What is the maximum pH that can safely be used with silk fabric? I know that...

Asked July 19, 2013, 3:06 PM EDT

What is the maximum pH that can safely be used with silk fabric? I know that common household bleach is too strong and will damage the fabric. We have tried pH of 9 and it seems to be ok. We are dyeing the fabric with plants and know that privet with alkalai will give orange prints but don't know how alkalai to make the dye bath. We'd be grateful for any information you can give us.

Looking on the internet I see that around 11-12 is used for degumming (eliminating the sericin) but I don't know if that is ok if there is no sericin on the silk, and don't know how long it can sit in that high a pH. The dyeing process takes about 1 hour so we are looking for the maximum pH the silk (either silk chiffon or silk paj/habotai--if that makes any difference) will sit in the dye bath.

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Thank you for your question, and sorry for the delay with the answer! I've tried to find an expert in Textiles in the Extension service from around the country to help, but have been unable to find anyone with an answer. Good luck with your project.