the way, a mordent is what is used in the to control fading of color,and what color you get. What dye are you using? Some copper pennies, alum, iron,to name a few. They will all give you different colors with different dyes and with different fibers.

If you are looking for something for the rinse water I would say vinegar or salt. Most likely it just needs massive amounts of rinsing.


-- Susan in MN (, April 22, 2002.

This isn't really an answer, but since we're on the subject of natural dyes and mordants, does anyone know a good way to get pretty blues and purples? Seems like nature favors the brown, olive and gold colors. I know lots of plants for getting the warm colors, but short of importing snails or some exotic plant, I don't know how to get those cooler colors.

Lucille - alum works on some things, but I've forgotten what color or fabric. (Haven't done this in a long time.)

-- Deborah Stephenson (, April 22, 2002.

Deborah, See if you can find a copy of Rita Buchanan's book A Dyers Garden it is an Interweave Press book so you could get it on line if your library doesn't have it. She has extensive information on plants, morents, and color samples, as well as fibers to be dyed.

Glancing at the book she has purples from Hardy Hibiscus, using alum on cotton and a vinegar rinse. Hollyhock, using alum on cotton and silk. Blues come from Indigo, and Woad, no mordents mentioned for blue. There are a lot of yellows, several reds, greens and a few brown.


-- Susan in MN (, April 22, 2002.

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