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Technology to dye cotton yarn & fabric with Natural dyes

The ancient Indian tradition of dyeing of textiles with natural dyes is on a revival path on
account of various ecological considerations. Globally natural dyes are considered as an
effective eco option for the use of synthetic dyes in textiles which contributes to several
environmental problems. CIRCOT realising the importance of natural dyes has initiated a
number of research programmes in this thrust area. One of the high points of the above
programme is the development of a novel application technology for lac dye on cotton
Lac is the hardened resin secreted by tiny insects kerria lacca. Lac contains a water soluble red
dye which goes as waste in the effluent during the processing of the resin for the manufacture
of lac sticks. It is estimated that about 80 tonnes of the red dye could be recovered from the
estimated 15,700 tonnes of lac that is produced annually in our country. Lac is an acid dye
CIRCOT Technique of Dyeing :
Employing a naturally occurring polymeric material Chitosan, reactive sites were created on to
In the above technique, scoured and bleached cotton fabric was padded with a dilute solution
of chitosan to 80% weight pick-up, dried at 1009C for 7 mm. and cured at 1 602C for 3 mm.
followed by rinsing with water and air dried. The eco-friendly mordants viz. alum and ferrous
sulphate were used in the process. Both pre-mordanting and post mordanting techniques were
employed. The dye was pasted with turkey red oil and dissolved in hot water containing borax.
The dyeing was carried out at 4.5 pH at boil for 60 mm. After dyeing, the material was washed,
soaped in non-ionic detergent solution at 7O C, washed and air dried.The dyed fabric exhibited
medium light fastness, good rubbing and perspiration fastness and a moderate wash fastness.
Using the above technology dyeing with ac dye was carried out in a conventional textile mill on
knitted as well as woven fabrics. As the above dye is recovered from the waste water, the use
of the same in cotton employing the CIRCOT technology not only contributes towards
minimising the pollution load in the effluent but also enhances the utility and scope for the lac
Processing Cost :
Considering the current price of Rs.1600 per kg of the lac dye and the cost of chitosan and the
mordants, the cost of dyeing for 1 kg of 100% cotton fabric to a 5% shade roughly works out
to be Rs.125. This is considered to be a competitive price for a naturally dyed cotton material
which caters to niche global market.