ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION Background of the Study Statement of the Problem Hypothesis Significance of the Study Scope and Delimitation of the Study Review of Related Literature MATERIALS AND METHODS Materials Methods General Procedure RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS CONCLUSIONS RECOMMENDATIONS BIBLIOGRAPHY ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

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Background of the Study The researchers chose to make chemical – free dye by utilizing onion skin to find other ways in making dye looking into the possibility of tapping cheaper sources. It is a


fact to everyone that commercialized dyes today are expensive. Dye is a type of coloring agent used by all people in different things and for different purposes. The researchers recognized the usefulness and essence of dye in a human’s life. With this project, the researchers can make use of the onion skin in order to produce a cheaper kind of dye. The researchers also considered this project because it does not need much time and money. The procedures in this project can be done in just several hours. Money is not of much use in this project because the main material to be used is a waste that is very common in every household in the Philippines. Another reason why the researchers chose to do this project is because of the accessibility of the materials to be used. The students are planning to generate dye using natural resources that seems to be a waste for others. The basic ingredients in doing this project are water and onion skin. Onion skins are one of the most common discarded household wastes in our country. Most people seem to throw it after peeling onion. Since people consider it as wastes, the students thought of what could be done with the said leftovers. Lastly, the researchers picked to use onion skin because of its composition. The scraps are rich in insoluble coloring compounds. This material may be effective in making a chemical – free dye.

Statement of the Problem The main objective of this project is to utilize onion skin into chemical – free dye. This study also sought to answer the following problems: 1. Is the proposed dye effective as a coloring agent to different kinds of materials in terms of: a. Color? b. Odor?

c. Texture? d. Durability? 2. Is the produced dye as effective as other commercial dyes sold in the market after undergoing detergent washing and sunlight exposure?

Statement of the Hypotheses
1. The effectiveness of using this dye has been proven feasible on providing

color on fabrics only in terms of color, odor, texture and durability.
2. Using this dye as an alternative to the commercialized dye shows a

significant difference when it comes to durability on fabric after detergent washing and sunlight exposure.

Significance of the Study Being student researchers, the benefits of this project to the industry were deeply considered. This project will help lessen the burden of the consumers about the safety of using dyes on fabrics. This project will also develop the researchers’ resourcefulness by making use of supplies that are considered scraps through recycling. It will also be able to contribute to the realization that tells everyone that each of us can contribute in the betterment of science through discovering new ideas. This project can help not only consumers but also those who are in the fashion community. The product that the researchers are planning to develop can help the people economically by saving money in buying expensive dyes that is sold everywhere by creating an alternative that is not only very easy to do but also has accessible materials. People without permanent jobs can also use this as an additional source of income or even a new kind of business. This study can also help in lessening the household waste of any community.


Nowadays our country has big problem in our economy. Everyone can help to solve it by being practical. Recycling is a way to be practical. Dyes today may cost a lot. By creating this new kind of dye, the country may develop the industry of dye – making through a more eco-friendly and cheaper manner.

Scope and Delimitation of the Study This project covers the utilization of onion skin into dye. The researchers’ only considered the outer skin part of the onion since it’s very common as household and commercial waste. Its efficiency is tested through using it as dye for different kinds of materials. But based on findings after the experiment was done, this type is applicable only on providing color to fabrics. Its natural composition is also analyzed but not entirely. Only the component which makes it effective as dye is given much importance.

Review of Related Literature ONION “Onion” is somewhat a generic term that refers to several pungent members of the genus Allium (Lilaceae family) including common (bulbous) onion, garlic, leek and others. The word was derived from the Middle English union which, in turn, came from the Latin unio. The latter means “one” or “unity” and refers to the onion’s single bulb consisting of concentric rings. The pungency of onions is due to volatile sulfur compounds (thiosulfinates) which, in turn, are produced from sulfur-containing flavor precursors released when onion cells are ruptured or cut. Onion is thought to have originated more than 5000 years ago in Central Asia and is one of the most ancient of food sources. Its consumption by humans can be traced back to the Bronze Age. A staple in the diet of many early civilizations, it was especially important in ancient Egypt. In addition to being consumed as a food, Egyptians worshiped onion thinking its concentric rings symbolized eternal life. Indeed,

it was often buried along with their dead. Ancient Greek athletes consumed large quantities of them thinking it would “balance” their blood and improve their athletic prowess. Later, after conquering Greece, Romans ate onions regularly and also rubbed it on their gladiators to tone their muscles. Throughout antiquity the medicinal properties of onion were widely avowed. As a result, it was used by ancients to treat a wide array of conditions ranging from irregularity to hair loss. Early Americans used wild onions to treat colds, coughs, asthma and breathing problems. Today, onion is still considered a health food. Its consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes because of its high level of phenolic and flavonoid compounds with high antioxidant activity. In general, onions with greater pungency have higher antioxidant activity than milder types. There are three basic groups of onions; all are used more to flavor dishes then as a main course themselves. The common onion (Allium cepa) is known only in cultivation and is the most important of the three. This is the type of onion we plant in our gardens in the spring. It produces a single, large bulb that usually matures by midsummer in our climate. Green onions are simply plants of this species that are pulled before the bulb is well-formed. The common onion is able to produce seed which is its primary means of propagation. The remaining two groups of onion do not produce seed and normally are vegetatively propagated. The ‘aggregate group’ includes onions (e.g. shallot and multiplier onion) that produce a cluster of bulbs at the soil line. The less common ‘proliferous group’ produces small bulbs in the flower cluster which, in turn, drop to the soil and take root. The latter often are referred to as Egyptian onion, walking onion or winter onion. Common onion is spring-planted and may be grown from sets, transplants or seeds. In all cases planting should be done as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. Onion sets are the most common means of planting onions. ‘Sets’ are small bulbs that develop quickly to produce green onions or allowed to mature to produce

(dry) bulbs. To produce green onions plant the sets in a well-drained soil about an inch apart. For larger dry bulbs, sets should be placed no closer than two inches apart. Small sets are more desirable than larger sets which tend to flower more easily. If flowering occurs, the flower head should be removed as soon as it is visible. Onions which flower form smaller bulbs which do not store as well as bulbs harvested from nonflowering plants. Onion transplants represent seedlings which have been started (usually in the South) by a specialist propagator, pulled at an early stage of growth and shipped north for sale as propagules or “starts”. Large, sweet types such as Sweet Spanish and the Bermuda types frequently are grown from transplants. They should be spaced four to five inches apart within rows spaced 12 to 18 inches apart. As a rule, “sweet” onions do not store as well as the more pungent types. Onion is a cool season crop with a fairly long maturity (95+ days). Consequently those produced from seeds planted directly outdoors normally do not perform well in Missouri because of our hot summers. Instead, when are used, they should be started indoors well in advance of outdoor planting since onion seedlings grow slowly. Onion also is a photoperiodic plant. Some onion varieties exhibit a short day response and will form bulbs only when the length of day is 12 hours or less. Other varieties are long day in response and form bulbs when day length is at least 15 hours. Varieties grown in Missouri typically are of the latter response group which is another reason why onions seeded directly into the garden do not perform well in our state. However they are started, onions grow best under cool temperatures (55 to 75 degrees F) in a loose, friable soil. Onions are sensitive to acid soils and soil pH should be kept in the 6.2 to 6.8 range. As with most vegetables, fertilizers should be applied according to soil test recommendations. When called for, a fertilizer low in nitrogen but high in phosphorus and potassium (e.g. 5-10-10) is recommended.


Weed control is important in onion production since they do not compete well with weeds. Mulching (after onions are established) will help to control weeds as well as conserve moisture. Common production problems with onions include insects such as thrips and onion maggots along with fungal diseases such as downy mildew, neck rot, pink root and smut. Although onions can be used any time during their production, bulbs destined for storage should be harvested when the “neck” dries and the tops have fallen over. After digging, onions should be cured for several weeks by placing them in a warm location with good air circulation and low humidity. After curing is completed, onions are best stored in relatively cool conditions, dry conditions.

DYEING Dyeing was practiced in Egypt, Persia, China, and India thousands of years ago. Before 1856, natural materials derived from insects, plants, shellfish, and minerals were the only known sources of dyestuffs. These sources included the root of the herb madder for red dye and the indigo plant for blue dye. In the early days of the Roman Empire, garments colored with Tyrian purple, a dye derived from a shellfish of the Mediterranean Sea, were worn by the imperial family and the nobility. As late as the 4th century AD, cloth colored with Tyrian purple was the symbol of royalty. The art of dyeing was stimulated in the 13th century by the discovery of achil, a purple dye made from a species of lichen. Northern Italy, where the discovery was made, became the center of dyeing in Europe. In the 16th century, explorers brought back from the Americas such dyestuffs as cochineal and logwood. Other important sources of natural dyes included quercitron, weld, fustic, brazilwood, safflower, and indigo plants. In 1856 the first synthetic dye, mauve, was derived from coal tar. Mauve was developed by British chemist William Henry Perkin so that it could be produced easily on a large scale. Since then a great number of synthetic dyes have been developed, and the use of natural dyes has almost ceased.

Materials Generating the product was made possible through the use of a 2 cups (normal size) of dry skins from red onions which were the primary source of the finished product. After the skins were gathered, it underwent heating processes like boiling on a stove in 3 liters of water by making use of a large enamel or stainless steel pot as the storage of

the solution for boiling. During the heating process, utensils were utilized to pound the skins to get out all the colors from it. After the color was extracted from the onion skin, sieve was used to separate the skins from the liquid. The solution was transferred to a container and left to cool. Now that the product has been manufactured, application on fabrics can be done on 2 yards fabric. It was gathered to serve as an absorbent for the application of dye. 4 ounce of alum and 1 ounce washing soda were also used to help increase the absorption rate of the fabrics. Plain salt was used as a binding agent so that fabric can highly penetrate the color. And a casserole serves as the storage while dyeing process was done. Some more tests were needed to prove the effectivity of the chemical – free dye and with the help of a detergent soap, durability of the dye on fabrics was tested.

Methods Two (2) cups (normal size) of dry onion skin were gathered and washed to remove all the dirt on the skin. Onion skins were tore into small pieces and put it on a stockpot. In 2 liters of water, onion skins were boiled for about 30 minutes. While the solution is under boiling process, the skins were pressed while stirring to get out all the color. After boiling, the mixture was strained and the skins were discarded. The solution was left to cool and was transferred to a container with the desired amount of dye in every container. FLOW CHART OF METHODS

General Procedure

One (1) yard of fabric was gathered and was immersed in water. It was soaked for 5 minutes. 2 liters of water, 1 ounce alum and 1 ounce washing soda were placed in a large pot. This mixture is called a "mordant bath" and helps the pigment adhere to the fabric and keep its color after dying. The mordant bath was stirred by a wooden spoon The fabric was removed on water and was wringed well. Then the wet cloth was placed on the mordant bath and was heated for one hour, while it was stirred periodically. The fabric was removed from the heat and allowed to sit in the water for 24 hours. Then the fabric was removed from the mixture and wringed well. The remaining mordant bath was disposed. Enough water was added to the pot with a 1 liter onion skin dye bath. The dye solution was put and ½ cup of plain salt was also added. The wet fabric was submerged in the onion skin dye bath. Then the fabric was boiled on a pot until the desired color is achieved (15 minutes to 1 hour). The color was provided successfully on the fabrics. To test its durability, the fabric was put on a casserole and was washed using a detergent soap. Washing the fabric was done three times. After washing, the fabric was hung and exposed to sunlight for 1 hour. FLOW CHART OF GENERAL PROCEDURE


This portion evaluates the results of the experiments conducted. Table 1 exhibits the difference between a commercialized dye and a free – chemical dye in terms of providing color on different types of materials Table 1. Exhibits difference between a commercialized dye and a free – chemical dye in terms of providing color on different types of materials. Piece Of Types Of Dye Piece Of Cloth Transparent Plastic Unable on coloring materials with smooth textures.. Successfully provide color. Piece Of Paper

Commercialized Dye

Successfully provide color on the cloth.

Free – Chemical Dye

Successfully provide color on the cloth.

Unable on coloring materials with smooth textures.

Successfully provide light color.

Data indicates that a chemical – free dye differ from a commercialized dye in terms of producing color on a piece of transparent plastic and on a piece of paper. It also revealed that free – chemical dye can provide a satisfying color on the cloth but not compatible with the texture of a plastic and provides low quality of color on papers while commercialized dyes are proficient on coloring the three absorbents but with a different quality. Table 2 presents the difference between a commercialized dye and a chemical – free dye in terms of its durability on fabric after detergent washing and sunlight exposure.

Table 2. Presents the difference between a commercialized dye and a chemical – free dye in terms durability on fabric after detergent washing and sunlight exposure. Piece Of Types Of Dye Piece Of Cloth Transparent Plastic The color lasts Commercialized Dye and the good quality of color is still on the cloth. The color lasts and the good Free – Chemical Dye quality of color is still on the cloth. The color disappears. The color disappears. Piece Of Paper (Exposing to sunlight only) The color is still on the paper but low quality of color has been provided The color is still on the paper but low quality of color has been provided

Note: In the second table, in order to prove the effectivity of a free – chemical dye on different types of absorbents, the samples undergo detergent washing and exposure to sunlight for about 30 minutes.

It is shown in the table that after having two tests on fabrics which are detergent washing and sunlight exposure, it was proven that chemical – free dye and a commercialized dye are both durable on cloth. They only have different results when it comes to plastic and paper. Light yellow color from a commercialized dye remained on plastic after washing which proves that the commercialized dye is less durable on plastic. Color from the chemical – free dye totally disappeared that leads to an idea that chemical – free dye is not suitable for giving color on smooth surfaces like plastic. When it comes to paper both types of dyes proved their durability because after a long period of sunlight exposure, color was still there.


Dying fabric to create new and unusual colors is a pastime that many craft enthusiasts enjoy. Naturally dyed fabrics are used to create one-of-a-kind quilts, clothing and accessories. A natural, easy-to-make dye can be made from onion skins, which produce a yellow-orange colored dye. Using 100% wool or cotton produces the most vibrant color; blended fabrics will not appear as vivid. Color on fabrics had been provided successfully due to the skins property. The skin of the onion is said to have high amount of pigments that allows the color to be extracted from the skin.

This study, which primarily aims to utilize discarded onion skin into dye, was successful in doing so. After several processes such as drying, pounding, and boiling, the researchers were able to come up with a chemical – free dye. It was tested on different kinds of materials such as cloth, papers, and plastics (transparent plastic). The chemical – free dye was found effective. However, its efficiency decreases through time and suitable only to some materials specifically cloth and papers. It was also verified that the onion contains high amount of pigment that made it possible to provide color.


Although this study has been successful in meeting its goals and objectives, the researchers have some recommendations for other possible researchers who would like to continue, improve, or to remodel this study. Further tests may be applied to the finished product. These tests may give and calculate the amount of components in the chemical – free dye. They may also do some tests that may prove the presence of other compounds in the onion. Future researchers may also find a solution to the limited ability of the dye in coloring different materials. They may also find ways to preserve the dye or transform it into powder. To provide the dye with a nice aroma, they may discover if adding essential oils to the chemical – free dye will not harm the dye’s durability. For others who will decide to remain focus on the utilization of discarded

onion skin, it is advisable to find other means or processes to produce chemical – free dye. Other onion parts may also be considered for future studies. Other parts from other indigenous plants may be used as an alternative to onion. Dyes can be made from a variety of materials and future investigators may adapt the processes and tests that this group has done to their finished product.

Baez, Albert V. 1967. The New College Science, Dyeing and Dyestuff. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and Company. Clarke, Duncan. The Art of African Textiles. Advanced Marketing Services, 1997. Harris, Jennifer, ed. Textiles: 5,000 Years. Abrams, 1993. History of textiles worldwide. Kinloch, J., 2001. Onion. Groiler’s Encyclopedia of Knowledge. Grolier’s Encyclopedia. 1998. New York: MacMillan Educational Company. Mazzaoui, Maureen F. Textiles. Ashgate, 1998.

Vaughan, John G., and Catherine Geissler. The New Oxford Book of Food Plants: A Guide to the Fruit, Vegetables, Herbs & Spices of the World. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 1998. World Book Millenium 2002 Encyclopedia. 2000. 233 North Michigan, Chicago. “Dyeing”. Retrieved March, 2010 from: “How to Dye Fabrics”. Retrieved March, 2006 from: “How to Extract Dye From Plants”. Retrieved March, 2006 from: “Onion”. Retrieved March, 2010 from:

The investigatory project “Utilization of Discarded Onion Skin into Chemical – free Dye” came to fulfillment through the moral help, guidance and financial support of dear parents who are always there to guide the researchers. Thank you for the researchers’ chemistry teacher, Ms. Marites Baluyot for helping in knowing some chemical compounds needed. Vendors from Matnog Community Market are also recognized for their generosity in giving discarded onion skins. The researchers would also like to thank the Library staff of Matnog National High School who contributed on providing references needed in doing this project.


The researchers are also grateful for the moral support and the inspiration their friends have given. Most of all, the researchers give their utmost appreciation and thanksgiving to the Great and Almighty God for the guidance as the researchers go on with the project, for the knowledge and wisdom He has given. Without whom, this project would not be possible.


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