Greener Shades Dyes

We are pleased to offer the Greener ShadesTM line of dyes!

Greener ShadesTM is a non-hazardous, non-chrome, low impact, heavy metal-free acid dye for use on silk, wool, nylon, or any animal fiber. Formulated without the use of hazardous metals, these dyes provides superior light and wash fastness without relying on metal compounds to achieve bright and beautiful colors.

Greener ShadesTM are of superior quality, exhaust well, and have level performance when mixed with each other. These dyes also conform to the Organic Trade Association's standards for Organic Fiber Processing!

Only through the Greener ShadesTM line of dyes is this advanced product available to the home/studio dyer. Available in 8 vibrant colors plus a midnight black that is out of this world!




Like all acid dyes, Greener ShadesTM can be used following either a simplified procedure, or a more technical approach which monitors acidity, temperature, and using other chemical assists to achieve a uniform, repeatable result. Either approach will produce beautiful lightfast and washfast colors.

Instructions in PDF Form with color card

Simplified Procedure

1. Prewash yarn, fiber or fabric (goods). Any residual oils or coating will affect results.

2. In small container dissolve dye powder in hot water. The amount of dye in the 1/2 ounce packet is enough to dye 3 lbs of goods. Stir carefully until fully dissolved.

3. Fill large enamel or stainless pot about 2 gallons of warm water per pound of goods. Add soaked goods and dissolved dye. Fully blend by pushing down on goods in pot, squeezing with gloved hand, and/or gentle stirring.

4. Heat slowly until a vigorous steam develops. Periodically gently stir to prevent uneven heat distribution. Add 1/4 cup vinegar. Stir gently.

5. Bring to slow boil for 5 min. Check for exhausted water. (If water is not almost clear add another 1/4 cup vinegar, stir gently and check again.)

6. Turn off or remove from heat, allow to cool. Rinse and air dry.

Technical Procedure

0.5 oz of Greener ShadesTM dye will dye 3 lbs of goods a medium depth of shade. More should be used for darker shades, and less for lighter. Dyes themselves can be blended to achieve mixed colors.

Special Supplies:


pH measuring equipment, paper or meter

Goods Preparation: Goods can be pre-soaked in a buffering agent like sodium acetate to help maintain 4.5 ph, or Synthropol to help remove oils if needed.

Dye Bath Preparation: Circulate goods at 100°F for 15 min in pot containing about 2 gallons of water per lb of goods. Add pre-dissolved dye and continue to circulate for 10 min. Raise temperature slowly to 175°F and hold for 10 minutes. Check pH, add small increments of acid (Citric or Acetic) until pH measures 4.5. Raise temperature slowly to 205-210°F. When water is exhausted, remove from heat, cool, rinse until clear.


As with working with any chemical, caution should be taken to avoid unnecessary exposure. Greener ShadesTM are not intended for inhalation or ingestion. Supplies used for dyeing should not be re-introduced for food preparation.


Greener Shades F.A.Q

Are these dyes organic?

We are unable to call or label these dyes as "Organic" as they are an intermediate step to a finished product. These dyes do comply with the Organic Trade Association's criteria for organic processing. This means that if you would like to get your yarn certified and call it organic, you can now dye the yarn and still create a product that will comply to organic standards and label it as such.

Are these dyes Environmentally Friendly and/or Low Impact?

Yes they are! There are several benefits from using these dyes. To start with, the effluent or wastewater from the manufacturing process is heavy metal free and not classified as hazardous waste! When dyeing, you will not be putting heavy metals into your ground water. You will not be wearing garments with heavy metals in them. And lastly when the garment eventually ends up in a landfill, there are no heavy metals going back into the ground.

What makes your dyes non-toxic?

Greener Shades dyes are non-toxic primarily because they contain no heavy metals. The other ingredients used to make Greener Shades dyes are non-toxic as well. Chromium, specifically, in its various forms can be used to make some of the colors in other manufacturer's dyes. This metal can be quite toxic to humans and animals when inhaled or ingested. Inhalation can occur when measuring out the powder and if you dye your skin, the dye goes directly into your blood stream. If you are rinsing dye down the drain, you are possibly polluting ground water with a water soluble version of chromium. Effects of chromium on living animals range from skin irritation and breathing problems to digestive issues and cancer.

Are these dyes safer than other acid dyes?

Yes they are! Because they are tested to comply with the Organic Trade Associations criteria for organic fiber processing, you can be assured that there are no heavy metals in the dyes. It is possible for heavy metals to be introduced into the dye in the manufacturing process even though the recipe for the dye does not call for any.

Are all acid dyes heavy metal free?

No, not all acid dyes are heavy metal free. Blues and Greens especially are not heavy metal free. Heavy metals normally found in dyes include chromium, copper, iron, maganese, and nickel.

How are these dyes different from other manufacturers dyes?

These dyes are not classified as a leveling or as a milling dye. They are formulated to have the characteristics of both, ie. excellent washfastness, excellent lightfastness, and very bright colors. They are also formulated to have balanced sulfonation between each color so that they perform well when mixed. The formulatation of Greener Shades dyes specifically requires no heavy metals in the manufacture of them.

Why do you carry a dye, Coral Reef Aqua, that does have a heavy metal in it?

To get a really true and bright aqua or turquoise color, it is extremely difficult to do so without the introduction of some sort of metal compound. Our customers demanded a turquoise color, so we had to compromise on this one color. The heavy metal used is copper and the dye analaysis is listed in the "Dye Info" section of our website. This color does not meet the requirements of the Organic Trade Association for organic textile processing, but it is still manufactured with the same high quality performance and sulfonation balance as our other colors.

How do these dyes perform compared to other manufacturers dyes?

Greeener Shades Dyes perform differently from other manufactures dyes as they are sulfonically balanced so they perform equally well when mixed together. We use these dyes exclusively in our fiber mill as they exhaust better, mix better, level better, give brighter colors (less dye needed to get desired shade) and generally have better washfastness and lightfastness compared to other acid dyes that we have used in the past.

How much fiber is 1/2 ounce of dye able to color?

Each 1/2 ounce jar of dye is able to dye 3 lbs of fiber at 1% Depth of Shade. This produces quite a bright shade of color. We generally recommend using a .75% Depth of Shade to start with when just starting out with the dyes.

What leveling agent is recommended to use with the dyes?

Generally we find that a leveling agent is not necessary when using these dyes. If the fiber is clean (no soap residue or dirt residue) the dye attaches very uniformly throughout the fiber. If you find that you need a leveling agent, we have used Albegal SET leveling agent in the past. We can also source a leveling agent from our dye manufacturer that works quite well, too.

I would like to wash my dyed fiber. What should I use?

All acid dyes are designed to attach to the fiber in an acidic environment. GreenerShades is about PH of 4.5. It is possible to break the bond with the fiber by introducing alkalinity to the fiber. PH above 7 can start to break the bond with the fiber and bleeding will occur. If the fiber was not clean enough or not set long enough, the bleeding will occur more quickly. Sometimes acid dyes will attach to the fiber weakly and not really be bonded. When introduced to a more alkaline solution, this "extra" dye can break off and bleed into your rinse water. This is called "cracking" and should not change the color of the yarn. We recommend a very gentle, neutral PH, soap to wash your fiber. Many laundry detergents and dishwashing liquids are quite harsh. Shampoo as you would use on your hair generally has more information available to make a decision. There are also many fine Fiber Wash products available as well. Or you can always contact us for the gentle scouring agent we use at Still River Mill to wash your fleeces and yarn.


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