Indigos and Why They Bleed:
Considered the king of blues, Indigo has a very rich and intense feel to it. It is extensively used at the industrial level to dye fabrics. Both traditional and contemporary outfits can be seen with indigo colors or indigo block prints. The specialty of this color is that it is absolutely capable of lending a modish versatility to the cloth while at the same time keeping it sublime.
Back in the 1800s, indigo was obtained naturally from a plant called Indigofera. The leaves of it were fermented in water to obtain a natural indigo dye but now such natural process and color are rare. A maximum of manufacturers have switched to synthetic indigo dyes. The process of dying the indigo fabric is as follows:
The Art of Indigo Dyeing: From Soaking to Colour Intensification
- The fabric which is supposed to be dyed is washed properly.
It is left soaked in water to improve its color penetration capacity.
- The indigo stock solution is prepared, either naturally
through fermentation or by mixing the synthetic powder into water. Note: Both
the natural and synthetic ways of preparing the indigo dye are detailed and
require precision plus practice.
- Finally, when the solution is prepared, the cloth is dipped
into it. Remember, indigo color always works by oxidation. The color that is
seen while taking out the dipped fabric is totally different from the final
The fabric is hung for drying and gradually during this time, the indigo color intensifies.
The Beauty and Challenge of Colorfastness in Indigo Fabrics
Indigo block prints or indigo-colored fabrics have always been a favorite of people since the time they were discovered. But along with the demand, there is a concern commonly heard by people; “ indigo fabrics bleed or fade a lot.” Do you know why it happens? Well, primarily the reason is this while dying the fabric into an indigo color; the colors fail to form any chemical bond with the fabric.
As a result, it becomes insoluble again while putting it into the water for washing. When you put it for drying, there is a reaction with air due to which the color tends to accumulate at tiny places within the fibers. With the passage of time, the rubbing of the cloth causes the indigo color to fade off and the appearance of white lines.
Indigo fabrics have attracted people with their rich and timeless attractiveness, but there is a recurring concern: indigo fabrics bleed or fade dramatically. This occurs because indigo fails to create a chemical link with the fabric during the dyeing process, rendering it insoluble when exposed to water during washing.
The indigo color accumulates in microscopic pockets inside the fibers as the fabric dries due to a reaction with the air. These pockets release the collected indigo over time and with friction from wear and washing, resulting in the formation of white lines and a faded appearance.
The beauty of indigo fabrics resides in their rich, enticing shade, but keeping their colorfastness necessitates proper maintenance. Gentle washing and avoiding excessive rubbing can help retain the brilliant blue color, allowing you to enjoy these timeless textiles for many years.