Dyeing is the process by which a fabric gets its color. When dyeing, its critical that we get the color right so that customers get the product they expect. It's also important that the fabric is color-fast, so that it doesn't bleed or fade over time or when it is washed.

Our fabric is dyed using low-impact, fiber-reactive dyes in an environmentally sensitive facility. Our dyes have low metal content, no formaldehyde, and are finished in accordance with Global Organic Textile (GOTS) requirements. Bleaching is done with an eco-friendly hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). It is a natural chemical which is not harmful to people, animals or the environment.

What are low-impact dyes?

A low-impact dye is a dye that has been classified by the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 (an international certification process) as eco-friendly. Generally, low impact dyes do not contain toxic chemicals or mordants (which fix the dye to the fabric), require less rinsing and have a high absorption rate in the fabric (~70%). High absorption rates and a decreased use of rinse water create less waste water.

What are fiber-reactive dyes?

Fiber-reactive dyes are low-impact synthetic dyes that directly bond with the garment fibers rather than merely remaining as an independent chemical entity within the fiber.

The benefits:

  • contain no heavy metals or other known toxic substances, and do not need mordants.
  • are easy to apply and are available in a wide range of color and wash-fast bright colors.
  • fixation or absorption rate of low-impact dyes is at least 70%, creating less waste water runoff than conventional dyeing processes.
  • are applied at relatively low temperatures (30ºC compared to the 100ºC needed for direct dyes), saving energy, and require controlled amounts of salt and alkali.
  • the high cost of this dye becomes an environmental advantage, as it is cheaper to reclaim dye from its effluent rather than discharge it all and start from scratch. The water can also be recycled.
  • the dye cycle is shorter than it is for other dye processes, meaning less water, salt and chemicals are needed.
  • the entire process normally occurs at a pH of around 7.0, meaning no acids or alkalis need to be added to the water.
  • recent advances have created fiber-reactive dyes with colors that are brighter and richer, and they provide excellent colorfast properties.

The disadvantages:

  • reactive dyes are made from synthetic petrochemicals.
  • the process requires very high concentrations of salt (0%-80% of the weight of the goods dyed), alkali and water. Even if the unfixed dye is reclaimed, the effluent from this process can still contain high concentrations of salts, surfactants and defoamers, and are strongly alkaline.
  • it's quite expensive, whereas conventional dye is cheap.
  • the effluent normally contains salt, alkali, detergent and between 0% to 50% of dye used.

Note: Thanks to organiclifstyles.com for writing deeply on this topic.