A Guide to ColorFastness in Textile Dyeing: What You Need to Know for Long-Lasting Vibrance

In the colorfastness of textile dyeing, there are crucial aspects to consider. Whether it’s your vibrant new design apparel or lush bath towels, you want them to maintain their hue for as long as possible. But did you know that colorfastness can be affected by various factors like dye depth and dye type? Let’s delve into this captivating subject.

The Relationship Between Dye Depth and Colorfastness of Textile Dyeing

  • Dark Colors: Generally, the darker the color, the lower its resistance to washing and abrasion.
  • Light Colors: On the other hand, lighter colors often have lower resistance to sun fading and chlorine bleaching.

Are Reductive Dyes Always Resistant to Chlorine Bleaching?

When it comes to dyeing cellulose fibers with a requirement for chlorine-bleach resistance, reductive dyes are commonly used if reactive dyes fall short. However, not all reductive dyes (often known as vat dyes) resist chlorine bleaching. For example, Reductive Blue BC and RSN are not.

Understanding Dye Cards for Colorfastness of Textile Dyeing

When you’re looking up the colorfastness properties of textile dyeing, you’ll likely consult the dye cards provided by dye companies. Keep in mind that the fastness ratings on these cards are typically based on standard dye depths, not any arbitrary depth.

Color Mixing and Its Effect on Colorfastness of Textile Dyeing

When dyeing a fabric with a mix of two or three dyes, the final fastness rating will be determined by the dye with the lowest fastness.

Sun Fastness Ratings

  • U.S. Standard (AATCC): Sun fastness is rated on a 5-level scale, with 5 being the highest.
  • European Standard (ISO): The scale goes up to 8. Make sure to check which standard applies when choosing your dye.

Chlorine Water (Swimming Pool) Fastness

Textile products designed for use in chlorinated water typically come with effective chlorine concentration standards of 20ppm, 50ppm, or 100ppm. For instance, towels and bathrobes generally use the 20ppm standard, while swimwear uses 50ppm and 100ppm.

Non-Chlorine Bleach Fastness

This test differentiates between chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and oxidative bleaching agents like sodium perborate and hydrogen peroxide.

Saliva Fastness in Baby Textiles

Textiles designed for infants generally need to be resistant to saliva since, as we all know, babies tend to drool and chew on their fingers.

Fluorescent Brightening Agents and Migration Fastness

Some European countries have restrictions on the use of fluorescent brightening agents in textiles. However, if the textile meets the migration fastness criteria, it’s generally considered safe to use.

Sweat and Light Fastness

This is a unique composite test in the series of color fastness tests. It assesses the fading of dyed fiber products under the combined effects of sweat and sunlight.

Xenon arc test chambers(Air-cooled)
perspiration colorfastness tester
oven for perspiration test

Color Bleeding Fastness

Also known as color migration or color bleed fastness, this test evaluates the degree to which the dye or residual loose color transfers and stains when the fabric is washed or exposed to rain. This terminology primarily comes from Japan.

Understanding these various aspects of textile dyeing can help you make more informed decisions, whether you’re a manufacturer, designer, or consumer. Keep these insights in mind to ensure the longevity and quality of your colorful textiles.



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