The challenges posed by plant colours limit their use in the mainstream market.

Production :

Products coloured using plant based dyes are generally produced in small batches, requiring many steps, usually taking a few days at a time. Many natural dyers therefore produce against orders or produce a limited number of items.

Factors affecting production:


Labour intensive process


Batch production


Standardised powder dyes not widely available


Mechanised production facilities not widely adopted


Factors affecting pricing :


Availability of dyestuff


Quality of dyestuff


Unregulated Market


Time requirement - Generally a lot of experimentation and research goes into achieving specific shades on certain fabrics and mediums which further extends production time.

Range limitation - Plant colours cannot compete with the range of colours achieved through synthetic dyes. The fact they are beneficial to the wearer and the environment could make up for their lack of shade complexity.


Recommendations for care


Wash separately


Delicate washing with mild detergents


Spot cleaning of stains


Shade drying


Dry cleaning of fabrics dyed with plant colours is NOT recommended.



Light fastness- Fading might occur when the garment is not cared for properly.


Colour / Rub fastness- Bleeding or transfer of colour could occur for a few washes. Dyers will usually share care notes for their garments and products, it would be wise to follow the same for maximum benefit.



No clear identification or mark exists to distinguish plant based colour products.


Much research and innovation is required to improve the standardisation, usability and fastness of plant based colours.


Innovation in Agri-farming methods is required to make the production and sourcing of plant based colours more efficient and affordable.



The true cost of colour, the impact of textile dyes on water systems-Beth Ranson,


Natural Dyes Vs Synthetic dyes, which is more sustainable, the, by Sonal Baid , Aura Herbal wear, Phil Patterson Colour connections.


“Circular Textile and Apparel in India Policy Intervention Priorities and Ideas “ by, Devyani Hari & Ramanuj Mitra.


Natural Dyes Vs Synthetic dyes, which is more sustainable, The, Lal, GoodEarth


Natural Dyes- Sources, Chemistry, Application and Sustainability IssuesSujata Saxena and A. S. M. Raj,

Read more about Plant colour