Safety Tips for Handling and Disposing Dyes

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Using dyes is a cost-effective way to bring new color to your textile and other business materials without having to spend for new ones. If you’re in an industry where mats, curtains, sheets, napkins, uniforms and other similar items are used, dyeing can save you a considerable amount of money on your overhead costs.

However, using dyes for your business is not simply calling up a dye manufacturer, ordering supplies, and asking your staff to re-dye your linens, textile, or any business materials. Administering dyes to your supplies needs to be done with caution and should adhere to safety measures in order to avoid harm on people and the environment.

If you are planning to work with dyes, here are general safety tips when it comes to handling and disposing them.



1. Consider the Type of Dye Product.

There are different types of dyes that can be used in textile, and they have varying purposes.

Typically, these dyes are classified into what type of materials they are going to be used for. However, they also differ in chemical content, and you need to be familiar with the different substances preset in the dye in order to handle and process them safely.

Typically, the specific ingredients of a dye product are printed on the label. If you can’t find it, get in touch with the dye manufacturer to know the active substances that are present in their product. You can also try doing your research on the Internet, but it’s best to clarify any information you gathered with the manufacturer.

More so, knowing the right type of dye to use enables you to know how to properly handle the product and what safety gear you need to wear while you’re working with it.

2. Wear the Right Type of Gloves.

When handling dye products, make sure that they don’t get in contact with your skin, especially your hands. Wear gloves when mixing dye solutions or hand painting items that you want to re-color.

The right type of gloves to wear depends on the process you’re working on. For instance, if you’re adding substances to dye baths such as salt, latex or nitrile gloves are typically recommended. Meanwhile, if you’re working on hot dye baths, you need to wear thermal gloves or use hot mitts when handling hot tools. In case you need to soak your materials, textiles, or fibers, long gloves may be necessary to protect your hands and arms.

3. Wear the Right Type of Mask.

When you are exposed to dying materials, you may inhale substances that may be harmful to your lungs and overall health. Make sure that you have a mask on when you’re handling dyes in powder form or when you’re simmering dye baths. Vapors can result to irritation especially if there’s an acid component present in the dye.

Just like with wearing gloves, the right mask to wear will depend on the type of dye materials you’re working with or the tasks that you’re trying to complete. You can check with your dye supplier about the right type of mask to wear. Typically, particle filter masks are recommended for people handling powdered dyes, while dual cartridge respirator masks are advised for people working with dye processing that involves acids.

4. Know When to Inhibit Air Movement and Allow Proper Ventilation

Depending on which step of the dying process you are in, you may need to inhibit air movement or allow ventilation in your work area. You need to know when to do either of them, so that you can prevent dye substances from getting in contact with your body and avoid the harm that they may cause.

If you’re in the process of mixing dye powders, make sure to inhibit air movement in your work area so that particles will not be airborne and will not come in contact with your skin or lungs.

Turn off the fans and close the windows to prevent air from circulating. At the same time, you can spread damp paper towels on your workspace to trap any loose dye particles. You can also contain loose particles by creating a mixing box that’s lined with moist paper.

Meanwhile, if you’re processing your dyes or simmering them, your work area needs to have proper ventilation. At this point, you can now turn on the vent fans and open the windows so that air can circulate properly.

5. Protect your Eyes.

Always wear safety glasses to prevent dye particles and substances from getting in contact with your eyes, and avoid any form of irritation that may result from it.

6. Process your Dyes away from Food.

Never prepare meals, eat, or drink in the same room where you are processing dyes. When dye products get in contact with your food and beverage, you can accidentally ingest them. This can result to poisoning and other health hazards.

If you need to eat or drink in between dye processes, make sure to do so in a different area. Also, make sure that your hands are clean and that there are no traces of dye chemicals on your fingers before handling food.



7. Label your Dyes Accordingly.

Whether your storing dyes that are used or not, it’s imperative that you label them the right way. If it’s an unopened product, indicate the date when it was purchased. Meanwhile if it’s opened or mixed, include the purchase date as well as the date it was mixed.

Proper labeling of dyes keeps you organized and avoids any form of confusion, especially if you’re working with a huge staff.

8. Store them in an Appropriate Area.

Dye materials should be stored in a cool and dry place. More so, they should be kept in a space where children cannot reach them and direct sunlight cannot seep through. Make sure that all containers are airtight, and replace lids tightly after using dye powders and other chemicals.



9. Neutralize your Dyes Before Disposal.

Make sure that the pH level of your dye residue is neutral before you dispose them. How to neutralize your dyes will depend on how acidic they are. For instance, fiber-reactive dyes need citric acid crystals to be neutralized, while acid dye baths require baking soda to reach a safe pH level. To be sure, always use pH test papers on your dyes before disposing them.

10. Check the Labels for Disposal Instructions.

Manufacturers should give you instructions on how to dispose any form of dye residue. Can you put them down the drain? Do they need plenty of water when draining? Do you need to place them in jugs and wait for them to be collected on community cleanup days?

If you’re unsure, you can always get in touch with your supplier to know how you can dispose your dye without causing harm to the environment.


Using dyes is a cost-effective business practice. But when it’s not properly done, it may cause more harm than good. So keep these ten tips in mind and let dyes work to your advantage minus the drawbacks it may cause to your staff and the environment.

If you’re planning on using dyes for your business, you can begin your shopping with KeyColour. KeyColour offers different dye products for different needs, all of which are eco-friendly and easy to apply. Please get in touch with us to know more.

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