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BOTANICAL COLOURS The benefits of natural dye

Updated: Mar 3, 2022

Nowadays, people tend to be more aware of alternatives about textile production. It is the second largest polluting industry in the world. Indeed, clothing consumption produces huge amount of CO² and use the water in a excessive manner. However, to offset these impacts on the environment, alternatives are highlighted such as the natural (or vegetable) dye.

What it is ?

Natural dyes are dyes derived from plants (roots, stems, leaves, flowers), insects, minerals or organic sources. Before the arrival of synthetic dyes in the middle of the 19th century, natural dyes were used everywhere in the world. In fact, we have proof of its existence from ancient civilizations (India, China and Egypt for instance).

A dye is a colored substance that has an affinity for the substrate to which it is applied in. Some plants may have more than one colour depending on which part of the plant that is used for extraction. Dyes must be applied on textile with the help of mordant to improve the fastness of the dye on the fibre except for few particular plants such as indigo and tannin plants for instance.

The differences between natural and synthetic dye

  • Natural dyes are biodegradable and eco-friendly compared to synthetic dyes.

  • Synthetic dyes have carcinogenic properties, can cause health problems, respiratory diseases, irritations and the list is long. Actually, these chemicals don’t vanish themselves that way but still remain on clothes which are in direct contact on the skin.

  • These synthetic dyes have also an impact on the environment. Indeed, the clothing industry is now consuming tons of water and thousands of different chemicals, part of them very toxic, are used and most of the time, the dirty water is thrown in the nature.

On the contrary, natural dyes respect and follow rules of nature. But at some point, human beings needed to produce fast, cheap products in a large scale and nature was not able to provide this kind of production.

The benefits of natural dye

  • Firstly, because they come from natural sources, from plants, insects, minerals, they are not harmful for the environment.

  • Natural dyes are renewable because they are obtained from renewable sources.

  • Natural dyes can provide you hue you have been looking for in your entire life. Soft colours or special ones can be done with natural dyes. Besides, each plant has different colour pigments and every colour goes along with others compared to synthetic dyes.

  • The majority of natural dyes are not harmful for people, for their skin or can not cause health problems as there is no use of toxic or chemical elements.

  • Many natural dyes have antimicrobial properties. They can be easily used to replace synthetic dyes for kids garment.

  • People with allergy find more their interest in clothes made with natural dyeing because of the toxic components of synthetic clothes.

How dangerous are the synthetic clothes?

Chemicals, toxic dyes and pesticides are used in clothes and are in direct contact with our skin as they don’t vanish that way. Elements that are forbidden are generally used and can provoke cancer, asthma, allergies. With natural dyes, you can keep your skin and your health safe !

We hope that all these elements have raise awareness to you. We deeply encourage alternatives to protect the environment that is a lot suffering and to the use of natural dyes. Natural dyes can be a good initiative but it is not without a cost. It involves taking care of your fabrics and clothes even more. For instance, natural dyed clothes last longer if they are washed with ecological washing powder.

One of the distinctive characteristic proving that dyes are natural is that the color will change over time losing little by little its colour shades. But, does that not also happen with synthetic clothes ?

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