Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts

Understanding Mordants and Modifiers

Soda Ash


Description: Alkali modifier, white granular powder, no odor, 11.6 pH in solution; found naturally in some lakes, also obtained from ashes of kelp and algae. Used since ancient times, isolated around 1558.
Other Names: Sodium carbonate anhydrous, anhydrous sodium carbonate, crystal carbonate, hydrated sodium carbonate, mineral alkali, nitrite, nevite, sal soda, soda, sodium carbonate decahydrate, soda crystals, washing soda, salt of soda, thermonatrite, trona, zoza, [ME] sodo, solidus, sociac, [Egypt] natron
Dye Use: Raises pH of dyebath. Cleans wool, mordants cotton, works in indigo fermentation vats; 2x stronger than baking soda. Add to cold dyebath or foaming can result. Produces strong moss green used with copper, no matter what plant is used. Makes wool harsh with tin mordant. Use with thiox or SpectraliteTM to remove synthetic dye colors.
Best On: Wool, cotton, linen, hemp, ramie
Dye Recipe: 1 1/4 tsp soda ash to 1 gal cool water
Safety: Health hazard; can irritate skin, eyes; potential for severe burns if not treated immediately; death if ingested
Disposal: Neutralize with acid solution or vinegar, pour down toilet or sink
Alternative: Baking soda, tartaric acid
Source: Griffin Dyeworks, grocery or hardware store

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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