Importance of Dyes in Fabric Printing

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Imagine nature without its flowers and a rainbow without its distinct colors. A zebra looks appealing due to the black and white pattern on its body. Aesthetics have always had a lot to do with prints and colors. And so, the fashion industry is largely dependent on dyes.

Dyes, as we all know, are substances that are used to impart color. Dyes are widely used in textile industry for making beautiful prints and colors on fabric. What differentiates a piece of fabric from the other is the colorful patterns. We love beautiful variations on fabric created by the usage of dyes. The fashion and home decor industries are largely dependent on dyes for the variety in the product range.

Fabric printing with the use of dyes has over the years progressed through tremendous innovations.  Consequently, the art of fabric printing also has awesome variants starting from the simple “tie and die” to block printing, and machine or digital printing. Selection of appropriate dyes is based on the technique of printing as well as the fabric used.    

These are the common types of dyes used for fabric printing:

  • Acid Dyes

Acid Dyes Manufacturer

Available in basic to the advanced color range like brown, red, violet, black, yellow, orange, green and blue, these dyes are generally used with animal fibers like wool, silk, and nylon. These do not fade out even on frequent washing. These are convenient to use and have a long shelf life.

  • Basic Dyes

Basic or cationic dyes are available in Bismarck brown, yellow, green, methyl violet and Astraphoxine. Basic dyes are used to produce bright and deep shades of colors. They require application in precise quantities.

  • Naphthol Dyes

Categorized as the fast dyes, these are water-insoluble and so have better binding to the cotton fabric without fading. Naphthol dyes are used for creating light and bright shades.

  • Anionic dyes

Substantive dyes are suitable for wool, silk and nylon fibers which are ionic in nature.   They give cellulose substantivity and are thus also known as substantive dyes. 

  • Affinity Dyes

These are called so due to their affinity for fibers such as cotton, viscose, silk, jute, and linen. They can be used to produce bright colors. Various treatments can be done to fasten the color on the fabric.

  • Vat Dyes

These are water-insoluble and used for generating colors like violet, green black and blue. Mainly used for coloring cellulose fibers, these are popularly used for dyeing cotton yarns for the production of denim.

  • Fast Bases

These dyes are popularly used for African and wax printing, are economical and have exceptional colorfastness. They are used for shades like yellow, blue, red, orange and those which cannot be obtained through other dyes.

  • Reactive Dyes

Reactive dyes are largely used for tinting textiles.

  • Salt-Free Liquid Dyes

The manufacturing of salt free liquid dyes is through reverse osmosis filtration systems. These eco-friendly dyes are highly soluble and offer a good level of color fastness. Mainly used in the digital printing of fabric, these are available in a variety of colors.


Dyes are a significant part of the textile industry. They offer print and color variations to the same quality of fabrics, thus facilitating the creation of beautiful prints on the fabrics. Some dyes which bind firmly to the fabric also give protection to the fabric.

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