Water Based Dyes

Water Based Dyes, Water Soluble Dye


Abbey Color is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of water-based dyes (or water-soluble dyes). Water-soluble dyes and colorants fall into several categories, some of which are listed below with information about their uses and characteristics.

Acid Dyes


Initially used to dye natural fibers such as cotton, wool, paper and straw. Other applications include coloring of food and drink, drugs, cosmetics, insecticides, fertilizers, wood stains, varnishes, inks and cleaning solutions. Acid dyes are anionic in nature and therefore have affinity for cationic bonding sites.

Basic Dyes


Due to poor light fastness on natural fibers, synthetic fibers such as acrylics are the basic dye application in textiles. Basic dyes are typically brilliant in color. Their charge in aqueous solutions is cationic. Other uses for basic dyes are paper where light fastness is not an issue and “topping” in the leather industry.

Direct Dyes


This group of anionic dyes is used to dye natural fibers in the textile industry. Typically direct dyes can be applied in either neutral or slightly alkaline baths at or near the boil. Paper and the leather industry are also areas where these dyes are used extensively. There are a few dyes of this classification used in other applications such as for coloring soap solutions and to manufacture biological stains.

Disperse Dyes


Technically, these dyes do not dissolve in water but are dispersions in aqueous solutions. The particle size is such that they appear to dissolve. The dyes are made to include dispersing agents to keep the particles in solution. This class of dyes is used to dye nylon, triacetate, polyesters and acrylics. Additional applications of the dyes are the surface dying of selected thermoplastics.

Natural Dyes


Logwood is still the most widely used natural dye, used extensively in the silk suture industry as hematine and as hematoxylin in the biological stain applications.

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