Indigo chemical vats
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Wild Colours natural dyes > indigo dyeing > chemical vats


Indigo Dyeing using a Dithionite or Spectralite vat

natural indigo dye vat
What you need to start:

  • 10 grams indigo dye
  • 20 grams soda ash
  • 30 grams of Dithionite (Hydros or sodium dithionite or sodium hydrosulfite)
    or 15 grams Spectralite (thiourea dioxide or thiox)
  • 5 litres water at 45C
  • 1 kg fibre (yarns, fabric, etc)


  • 10 litre stainless steel saucepan or stockpot
  • thermometer
  • electronic balance or scales
  • pH paper
  • teaspoons
  • 3-4 jam jars or other glass containers
  • stirring spoon


Mayan indigo
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Follow the usual precautions of wearing rubber gloves, and a face mask when handling chemicals. Keep the saucepans, jugs, spoons and any other utensils just for dyeing and do not use them for food preparation. Weigh the indigo, soda ash and Dithionite or Spectralite in labelled jam jars rather than in the bowl of the balance or scales. Make sure your Dithionite is not too old.

See the Safety guidelines.


  1. Prepare the fibre (next page)
  2. Prepare the stock solution (next page)
  3. Prepare the indigo vat (opens a new page)
  4. Dye the fibre (opens a new page)
  5. Gallery of indigo-dyed cotton samples

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How to contact us:-
Wild Colours natural dyes, Studio 319, Scott House, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4DT, UK

Contact Teresinha for enquiries
Tel:    +44 (0)7979 770865

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Updated on 19 April 2021
Website & photos by Mike Roberts ©2006-21 Wild Colours natural dyes


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