ATISH MUKHERJEE & ARUP MUKHERJEE
Natural dye has become very popular particularly in the foreign countries owing to their eco-friendliness and environ-friendliness. A few Indian traders are doing their export business exclusively on handloom products dyed with natural dyes considering the fact that the price of the products may not be affordable for common people of our country. To encourage common people of our country, therefore, the first and foremost target is to reduce the cost of product particularly in the handloom sectors. And to do so, a few factors are extremely important. The first factor is availability of the dye throughout the year. The second factor is the cost of the dye which should be within a reasonable limit. The third one is an easy as well as economic application for simultaneous cost reduction. The fourth factor is to impart the maximum possible fastness of the dyed product, even if necessary, by modification of the extremely fugitive dyes. After long research activities concerned to those problematic factors, successful results were obtained. An innovative technique in dye extraction and subsequent preservation1 in a dense liquid form overcame the first and second factors. The third problem was solved by using standing dyeing bath and mordanting bath containing metal salts in controlled doses2 to obtain high to low depths of self shade or mixed color shade without creating pollution. The fourth problem was solved by using eco-friendly organic compounds during manufacturing the dye from TURMERIC (Curcuma longa) to achieve a light fastness of 4 or more and a washing fastness of 3 or more as per international standard of export market. The life of the dye after manufacture and preservation was tested for more than two years. The cost varied from Rs.350 to Rs.650 per kilogram. The strength of the dense liquid dye was achieved up to 70-75%. Fastness of the above mentioned fugitive dye was achieved more than 4 for washing and more than 5 for light. The dye thus manufactured was applied on cotton yarn applying all necessary techniques and those dyed yarns were used for manufacturing handloom fabrics in some attractive designs of checks and stripes. The cost of the fabric including raw material was Rs.45 to 50 per meter which has become now affordable for all. The essence of this project is an achievement of cost reduction of readymade dye by about 70% and the cost of the fabric at least by 50%. Also this dye is having a life of two years, if not more, and is readily mixable even in cold water. The preservative and organic compounds used in the dye are all eco-friendly as well as environ-friendly for which the cotton fabric containing such dye will be hygienic and can be used for health care and baby care exclusively.
We all know that before the synthetic dyes were introduced about 175 years back, natural dye was the only colorant in the world. It is very painful and unfortunate that popularity of natural dye has not yet reached the common people mainly due to the reasons that still lag behind the standard of washing and light fastness required for day to day washing and drying. Though the dullness of natural dyes is its inherent elegance, but is not liked by a class of people. Hence only this reason is deemed as its drawback. Considering all these factors for the common customers of the country, the project was taken in the last year to develop the drawbacks by modification of a selected fugitive natural colorant. Natural dye product is very good for skin & it is used largely in Baby care, Health care, Medicare and now it has become an Aristocracy in fashion. Natural dye application is the best suitable for silk & wool but improvement in application on cotton is also a big target.
Most of the natural dyes have poor substantivity particularly towards cotton materials. This dye can be applied on cotton fabric better by padding method and on cotton yarn by exhaustion method with some techniques. As the former method is applicable in big industries only, it is always wise to dye cotton yarn in handloom sectors and to manufacture fabric thereof. Yarn dyeing has an advantage as any minor dyeing defect can be covered up during manufacture of fabric. It is also a fact that natural dyes can never be able to meet up the requirements for dyeing production in big industries as the production of this dye throughout the world is hardly 2% of the total dyes. Therefore, total concentration in this connection has been given on handloom sectors.
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