Pro's Corner

A Beginner's Guide to Dyeing: Key Definitions You Need to Know

This article provides a comprehensive guide to different dye definitions used in the textile industry. It covers basic dyes, deep dyes, delustered fibers, developed dyes, direct dyes, disperse dyes, and other dye-related terms such as dye beck, dye blocker, dye lot, and dye penetration. Whether you are a textile professional or just someone interested in the world of dyes, this article is a valuable resource for understanding the terminology used in the dyeing process.

Basic Dye: A class of positive ion carrying dyes known for their brilliant hues. Basic dyes are composed of large molecule, water soluble salts that have a direct affinity for wool and silk and can be applied to cotton with a mordant. The fastness of basic dyes on these fibers is very poor. Basic dyes are also used on basic-dyeable acrylics, modacrylics, nylons, and polyesters, on which they exhibit reasonably good fastness. - See dyes. 

Deep Dye: Modified synthetic fibers with increased dye affinity relative to regular dye fibers. By combining deep dye fibers with regular dye fibers, a two color effect can be achieved within one dye bath. 

Deep Dying Variants: Polymers that have been chemically modified to increase their dyeability. Fibers and fabrics made therefrom can be dyed to a very heavy dept. 

Delustered Fiber (Yarns): Subduing or dulling the natural luster of synthetic fibers (primarily) by the addition of pigment (titanium dioxide), or by physical means. Fiber producers designations include dull, semi-dull, and semi-bright, whereas bright fibers are non-delustered. Synthetic fibers in which brightness or reflectivity is reduced, usually by incorporation of a fraction of a percent to white pigment such as titanium dioxide

Developed Dyes: Dyes that are formed by the use of a developer. The substrate is first dyed in a neutral solution with a dye base, usually colorless. The dye is then diazotized with sodium nitrite and an acid and afterwards treated with a solution of - naphthol, or a similar substance, which is the developer. Direct dyes are developed to produce a different shade or to improve washfastness and lightfastness. 

Direct Dyes: A class of dyestuffs that are applied directly to the substrate in a neutral or alkaline bath. They produce full shades on cotton and linen without mordanting and can be applied to rayon, silk, and wool.  Direct dyes give bright shades but exhibit poor washfastness. Various aftertreatments are used to improve the washfastness of direct dyes, and such dyes are referred to as after treated direct colors. 

Disperse Dye:  1. An organic dye originally used for acetate. There is a wide use of organic dyeing in nylon, acrylic, and polyester carpet fibers. Disperse dyes are not soluble in water (like pigment), they are supplied in a finely ground form that will disperse in water.  Disperse dyes are held onto fiber surfaces by friction and strong electrical forces and, for the most part, are unaffected by cleaning and many color removing agents. 2. A class of slightly water-soluble dyes originally introduced for dyeing acetate and applied from fine aqueous suspensions. Disperse dyes are widely used for dyeing most of the manufactured fibers. 

Doctor Blade: A metal knife that cleans or scrapes the excess dye from engraved printing rollers, leaving dye paste only in the valleys of engraved areas. Also used to describe other blades that are used to apply materials evenly to rollers or fabrics. 

Doctor Streak: A defect in printed fabrics consisting of a wavy white or colored streak in the warp direction.  It is caused by a damaged or improperly set doctor blade on the printing machine. 

Dye: A soluble, color absorbing/reflecting material. Dyes differ in: their resistance to sunlight, perspiration, cleaning agents, atmospheric gases; their solubility; their affinity for differing fibers; and their method of application. 

Dye Beck: A large vat for piece dyeing carpet by immersion in aqueous solutions of dyes and chemicals. Fitted with a reel for circulating carpet in and out of the dye liquor, inlets for steam and water, drains, and temperature controls. 

Dye Blocker: Napthalated phenol compounds that block dye sites on nylon fibers to prevent staining by acid dyes. 

Dye Fleck: 1.  An imperfection in fabric caused by residual undissolved dye. 2. A defect caused by small sections of undrawn thermoplastic yarn that dye deeper than the drawn yarn. 

Dye Level Defects: Uneven application of dyes across a 12 foot width. 

Dye Lot: A quantity of carpet dyed at one time or made from yarn dyed at one time which is consistent in color throughout the fabric.

Dye Penetration: The ability of dyestuffs to color yarns completely and uniformly from tip to base. Problems with dye penetration are normally associated with print or continuous dyeing techniques. In this situation, yarn ends will be white or much lighter in color at their bases than on their tips. It may be caused by improper pressure on screens during printing, or on too light a dye application during continuous dyeing.  Usually samples are required for testing to determine dye penetration. 

Dye Range: A broad term referring to the collection of dye and chemical baths, drying equipment, etc., in a continuous dyeing line. 

Dye Site: An irregular, electrically charged area on the surface of a fiber which has an affinity for dye. 

Dye Spots: Spots found randomly throughout a carpet immediately after carpet installation, that are caused by heavier than normal application of dyes in a fairly localized area. Usually spots that appear after carpet installation are from other sources unrelated to manufacture. 

Dye Streak: Relatively long, narrow variations in color running in a lengthwise direction and usually associated with continuous dyeing.  Dye streaks may be caused by defective or partially blocked applicator jets, something rubbing over the carpet during continuous dyeing, or even creases or folds in the carpet during continuous dyeing or rope beck dyeing (length or diagonal streaks). 
dye variant fibers - See differential dyeing. 

Dyeing: The process of coloring materials’ impregnating fabric with dyestuffs. 1. Solution Dyed - Synthetic yarn which is extruded from a colored solution; the filament is thus impregnated with the pigment. 2. Stock Dyed  -  Fibers are dyed before spinning. 3. Yarn (or skein) Dyed - Yarn dyed before being fabricated into carpet. 4. Piece or Beck Dyeing - Carpet dyed “in a piece” after tufting but before other finishing processes such as latexing or foaming. 5. Cross Dyeing - Method of dyeing fabrics with dyestuffs which have different affinities for different types of yarns. 6. Space Dyeing - Process whereby colors are “printed” along the length of yarn before it is manufactured into carpet. 7. Continuous Dyeing - The process of dyeing carpet in a continuous production line, rather than piece dyeing separate lots.  Most often done on continuous dyeing equipment which flows on dyestuffs, as distinguished from submerging carpet in separate dye becks. 

Dyeing Auxiliaries: Various substances that can be added to the dyebath to aide dyeing.  They may be necessary to transfer the dye from the bath to the fiber or they may provide improvements in leveling, penetration, etc.  Also called dyeing assistants. 

Dyes: Substances that add color to textiles. They are incorporated into the fiber by chemical reaction, absorption, or dispersion. Dyes differ in their resistance to sunlight, perspiration, washing, gas, alkalies, and other agents; their affinity for different fibers; their reaction to cleaning agents and methods and their solubility and method of application. Various classes and types are listed below. 

Dyestuff: A highly colored substance capable of permanent physical or chemical attachment to textile fibers; coloration of fibers occurs upon attachment of small quantities. Most dyes are applied from water solutions or dispersions. 1. An individual warp yarn in woven fabric. 2. An individual pile yarn in tufted carpet. 3. A roll end or short length of carpet; or a remnant. Most dyestuffs are applied from water based solutions. 4. The substance which adds color to textiles by absorption into the fiber or by chemical attachment. 

-Scott Warrington

carpet coloring


Where the professionals go to learn about:

  • lead and asbestos abatement
  • professional cleaning
  • mold, fire, and water restoration
  • concrete surface preparation
  • business management

Subscribe to Blog

Recent Posts