Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts

Understanding Mordants and Modifiers



Description: Alkali modifier, cleanser made of fatty acids and alkali to form emulsion, discovered in ancient times,
mostly replaced by detergents. Major soaps:
      (1) Hard soap: good in hard water, heavy washing
      (2) Soft soft: best for gentle washing
      (3) Neutral or Alkali-free soap: mainly facial and body soap
      (4) All-Purpose soap: mild alkali softens water, improves cleaning, may contain synthetic brightener and bleach.
Other Names: Saep, saip, shope, soope, swope, syep, [ME] sope, [OE] sape, [Ger] seife, [Du] zeep, [L] sapo
Dye Use: Ideal soap is gentle enough to protect organic fibers. Strong alkaline weakens fibers, causes harsh feel and loss of luster, sometimes changes dye colors. Best: non-detergent, unscented ‘Castile’ soap containing no additives.
Best On: Any fiber
Dye Recipe: Use only enough soap to cloud water for cleaning fiber before dyeing and for washing unabsorbed dye pigment off dyed fiber after dyeing.
Safety: Do not ingest or get in eyes; dermatitis can result from excessive use.
Disposal: Pour down sink
Alternative: Griffin Dyeworks Fiber Wash, dishwashing liquid (not dishwasher liquid), Orvus®, Syntrhapol®
Source: Grocery store, quilt shops

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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