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Important Notice About Dyes, Mordants and Seeds

Important Notice About Dyes, Mordants and Seeds

When you purchase, use and store dyes, mordants and seeds (possible coating on shell of seed), you must assume you are working with dangerous materials. While the actual risk for these items is low, taking a caution view at all time and working safely will result in a good experience. Common sense conduct should be your work rule.

Here is a reference to a set of rules taken from The Craft of Natural Dyeing by Jenny Dean.

  • Always follow the instructions supplied with any chemicals and dyestuffs you buy.
  • Store all dyes, mordants and assistants in clearly labeled containers and keep them away from children, pets and food.
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke while using these products.
  • Keep pans solely for mordanting and dyeing and never use the same pans for food preparation. Cover the pans when in use to reduce fumes.
  • Some dyestuffs and mordants are poisonous and irritant, so handle all of them with great care.
  • All fine powders, whether toxic or not, are potentially harmful if inhaled.
  • Some mordants give off toxic vapors if boiled. Never exceed simmering point (88c/190F max.) when mordanting. Always work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Always wear rubber gloves and a face mask when using mordants and assistants and avoid contact with the skin and eyes.
  • Seek medical advice if any substances come into contact with the eyes.
  • Take particular care with the following chemical substances: Copper- poison; Tannic acid - harmful by inhalation and skin contact; irritant; Thiox- harmful; keep dry. Do not add water to Thiox; always add Thiox slowly to plenty of hot water; Dilute acids- handle with care.
  • Never empty mordant baths down the sink; follow the instructions given below.


Environmental notes

All spent mordant baths should be disposed of down a foul drain (the lavatory), not the sink, together with plenty of clean water. This avoids splashes in areas where food is prepared. Used dye baths or mordant baths containing small residues of alum, copper, iron or tannin may also be poured on the ground, but well away from septic tanks, wells, pets, or where children play. All these substances are either abundant in nature or used by gardeners.

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