ISSN 2456-0235

International Journal of Modern Science and Technology


​​​​​​​April 2019, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp 79-91. 

​​Cationic Modification of Cotton for Salt-free Reactive Dyeing: A Review

Asaye Dessie Wolela*
Department of Textile Engineering, Kombolcha Institute of Technology, Wollo University, Kombolcha, Ethiopia.

​​*Corresponding author’s e-mail:


Cotton is still the king of fibres, and most of world’s apparel is made of cotton due to its unique comfort, good dyeability, ease of production, biodegradability, and relatively low cost. To satisfy consumers aesthetically, cotton products, like garments and household textiles, must have a large color gamut and satisfactory fastness. The most popular dyes for dyeing cotton are the reactive dyes because of their brightness of shade, wide colour gamut, flexible application procedures and all-round good colour fastness properties of the resultant dyeing’s. In recent years, reactive dyes maintain the largest annual consumption in the world among the dyes used for cotton dyeing. But some problems, such as low dye utilization, large amount of electrolyte used and high volume of wastewater discharged, always exist in the application of reactive dyes. With growing popularity of reactive dyes for dyeing of cotton, environmental problems associated with their use have received attention. Cotton acquires negative charge in aqueous medium and thus repels negatively charged dye anion during dyeing. Such repulsion between fibre and dye is offset by using large quantity of salt in dye bath, particularly for reactive dyes. A low dye bath exhaustion also leads to low dye fixation of reactive dyes on cotton. Thus, the use of high salt concentration and low reactive dye fixation lead to environmental problems related to highly coloured effluent with high salt content. Hence, modifying the cotton fibre to increase dye-fibre interaction is therefore the best route to overcome the lack of affinity for cotton to reactive dyes making salt-free reactive dyeing. However, majority of the chemicals used for imparting cationic sites in cotton are themselves not ecofriendly.

Keywords: Cotton; Cationization; Cationic agents; Salt Free Dyeing; Reactive dyes.


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