Different fibers required different types of dyes. In India almost every corner of a local market you will find a dyer dying clothes mainly chunni a type of  long scarf worn with Indian ethnic dress salwar kameez. Most of the people who are not aware of textile colours depend on the local dyers. Mostly it is seen that the dyes are not fast that is comes out after few washes. This article is to educate about different types of dyes for different fabrics. Standard dyeing can be seen in any big textile industry where special dye managers and engineers take care of the dyeing process. There are various types of dyes like Acid, Azoic, Disperse, Vat etc. Dyes for wool that is a protein fiber and dyes for cotton that is a cellulose fiber or blends will be different. Dyeing can be done in the fiber stage, yarn stage , fabric stage or finished product stage depending on the necessity. The following table will give you clear information about Dyes for different fabrics and their characteristics.


ACID Wool, Silk, nylon, modified rayon, modified acrylic and polyester. Bright colour. 

Vary in light



May have poor fastness.

MORDANT Used on same fibers as listed for acid dyes. Good to excellent fastness and wash fastness. 

Duller than acid dyes.

CATONIC( BASIC ) Used on acrylics, modified polyester and nylon, direct prints on acetate, and discharge prints on cotton. Fast colours on acrylics. 

May bleed and crook on natural fibers.



DISPERSE Developed for acetate, used on most synthetic fibers. Fair to excellent light fastness and wash fastness.
AZOIC (Naphthol and Rapidogen) Cotton Bright shades. 

Good to excellent light fastness and wash fastness.


Poor crocking resistance.

REACTIVE OR FIBER-REACTIVE Used on both celluloses
& protein fiber like cotton, cellulose fibers, wool, silk and nylon.
Bright shades. 

Good lightfastness and wash fastness.

Sensitive to chlorine bleach.

SULFUR Primrily for heavy weight cotton. Most widely used black dye. Dull colours. 

Poor to excellent light fastness and wash fastness.


Sensitive to chlorine bleach.


May tender stored goods.

VAT Primarily for cotton work clothes, sportswear, prints, drapery fabrics. Some use on cotton/ polyester blends. Good to excellent light fastness and wash fastness.
NATURAL OR VEGETABLE Minor dye class.Used to dye some apparel and furnishings. Primarily used on natural fibers. Fastness varies.Limited colours and availability.
FLURESCENT BRIGHTENERS Used on textiles and in detergents.Used to achieve intensely bright colour. Mask yellowing and off-whiteness that occur naturally to develop with age and soil.