Saving Water

In manufacturing, especially in textile dyeing, it is essential to save energy, reduce waste, and conserve resources such as water wherever possible.  To this end, those in manufacturing are always looking for new ways to accomplish these tasks and appropriate these resources.  We as consumers are often guilty of focusing solely on conserving energy, and tend to forget that water is a valued resource that needs to be conserved as well.  Although you may not realize it, our homes and lifestyles can be huge gluttons for water.  Why should we be saving water?

There are several benefits to saving water including: reducing cost and reducing the consumption of this natural resource.  Every gallon of water comes with upfront costs associated with provision, transport, packing (whether piped in or bottled), any pre-treatment (especially for drinking water), etc.  But there are also backend costs that aren’t usually considered during use: sewage treatment, wastewater treatment; both energy intensive processes that consume manhours, electricity, and chemicals.  Not only does reducing consumption save money for everyone involved in the water’s lifecycle pipeline, it also reduces the amount of water being removed from the environment.  Conserving available water resources can be critical to a community (human or animal), especially in areas affected by drought conditions and contaminated water.

Saving Water

No matter where you live, there are several things that can be done in our daily usage to reduce waste and cost by saving water.

  1. Investigate your household plumbing
    1. When possible, upgrade toilets to energy efficient, low volume models
    2. Frequently check for leaks on hoses, faucets, and under-cabinet piping, repair ASAP
    3. Repair running toilets immediately
  2. Upgrade appliances
    1. Use energy efficient dishwashers and washing machines
    2. Use high efficiency detergents that require less water for activation
  3. Only water the essentials in your yard, it’s okay if your grass is slightly less green some days
    1. Collect and re-use rain water where you can for gardens and flower beds
      1. Really great to set up collection drums, basins below gutters
    2. Conserve sprinkler use on lawns
  4. Try to limit car washes
    1. Store vehicles in covered areas, or just wash less frequently
  5. Never let the water run
    1. To wash dishes, it’s always best to fill the sink instead of just running water
    2. Try running sinks at lower pressures when pressure isn’t required
    3. Leave sinks off when not in use while brushing teeth, etc.
  6. Recycle old water (from bottles) to water plants, etc. instead of pouring down the drain
  7. Thoroughly clean and treat poolwater to reduce pool refills (whether in or above ground)
  8. Take shorter showers or use fewer shower heads

Just a few thoughts on saving water in the home!

Posted in Featured News

What’s behind the badge?

I am not talking about the police officer, the soldier or the firefighter. I am talking about what is right behind the badge or more accurately what is holding the badge: the uniform.

We all have different feelings when it comes to uniforms: feelings of disgusts due to a strong smell of French fries because of a summer working at a fast-food restaurant, feelings of relief watching the firetruck pulling in the driveway to save someone dear, a feeling of panic being over the speed limit and passing a police car. But the uniform is not there only to make the person easily recognized, it is also to protect that person from the danger they might face during his or her duties.

Uniforms are not made of a simple heavy cotton weave fabric anymore.  Now each uniform is engineered in an equation to perform its final use. Let’s look at a couple of examples that will illustrate the long way uniforms have come through the years.

Everybody’s favorite uniform is the firefighter uniform. So let’s take a closer look at what they are wearing and what technologies are involved in trying to make their job easier and more comfortable.

Firefighters

First, they need to be protected from fire and heat so their coat and pants have a flame retardant coating that will prevent a fire from burning them. But that coating needs to be breathable to wick sweat from the skin into the air to allow cooling and avoid heat stroke. The coat and pants also need to be water repellent in order for them to stay dry while fighting fire or saving a life on the highway. The coat has to be functional (pockets and other accessories to carry heavy equipment easily) but as light as possible in order not to impair movements.

Army-MP

Another favorite is the military. When soldiers are deployed, they need to have the best of all technologies from drones to tanks but let’s not forget their uniform. The printed pattern is already a master of engineering to camouflage them in every circumstance.  Like firefighters, uniforms are fire retardant, water repellent, breathable and comfortable. But recently, a lot of work has been done to provide soldiers with uniforms that are treated with health and environmentally friendly chemistries. The fire retardants are already bromine free while the water repellents are in a transition phase from PFOAs to Fluorine-Free. In order to improve comfort, carbon fibers are used in other types of equipment to provide light weight and strength.

Once again, an example of how textile chemistry can improve daily activities. Engineered fabrics are constantly being developed and these professions are leaders in such development. The military is often the first to benefit from these new technologies but they are then passed down to the outdoor/sports industry and later on in the apparel industry for all of us to enjoy!

So here is another reason to thank all the soldiers and service men and women who protect us every day!

Posted in Green Chemistry, Specialty Chemicals, Textile Chemicals, Textiles Tagged , ,

Antimicrobial Activewear – What is the real Purpose?

Introduction
An antimicrobial inhibits the growth of or even kills micro-organisms such as bacteria.  There are many different types: in the medical field you may hear of antibiotics treating bacterial infections or antifungals treating fungus; disinfectants and antiseptics are also two types.  But how can you apply them to the textile industry?  A synthetic chemical agent can be used as a textile finish to provide antimicrobial properties to the fabric.  This brings us to Antimicrobial Activewear.  What does the antimicrobial actually do by preventing the growth of microbes?  It eliminates odors!  The question is: Do we really care about microbes in our activewear, or are we just fighting the odor by eliminating the source?

So what causes the microbes to appear?  When we work out and sweat, natural oils from our skin can get into the fabric.  These oils breed bacteria which create the odor we smell, especially on synthetic fabrics such as polyesters and blends.  Name brands such as: NIKE®, Reebok®, and UnderArmour®, all use antimicrobial chemistries in a lot of their products to keep activewear fresh and odor-free longer.  Don’t be confused though; not all activewear uses these chemistries.

Antimicrobial

(a) Microbe meets Chemistry, (b) Chemistry captures Microbe, (c) Water finds trapped Microbe, (d) Microbe is flushed out, (e) Antimicrobial remains ready for next time

Antimicrobial Chemistry
How does it work?  There are several chemistries available but the most commonly used are the 3 following.  Cyclodextrin acts like a bucket that traps smells until they can be released or flushed when doing laundry.  Silver type antimicrobial like NICCA’s KIRAKURU RB-47 acts on the bacteria walls, intracellular and nuclear membranes, to cause structural changes that will lead to the death of the bacteria. While quaternary silane type antimicrobial like NICCA’s KIRAKURU RB-14 will puncture the wall of the bacteria and cause the bacteria to die.

It’s important that the chemistry have a durable finish that will last after numerous laundries.  This is especially true for antimicrobials that would be placed on activewear which will be washed after use and worn frequently.

What is the purpose of antimicrobials?  I think we can all agree that it is to fight odors.  If microbes had no scent, would we even notice them?  Maybe not.

Posted in Specialty Chemicals Tagged ,

Activewear – More Complex than You Expect!

About a decade ago when people were asked about textile, they were thinking about white cotton t-shirts or their favorite pair of jeans. No functionality, simply interlaces of yarns. But now if you ask the same people, you will hear words like wicking, moisture control, durable water repellent, anti-odor and maybe flame retardant depending on the industry they are thinking about. Consumers are now much more educated on the additional value that complex finishes can bring to their garments and therefore they are much more involved in their purchases of textile.

A very good example of that trend is the boom in sales of activewear. Do we all go to the gym or do any type of physical activity? Probably not! However, we all own activewear. The video below is going viral on the web because it makes fun of that trend. We all wear these highly engineered products the same as we wore a pair of jeans not so long ago.

But why do we like activewear so much? The main reason is comfort.

Comfort is very difficult to test so the textile industry has come up with many different indicators to quantify it: the level of moisture on the skin, the temperature of the skin, the softness of the garment and so on.

The chemical industry has developed complex finishes that will provide to the customer that high level of comfort. Wicking agents will help the fabric to bring moisture from the skin through the garment in order to remove any excess of sweat. The rate of that phenomenon has to be well controlled so the natural sweat mechanism will still take place and cool down the person wearing the garment. Durable water repellent treatments are also key for comfort. Outdoor gear needs to keep the rain water from penetrating jackets or running shirts but it has to let sweat come through. This is called breath-ability. And these performance characteristics need to last throughout the life of the garment. Another challenge for the Textile Industry.

But comfort is also about how we feel when we are wearing the clothes. Look is very important in our Society. So the garments need to keep that look the consumer likes and made him/her buy that particular piece of clothing. For that purpose, additional types of fabrics and fibers have been engineered. Blends of synthetics and natural fibers to take advantage of the properties of both and spandex to improve stretch.  But the chemical industry is also playing a very important role in that quest for the perfect fabric by developing anti-crease, anti-abrasion, anti-odor and anti-microbial agents. All these finishes will help the fabrics keep its shape, its clean aspect and smell nice for the consumer to be comfortable in the garment all day long whatever activity she or he is doing!

Posted in Specialty Chemicals Tagged , ,

Choices for Third Party Textile Environmental Certification

There are many third party textile environmental certifications available. Since each requires significant costs to become certified, your company can’t afford to certify in all of them. The question then becomes, which certification to use? Sometimes the answer is easy. You use the one your major customers require you to have. There may other factors to consider when choosing a particular certification. Below is a summary of some of the most commonly used textile environmental certifications.

 

bluesign® standard      bluesign-system-partner-logo

The bluesign® standard brings together the entire textile manufacturing chain to jointly reduce the ecological footprint of a responsibly acting textile industry. Instead of focusing on finished product testing, the bluesign® standard analyzes all input streams, including the chemical components of raw materials, safety, and resource conservation, using a sophisticated “Input Stream Management” process verified by on-site audits.

 

 

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)    GOTS

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) was developed with the aim to unify the various existing standards and draft standards in the field of ecological textile processing and to define world-wide recognized requirements that ensure the organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally friendly products.

 

 

Oeko-Tex Standards     Oeko-Tex

The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 is a globally uniform testing and certification system for textile raw materials, intermediate and end products at all stages of production.
The certification covers multiple human-ecological attributes, including harmful substances which are prohibited or regulated by law, and chemicals which are known to be harmful to health, but are not officially forbidden.

Along with the product related Oeko-Tex Standard 100, the Oeko-Tex Standard 1000 is a testing, auditing and certification system for environmentally-friendly production sites throughout the textile processing chain. To qualify for certification according to the Oeko-Tex Standard 1000, companies must meet stipulated criteria in terms of their environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.

 

 

ISO 14000 standards     ISO 14000

Many businesses are already ISO 9000 Quality Standards Certified. Along the same format, the ISO 14000 is a series of environmental management standards developed and published by the International Organization for Standardization ( ISO ) for organizations. The ISO 14000 standards provide a guideline for organizations to systematize their environmental management efforts.

 

 

SMaRT Sustainable Products Standard    SMaRT

SMaRT Sustainable Products Standard is based on transparency, using consensus based metrics and life-cycle analysis. It also has in place rules which prevent industry trade association dominance. SMaRT main components include sustainability, energy conservation, and renewable energy.

 

 

Cradle to Cradle (C2C)     C2C

Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certifies that the product uses environmentally safe and healthy materials; however, the list of chemicals considered safe is proprietary. Therefore, C2C is not transparent and only certifies the product. Energy, water and social responsibility are also components of C2C.

 

 

GreenGuard      GreenGuard

GreenGuard is not designed specifically for textiles, but it is often used for textile product  certification. GreenGuard has developed proprietary indoor air quality pollutant guidelines based on government and industrial recommendations. Those products that pay the testing fee and pass the tests can become GreenGuard certified. GreenGuard was began as the for profit Air Quality Sciences (AQS). They are now a separate not for profit organization.

 

… and the winner is?

The NICCA group worldwide has chosen bluesign® as our third party environmental certification. Your business should to do a cost benefit analysis to determine which certification is best for your company. Many of the large name brand textile apparel retailers have adopted bluesign®. This has created an incentive, and sometimes requirement, for downstream textile suppliers to also adopt bluesign®.

Posted in Specialty Chemicals

Have you heard about “Wearables”?

The answer is most likely “YES”. But what are they exactly? What as a consumer should we expect when we hear, read or want to purchase a “wearable” product? From a semantic point of view, they are products that can be worn. From a wider angle, it is expected that the products will have some sort of monitoring functions. So watches that count steps and calories burned or measure heart rate – are they “wearables”? This is one of the questions that the Textile Industry is currently trying to answer to provide standardized test methods and a clear definition to manufacturers of textile products with embedded technology.

 

First, is the term “wearables” too narrow? The Textile Industry is of course producing a lot of articles that are able to be worn, the garments. But more and more textiles are used to manufacture end-products that will never be worn like geotextiles, tire reinforcement or only upholstery and wall covering. However these textiles can still be integrated with monitoring technology and send data to a computer or any other device. For example, the geotextile could help farmers determine if their crops need to be watered or could help engineers determine the erosion level of road sections. The term “wearables” is not wide enough to include these textiles? Wall covering could monitor levels of carbon monoxide to prevent intoxication?

Second, is the Industry trying to categorize products that are already categorized? Is a wearable a smart textile? I will say yes and no. Yes because “wearables” have electronic components, conductive yarns and are self-powered. But no because in “wearables”, even though the aesthetic is still a big part of their design, this aspect is not the primary purpose of the product. The consumer does not purchase a “wearable” product because its color will change when it is wet or hot. The consumer purchases it because of its data collection ability. Let’s not minimize the textile engineering behind “wearables” though. These products are indeed made using complex textile finishing processes in order to have the monitoring and the data transfer functions to work. They need to be water repellent, anti-static, anti-bacterial like all the other textiles that consumers purchase on a regular basis because nowadays that is what the consumer expects of a garment.

 

These few questions are just the tip of the iceberg in that complex process that the Textile Industry is facing with finding the proper definition for these new products.

Leave us a comment if you have your own idea on what to call these shirts that monitor your heart rate when you run, these mattress covers that measure patient’s pressure points, these scrubs that doctors can used to track your vitals with!

wearable

Woman Wearables Sportswear

wearables

Man Wearables Sportswear

Posted in Featured News Tagged , , ,

Process Improvement – A Basic Understanding

Process Improvement

In any industrial process, one always hears the phrase, “Process Improvement.”  Other names you may be familiar with are: Continuous Improvement, Kaizen, Lean, 5S, etc.  What is “Process Improvement” anyways?  According to the Cambridge online dictionary:

Process Improvement
            The job of examining the processes used in a company, department, project, etc. to
            see how they can be made more effective.

In reality, process improvement usually boils down to: what changes/improvements can be made to this process that will reduce non-value added steps and outputs, increase profitability, and maintain or improve quality?  Common themes to examine when referring specifically to manufacturing process improvement would be: saving time, reducing problems, using less energy, using less water and other resources, and generating less waste.  Although some processes can seem overwhelmingly complicated, do not let that discourage you from approaching process improvement projects and tasks.  With thought and time, you can make improvements without any knowledge of a specific skillset or tool.  Process improvement just requires a thorough understanding of the process to be examined and a little innovation.

*Since NICCA USA is a textile chemicals manufacturer, I will use our business as an example, sticking strictly to production process improvement.

Process Improvement

Basic Improvement Cycle

Producing more with less
The saying that less is more, isn’t always true; sometimes less compromises quality. However, by being innovative, you can find ways to reduce without compromising quality.  In particular, textile chemical production and application require a lot of water – dye baths, water-based chemical solutions, rinses; a lot of energy – high temperatures, chemical manufacturing, hot fabric dryers, textile mill equipment; and a lot of time.

Step 1: Study the Process
Examine these processes.  Look at each step specifically, collecting data to generate real conclusions on the current process situation.  Spend time with the process and the people who operate it on a daily basis.  Ask questions and gather feedback.

Step 2: Identify Inefficiencies and Wastes
Where are the inefficiencies?  Where can you apply process improvement?  Are there ways you can recycle water, chemicals, or fabric to generate less waste?  Can you re-engineer your process using chemicals that work together more effectively to use less energy and be watersmart?  Is your equipment running at premium electrical efficiency, or are there ways you could better control power usage?  Is there a better method to complete a certain step?  Cross-examine each step with these types of questions until you find specific points to set your focus.

Step 3: Create Solutions
Once you’ve identified some key areas to attack, create process improvement solutions.  Although generating solutions is definitely possible individually, it is best to do this process as part of a group discussion where innovation and feedback can be shared.   Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.  Process improvement almost requires that type of thinking.

Step 4: Trial and Analyze
Now that you have some ideas for process improvement, start running trials and tests to analyze solution effectiveness.  Not every idea will be a success, but if you remain at the drawing board and keep thinking, you will produce results.  Schedule lab trials, schedule pilot trials, and test the results.  Take advantage of others’ expertise and equipment; utilize outside resources to help develop advanced solutions where necessary.

Step 5:  Choose What Works
If you’re satisfied with the results from initial trials and testing, start implementing your successful solutions on the production scale.  This may take some time, but be patient.  Some processes are very difficult to change and some process improvements are difficult to implement.

Step 6: Generate Feedback
Measure the results from implementing your solutions on a production scale.  Translate these results from time, energy, and resources saved into dollars saved to better present the information so that others can easily understand.  Based on these results, ask yourself some questions:  did you achieve your desired results?  Would you do anything differently?  How will this process improvement affect other processes downstream?

Of course, this isn’t a strict rule book for making process improvements, merely just a basic explanation.  Do research!  There are many different techniques, skills, and methods used to improve processes.  Process improvement is not only for manufacturing, but also an unlimited number of other applications.

Posted in Featured News, Textile Chemicals Tagged , , ,

Green Dyeing for our Blue Planet!

Do you know how much water you use when you take a bath or brush your teeth?  Every month the water bill comes, and I am sure that we all know how much that bill was last month.  However, do you know how many gallons of water you used?  In developed countries, such as the US, we take for granted that water will run from any faucet at any time.  And that water will be clean and drinkable.  But shouldn’t we be more conscious of the reality of that resource? And therefore be more cautious!

The World Economic Forum announced about a year ago that the water crisis is the number one global risk.  As a result, everyone needs to be more careful with that resource.  We all need to remember that water is not as renewable as we think.  As an example of the seriousness of the matter, the extreme drought in California last summer that led to farmers not being able to water their fields and household that could not water their yards or fill up their pools.  We are all responsible and all effort counts to reduce our water consumption.

The awareness has grown dramatically in the past years in many Industries and especially in the Textile Industry since it is the world’s second largest polluter of clean drinking water.  To put in perspective the impact of the Textile Industry on water resources, let’s look at a few numbers! It takes about 20 gallons to dye one pound of fabric and the Textile Industry dyes about 66 billion pounds of fabric per year.  That is a total of 1,320 billion gallons of water per year just for the dyeing steps.

Accordingly, the Industry has been very pro-active to become more sustainable and find ways to develop green dyeing processes.  We are seeing two main roads in that difficult journey.  The first one is radical and calls for waterless processes: supercritical carbon dioxide dyeing, dye transfer.  This path is very expensive for dyers to take because it involves major investments in new equipment and training in their work force to be able to produce the same quality with the technology they are not familiar with.  The second road is to have a low water dyeing process.  By using chemicals that are more efficient and more specific to their process, mills can decrease their water consumption by a factor of 2 or even 3.

NICCA is introducing its WaterSmartTM system this year.  This system is composed of 4 chemicals that used together throughout the traditional dyeing process result in 75% water savings and 40% cycle time savings without any adverse effect on quality or cost.

Green dyeing for a Blue Planet

Green dyeing for a Blue Planet

For an easier understanding of the impact of WaterSmartTM on water consumption, the schematic below shows how much water is needed to dye a running shirt with the traditional dyeing process, 5.5L and how much water is needed to dye the same running shirt with WaterSmartTM, 1.25L.

WaterSmart: green dyeing system

WaterSmart: green dyeing system

Another advantage of WaterSmartTM is that there is no needed to invest in new and expensive equipment since these 4 chemistries are compatible with current dye machines.

In addition, the WaterSmartTM chemistries are bluesignâ approved which means that the chemical agents were produced with environmentally friendly ingredients and environmentally conscience methods. Using the WaterSmartTM system is a cost effective way to produce sustainable fabric.

So, for our Planet to stay blue, let’s all take little steps.  Close the faucet while you brush your teeth!  Do not worry about yellow grass in your yard!  And look for cloth with green dyeing and sustainable labels!

Posted in Green Chemistry

5S – Home Organization

With a new year, come new resolutions!  Maybe you set a fitness goal.  Maybe you want to learn something new.  Or maybe you are interested in home organization.  If the latter applies to you, then 5S may be the tool to use.

In a previous blog I discussed the Japanese organizational tool, 5S.  This tool is often used in manufacturing to improve operations and safety through efficiency, organization, and cleanliness.

Seiri – Sort
Seiton – Straighten
Seiso – Shine
Seiketsu – Standardize
Shitsuke – Sustain

What you may not know, however, is that 5S can be applied anywhere, including your home. Here’s how to use 5S for effective home organization:

It’s always best to divide an area into sections that can be done one by one.  For your home this could be room divisions such as: kitchen, garage, etc. or floor divisions: first floor, basement, etc.  Then divide each section in smaller areas.  Whatever division makes the task less overwhelming is best.

Step 1: Sort.

Pick an area to begin.  Start by applying the first S to any closets, cabinets, shelves, drawers, and flat surfaces where things can accumulate.  Sort through them all, removing any items which are questionable and place in your designated “red tag” area.  This can include misplaced, broken/damaged, unused, or rarely used items, and other types of clutter.  Ask yourself the hard questions:  Do I need this?  How many times have I used this item?  What are the chances I will use it again? Be honest with yourself; this is the most difficult part.

5S sorting flowchart

5S sorting flowchart

Anything that received a “No” should be set aside to donate or be thrown away.

Step 2: Straighten/Set in order.

Now that you’ve removed anything that doesn’t belong, get organized!  Think about what items are in that place.  Where do you use them most?  Are there other items similar to this?  Do I use this often enough to keep it out, or should I store it somewhere? It works well to group similar items together such as: cleaning supplies, bakeware, utensils, etc.  It also makes sense to have items as close as possible to where you will use them.  If you cook with spices a lot, but your spices are kept on the counter opposite the stove, you waste time moving back and forth for what you need.  Of course you can’t always have everything close by, but try to prioritize.  Designate a location for everything!  This is a great time to make use of small containers such as plastic baskets and bins, drawer dividers, and labels!  You can divide drawers and closets into segments, group items in containers, and label for easy searching.  As best you can, set up the area so that a complete stranger may easily locate items.  It helps to make a shopping list of any organizational tool you think you may need during the Sort.  Then begin straightening once you have at least the majority of your supplies.

Step 3:  Shine.

Once all the clutter has been cleared and reorganized, it’s time to clean. Cleanliness is very important in 5S.  You don’t have to clean constantly, but don’t let your hard work go to waste.  Give the area a deep clean the first time: dust, wipe down drawers and counters with anti-bacterial wipes, thoroughly sweep and mop where you can, clean appliances, sinks, and knobs; vacuum any surface that can collect dust but isn’t easy to dust.  Any surface that can be cleaned should be.  It is also a good idea to use protective cleaners such as anti-stain for cloth surfaces such as your cushions.

Step 4: Standardize.

This is the step which may seem strange to you at home.  The best way to standardize is to make a list or log of each area.  Document the location, the items there, and the condition of the area for checks on organization and cleanliness.  If there is “stock” of an item (for example: if you keep 10 rolls of toilet paper or two boxes of trash bags at all times) keep a log of your amount and have a “reorder” point at which you add more to your shopping list.  Excel works best for lists like these, but hand written logs will also be effective.  You can either leave them on a computer or print and place them on the back of cabinet/closet doors or in a small folder in the area for quick reference.

Step 5: Sustain.

Sustaining is the most difficult S to achieve.  It is very easy to let the areas relapse into disarray.  The best way to sustain your hard work is to regularly check and update your standardized lists for each area.  For large areas such as kitchen counters or a bathroom, weekly checks may be necessary.  However, most locations in your home work well with monthly or bi-monthly checks.  It’s best to set a frequency specific to each area’s needs.  Perhaps a storage closet that keeps household goods should be checked more often than a bedside drawer.  When you notice the beginning signs of new clutter, re-apply the first 3 S’s.  When “inventory” is low, add items to a shopping list.  By doing these regular checks you can sustain your hard work indefinitely with minimal effort.

It may sound over the top, but using 5S is a great method to efficiently organize and manage your living space without the hassle of repeated relapse.  You will save time and energy eliminating excessive searching, cleaning, and shopping.  You may even want to apply it other places!

Posted in Featured News Tagged , ,

Dye Fixative life lesson: Separate your colors (at least at first)

Red Dye bleeds

In a world with Color Catchers and mixed load laundry detergent, we may have gotten too comfortable with our textile finishing.  Not all dye fixatives are created equal.

After purchasing a new set of towels in various shades of tan, green, and deep red, the next course of action was to wash them before use.  These towels were mid-tier; throwing a color catcher into the load should handle any excess dye that may still linger on the red set.  After all, they should have better quality dye fixative.  This was the wrong assumption.

It only took one cycle to have red dye on every surface, color catcher included.  Red dye is the worst of all stains. Although the red towels were no worse for wear, the green and tan towels had seen better days.  Three cycles and six color catchers later, they survived with no visible damage despite being slightly stiffer than before.

Lesson Learned:  Never assume your textile dying is the highest quality just because it’s more expensive, but most importantly, be smart with reds.

 

Posted in Textile Chemicals Tagged , ,