Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts

Understanding Mordants and Modifiers

Sour Water

Sour Water: H2O4S

Description: Acid modifier, Laboratory-produced sulfuric acid is clear to brownish oily corrosive liquid with pH 2.1. Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts-made sour-water is made from sourwood (sorrel tree) leaves (Oxydendrum arboreum) or fermented bran and is not very corrosive. Most dyers prefer the Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts-made variety.
Other Names: Dilute Sulfuric Acid, brown vitriol, chamber acid, oil of vitrol, sulfuric acid
Dye Use: Sulfuric acid helps to open fibers; bleach, mordant, pre-mordant on hard-to-dye fibers, takes pink edge off cochineal for pure red. Frees chlorine to whiten cloth and neutralizes alkali.
Best On: Wool, cellulose fibers
Dye Recipe: Use 1 cup of bran or 2 qt sourwood leaves 4 gal boiling water, ferment 24 hours or until it smells and foams, steep fiber in liquid at least 24 hours. Rinse and dye. Sour water can also color fiber, if made with very high-acid plants.
Safety: Pure sulfuric acid is corrosive, burns skin or eyes. Sour water is a milder sulfuric acid; but it can also burn because it is deceptively mild and dyers often don't pay attention to the slight burning sensation on their hands.
Disposal: Dilute considerably, pour down toilet or sink
Alternative: Fermented bran
Source: Griffin Dyeworks for bran, but not for pure sulfuric acid

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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