Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts

Understanding Mordants and Modifiers



Description: Acid modifier, colorless to dark clear brown distilled sour liquid with pH of 2.4 - 3.4 pH. Medieval Dyers used any wine or vinegar; most dye books listing "acetic acid" mean vinegar, which has 4-8% acetic acid.
Other Names: Proligneous vinegar, spirit vinegar, vinegre, vinecare, vyunegre, winiker, wynaker, [Fr] vinaigre, [Ancient]: acetum
Dye Use: Solvent, evens dye colors, can change color drastically helps fiber absorb mordants and dyes, gives reddish cast to most blue or purple dyes, neutralizes harsh mordants and water charged with alkaline carbonates; as a rinse adds crisp hand (feel) to silk. Not as strong as pure acetic acid but far safer to use.
Best On: Silk, wool. White vinegar is best, because it doesn't add any color to the fiber.
Dye Recipe: For known fugitive colors, pre-mordant 1 lb fiber in 1-4 tbsp vinegar in 1 gal water before dyeing, simmer fiber in 1 tbsp vinegar after dyeing for a permanent and even dye. Some dyers use 100% vinegar and no water to simmer berries and delicate flower dyes. Try simmering disappointing dye results with 1/2-1 c vinegar then add back to dyebath. For rinse, add only enough to give a faint odor to water.
Safety: No hazard
Disposal: Pour excess on plants or down sink
Alternative: Lemon or lime juice, acetic acid, wine
Source: Grocery 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

left arrow Back to Understanding Mordants and Modifiers | left arrow Previous:Uric Acid | Next: Water Softener right arrow