Table 6: Typical Characteristics of Dyes Used in Textile Dyeing Operations

Method Typical Fixation (%) 80-93 color; organic acids; unfixed dyes Fibers Typically Applied to wool nylon acrylic some polyesters cotton rayon other cellulosics 70-95 polyester acetate other synthetics 80-92 cotton other cellulosics wool cotton other cellulosics cotton other cellulosics 60-90 97-98 N/A color; salt; unfixed dye; cationic fixing agents; surfactant; defoamer; leveling and retarding agents; finish; diluents color; organic acids; carriers; leveling agents; phosphates; defoamers; lubricants; dispersants; delustrants; diluents color; salt; alkali; unfixed dye; surfactants; defoamer; diluents; finish 60-70 80-95 color; alkali; oxidizing agent; reducing agent; unfixed dye color; alkali; oxidizing agents; reducing agents Typical Pollutants Associated with Various Dyes

Dye Class Exhaust/ Beck/ Continuous (carpet) Exhaust/ Beck Exhaust/ Beck/ Continuous



water-soluble anionic compounds


water-soluble, applied in weakly acidic dyebaths; very bright dyes


water-soluble, anionic compounds; can be applied directly to cellulosics without mordants (or metals like chromium and copper) High temperature exhaust Continuous Exhaust/ Beck Cold pad batch/ Continuous Continuous Exhaust/ Package/ Continuous


not water-soluble


water-soluble, anionic compounds; largest dye class


organic compounds containing sulfur or sodium sulfide


oldest dyes; more chemically complex; water-insoluble

Source: Best Management Practices for Pollution Prevention in the Textile Industry, EPA, Office of Research and Development, 1995; SnowdenSwan, L.J. “Pollution Prevention in the Textile Industries,” in Industrial Pollution Prevention Handbook, Freeman, H.M. (Ed.), McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, 1995.