How Natural Indigo Dye Is CreatedSandeep Agarwal
Many plants have been identified as potentially rich in natural dye content and some of them have been used for natural dyeing for quite some time. Normally natural dyes are extracted from roots, stems, leaves , flowers and fruit of various plants. In living Indigo plant form , indigo exists as a colourless substance comprised of sugars and indoxyl. Indigo’s seed treatments contain microbes that live within plant tissue, unlike existing microbial seed treatments that contain microbes that live around the roots. Indigo plants are harvested and soaked , and through fermentation, formed the blue pigment called INDIGO.Highest yield of indigo dye was obtained from using 2.0 sodium hydroxide solution.
The knowledge of extracting blue colour from green leaves of indigo was closely guarded within the family and passed on to the next generation.Since Indus Valley Civilization , India has been the forerunner in dyeing and printing techniques.Due to this reason, other parts of the world were still devoid of this knowledge.
Origin of Blue Colour
The process of extracting blue colour from green leaves of indigo plant is magical and unique. It involves steps, to be carried out with great timing. The indigo pigment gets detached from gulucose as the leaves are soaked in water and fermented. The leaves are taken out , leaving indigo white in the water, which when exposed to air gives out the blue colour. This blue colour of indigo remains hidden until the leaf of indigo plant is fermented. After the water is whisked properly, the blue colour settles down forming watery clay. This sludge is then heated or sundried to be made in to cakes.
The indigo seed is sown about the end of February or beginning of March, it germinate in the course of four to five days and at the middle of June. The plant can obtained a height between 3 and 5 feet and has a stem of about a quarter of an inch in diameter as the plant grows. The colouring principle gradually increases until it reaches a maximum about the end of August.
Indigo is the primary colour of blue jeans, it is an important dyestuff with unique shade of blue color. The dye gives a brilliant and eye catching blue clor to the fabric.Indigo has a low affinity for cotton, therefore deep blue dyeing are only possible when an oxidation is done several times. The color penetrates the yarn, and imparts the surface blue color. The dye then fades from the surface of the fabric naturally.
Indigo has a number of properties which have in this combination not yet achieved by other single dyestuffs.
- Pleasant colour shade.
- Possibilty to achieve by simple repeated dipping, deep mrine blue shade.
- Possibility to dye cotton in cold dye bath.
- Competitive in price