Advantages and Disadvantages of Natural Dyes


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Natural dyes, as the name suggests, come from sources found in nature such as plants, animals, fruits, insects, and minerals. If you’re thinking about using natural dyes for your business, you need to weigh its pros and cons before you decide.

Below is an outline of the advantages and disadvantages of natural dyes that you need to look into before deciding to use them for your operations.


Advantages of Natural Dyes

  • Minimal Environmental Impact – Because they come from natural sources, natural dyes are not harmful to the environment, which makes it so appealing for consumers. Natural dyes are biodegradable and disposing them don’t cause pollution.
  • Renewable – Natural dyes are obtained from renewable sources that can be harnessed without imposing harm to the environment.
  • Color pay-off – If you’re going for a soft hue or soothing shade, natural dyes can help you achieve that look.
  • Safe – Some natural dyes, such as carmine found in lipsticks, will not cause harm or health problems when ingested.


Disadvantages of Natural Dyes

  • Cost – A larger amount of natural dyes may be needed in order to dye a specific amount of fabric as opposed to synthetic dyes. For instance, one pound of cotton may be dyed with just five grams of synthetic dye, whereas 230 grams of natural dye are needed to dye the same amount of material. Since that is the case, using natural dyes is more expensive than synthetic dyes.
  • Color pay-off – Color pay-off from natural dyes tend to fade quickly. More so, quality may not be as consistent than what synthetic dyes can deliver.
  • Availability – Another issue with natural dyes is their availability. It can be difficult to produce because the     availability of raw materials can vary from season to season, place, and species, whereas synthetic dyes can be produced in laboratories all year round.
  • Harmful Effects – Natural dyes can also be harmful to some extent. Logwood has ingredients, hematein and hematoxylin, that can be have harmful effects when inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin. Bloodroot, another natural dye source, can cause irritation and inflammation when inhaled. More so, natural dyes may need mordants for application. While these substances help the dye stick to fabrics, they can also be toxic. Example of mordants used in natural dyes are aluminum, copper, iron, and chrome.
  • Sustainability – While natural dye sources are renewable, sustainability can still be an issue for natural dyes because producing them require vast areas of land.


Is Using Natural Dyes the Right Solution for your Business?

Just like all things, using natural dyes has advantages and disadvantages. The right decision between choosing to use them for your business or not will depend on a lot of factors, most of which has to do with your needs and goals.

Consider its impact on the environment. Natural dyes have lesser environmental impact compared to synthetic dyes. However, you also need to factor in the cost and sustainability. Can natural dyes meet your needs in terms of production volume?

If you’re looking for a way to use dyes that adheres to your budget and doesn’t cause too much harm on the environment, consider working with KeyColour. KeyColour is a manufacturer of eco-friendly industrial dyes at reasonable prices. If you want to know more about our products and how we can help you, please get in touch with us. Meanwhile, if you want to learn more about dyes in general, visit our blog section.

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