Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts

Understanding Mordants and Modifiers

Ammonium Carbonate


Description: Alkali modifier, colorless translucent crystals or white powder, strong ammonia odor; decomposes in air; chemical is a mixture of ammonium bicarbonate and ammonium carbamate; known to Medieval dyers.
Other Names: Carbonic acid ammonium salt, diammonium sulfate, hartshorn, salts of hartshorn, smelling salts, sal volatile
Dye Use: Neutralizer that can be easily removed by boiling; washes and defats (cleans oils out of) wool; cleans feathers, mordants. Incompatible with alum, acids, iron, zinc.
Best On: Wool, cotton
Dye Recipe: Use as with ammonia
Safety: Can cause gastric and nasal irritation
Disposal: Pour down toilet or sink
Alternative: Household ammonia
Source: 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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