Natural Dyes –Green Tea Dyeing For Denim


Soorty product development

This is an article by Soorty Product Development Team

Color is what makes our nature so beautiful and we are inspired by them also want to paint our lives in their colorful palates. We are living in a age where most dyes  are manufactured synthetically and we can’t have any grouse  as they are physically and chemically superior to those naturally produced by our forefathers and  ,most importantly, they are cheaper.

But if we really study our dyes we would understand that most of them our inspired from naturally occurring dyes. Let’s have a look at the table below for instance:

Red Dyes

· Safflower .· Caseapina ,· Madder ,· Lac

Yellow Dyes

· Bogainvillea ,· Golden Rod ,· Teak ,· Marigold ,· Parijata ,· Kimbazi flower

Blue Dyes

· Indigo ,· Woad ,· Suntburry ,· Pivet ,· Water lily

Black dyes

· Lac ,· Alder ,· Rofblamala ,· Custard Apple ,· Harda

Brown Dyes

· Caesalpina ,· Bougainvillea ,· Balsam ,· Marigold  ,· BlackBerries

Green Dyes

· Tulsi ,· Bougainvillea ,· Canna ,· Lily ,· Nettles


· Dahlia,· Annato


Dyes from the natural sources have poor fastness properties. Natural dyes require mordant to fix them to the fabric and prevent color from fading. There are three types of mordants:

Metallic mordants

Metal salts of aluminum, chromium , iron copper and tin are used


Myrobalan and Sumuch are the commonly used tannins

Oil Mordants

Oil mordants are used mainly in the dyeing of turkey red color from madder. The main function of the oil mordant is to form a complex with alum used as the main mordant. The sulfonated oils, which possess better metal binding capacity than the natural oils due to the presence of sulfonic acid group, bind to metal ions forming a complex with the dye to give superior fastness and hue.

Innovative uses of Natural Dyes

Natural dyes are being used as photo sensitizer for titanium di oxide based dye sensitized solar cells. They are useful to create a new kind of solar cells which can revolutionize the solar cell industry.

Natural dyes are also used as an anti ultra violet light protector finish. This is preventing skin cancers. They are also being used in water filtration and purification.

Anti microbial Properties of Natural dyes

Soorty Tea Article

Textile materials and clothing are known to be vulnerable to microbial activity, as these provide large surface area and soak up moisture required for microbial augmentation .Natural fibers have protein (keratin) and cellulose, etc., which supply essential requirements such as moisture, oxygen, nutrients and temperature for bacteria development and multiplication. This often leads to objectionable odor, dermal infection, product deterioration, allergic responses and other related diseases. Some of the natural dyes also tend to show antimicrobial properties. Dyes derived from Acacia catechu, Quercus infectoria, Rubia cordifolia(madder) and Rumex maritimus show anti microbial activity. Soorty has collection by the name of “University Life”, which exhibits excellent anti microbial properties.

Natural dye in Rwanda’ by Atelier Rwanda

Soorty Tea Article

Natural dye in Rwanda’ by Atelier Rwanda is a research based project which explores the full cycle of natural dyeing in the context of contemporary textile production in Rwanda.. The project, led by the designers Eugenia Morpurgo and Maya Ben David, was based on collaboration with local basketry craftswoman, a class of tailors and a group of students from the Kist University of Kigali as part of a workshop which recently took place in Kigali.This project reflects the possibilities in dyeing  with natural dyes.

Natural Dye: Green tea

Soorty Tea Article

Mian Sajeel Sohail  from the Product development department of Soorty explains how they ventured in to developing a cast inspired by tea.

“We all are green tea addicts, specially myself. I come to office and first thing I want to have is my jasmine green tea. Once I accidently poured my tea over a denim leg which was on my table. The denim leg was sprayed with PP. I left my desk for a meeting and when I came back I noticed a slight yellowish-greenish tint. That made us curious and started a month long “Green tea” Spill marathon. I used to pour around 10 ml of tea on the same leg everyday for a month and result was quite astonishing”

Tea is a very complex compound and there are many parts of it which may contribute to the color of tea extract. A common tea contains:

Soorty Tea Article

– Flavones

– Amino Acids

– Enzymes

– Pigments

– Carbohydrates

– Minerals

Flavanols is a type of polyphenol and there are many kind of polyphenols in tea but Flavanols have always been area of great interest. Green tea has higher level of flavnoids as compared to black tea.


Figure 1Flavanol structure

The green yellowish hue is due to oxidation and methylation of Flavanol during tea processing. Even though the tint is temporary but we can increase the fixation by metal mordants.

Apart from color what benefits can dye extracts from tea can have:

Recycling of tea waste

– Deodorizing effect

– Non polluting effluents

– Bio degradable

– Non-azo

– Non toxic

This small experiment with tea has helped us to develop a new wash with tea stain cast. Efforts are on to further stabilize this look and we look forward to some great developments in this area.

Soorty Tea Article

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