No Mordant Needed

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

4 Natural Dyes you can use without the need of a mordant.

Most natural dyes really need a good mordanting, either aluminium based mordants, copper, ferrous sulfate or a tanning using a tannin rich plant material. Mordanting is important to improve the light- and was fastness of your textiles and it intensifies the colour outcome on your fabric.

Some natural dyes have enough tannin to be light- and wash fast without the assistance of alum, or iron. These are called substantive dyes. I have written a blog about the difference in adjective and substantive dyes before here.

I have chosen 4 beautiful shades for you and dyes samples with 50% WOF for each, meaning that I used half the weight of the dry textiles in natural dyes.

When we compare dyes like this, it is easier to see the potency of the dyes; some dyes will be completely exhausted after one dye round, and others will still have plenty of colour left for a second bath.

It is nice to have a few dyes like these at hand that you can use without having to do the work of mordanting.

Dyes used;

Horse Chestnut bark

Black Walnut Hulls



No Mordant Needed - Natural Dye Samples

The first two being chunks, should always be soaked in cold water overnight to properly extract the dye. The two last ones are powders, can be simply dissolved in water.

Dyes and fabrics were heated together for two hours to a simmer, and cooled down before taking out and washing with a ph neutral detergent.

Top samples that are darker received a dip in 1% Fe solution. All samples left on various types of protein fabrics, right is all cellulose.

Horse Chestnut

Black Walnut Hulls



After dyeing the horse chestnut was exhausted, walnut was also quite done. Quebracho and cutch had plenty of power left for another round of dyeing.

Let me know in the comments which one is your favourite!

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All rights reserved, copyright all images and text @Suzanne Dekel/DekelDyes

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