Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts

Understanding Mordants and Modifiers

Acetic Acid Glacial


Description: Acid modifier; colorless liquid, 2.4-3.4 pH, sharp irritating odor; essential constituent of vinegar, ancient dye solvent and fixative. Dye books usually mean much weaker vinegar when they call for 'acetic acid.'
Other Names: Mother of vinegar, Proligneous acid, radical vinegar, stop-bath solution, [L] acetum, [Fr] acere
Dye Use: Solvent for dyes, evens out dye color, helps silk and cotton take color, adds crisp feel to silk, neutralizes harsh mordants, gives reddish tone to most blues or purples, can change color drastically. Also helps neutralize alkaline indigo-dyed fiber (1/4 c acetic acid to 1 lb fiber). Fugitive red and purple berries can be simmered in 50-50 acetic acid and water for more color fastness. Solvent for gums, oils.
Best On: Silk, cotton
Dye Recipe: For fugitive colors, pre-mordant fiber in 2 tsp acetic acid, then after dyeing, simmer dyed fiber in 2 tsp acetic acid for long-lasting color.
Safety: Corrosive, flammable: pure acetic acid is considered a hazardous material, can cause skin burns, ingestion can cause severe damage to mouth and throat.
Disposal: Neutralize with baking soda, pour down sink. Harmful to aquatic life if disposed of improperly.
Alternative: Triple the amount of vinegar, lemon, or lime juice
Source: Photography shop, chemical supply house

CODES: c = cup; gal = gallon; lb = pound (weight); tbsp = Tablespoon; tsp = teaspoon / [AF] Anglo-French; [Ar] Arabic; [AS] Anglo-Saxon; [Dan] Danish; [Du] Dutch; [Fr] French; [Ger] German; [Gk] Greek; [It] Italian; [L] Classical Latin; [LL] Late Latin; [ME] Middle English; [ML] Modern Latin; [OE] Old English; [OF] Old French; [ON] Old Norse; [OS] Old Saxon; [Port] Portuguese; [Sp] Spanish; [Sw] Swedish / CE = Common Era; BCE = Before Common Era

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