Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts

Understanding Mordants and Modifiers

Unslaked Lime


Description: Alkali modifier, coarse white or yellowish caustic powder with 12.4 pH in solution. Old dye books calling for "lime" meant either slaked or unslaked lime; they were often not too clear on this.
Other Names: Calcium Oxide, burnt lime, calcia, caliche (geological limestone), calx, caustic lime, free lime, lime, lime purified, lime unflaked, lime-water, milk of lime, quicklime, [ME] quck lym, [L] calx viva.
Dye Use: Aids cotton mordanting; attracts moisture; helps reduce indigo vat, especially indigo-zinc-lime vats.
Best On: Cellulose fibers
Dye Recipe: Slowly add 1 tsp at a time to indigo vat until lime stops sinking.
Safety: Highly corrosive, can burn skin, permanently damage eyes, do not ingest. California Prop. 65 warning.
Disposal: Dilute considerably, pour down toilet or sink
Alternative: Slaked lime; chalk (but it is not as strong)
Source: Griffin Dyeworks

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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