The science behind the dyeing of textiles will continue to become more and more complex, as long as new natural and synthetic dyes are being discovered and created. Application methods are also evolving, whether for reasons of enhancing product quality, reducing production costs, or simply to produce as many articles as possible, as cheaply as possible, regardless of quality.
How well a textile retains its color is known as color fastness. This property can be measured against a variety of elements, such as sunlight exposure, crocking (abrasion), perspiration, machine washing, bleach, phenolic acid, and burnt gas fumes.
For the purposes of manufacturers whose end-product will eventually face one or more of these elements, it’s good to know that the science of textile testing for color fastness has grown quite sophisticated as well.
The ability of a fabric to resist fading or running after being subjected to the elements is determined by simple grading on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 indicating the highest quality and 1, the lowest. This grading system is uniform for all textile products, regardless of the specific color fastness criteria they are measured against.
In practice, however, you will be hard pressed to find this grade on the labels of most products, such as clothing, bedsheets or upholstery. Instead, phrases like “wash with like colors” are used as a way of saying “less than optimal wash color fastness.”
Modern production methods, which often work to satisfy global demand, rarely can accommodate the idealistic pursuits of “small batch” production. The use of all natural fibers and pigments under time-intensive craftsmanship tends to be impractical or prohibitively expensive for both producers and consumers.
Still, that does not mean that factory production should automatically be equated with “cheap”, “disposable” or “environmentally negligent.” The right balance of responsibly sourced quality fabrics and dyes, combined with appropriate production and dyeing methods, can really set your brand apart in the growing crowd of indifferent companies churning out poorly made merchandise.
A comprehensive textile lab testing and factory inspection service can help your company maintain that balance by assisting with the development of efficient, eco-friendly designs and manufacturing schemes. Beyond that, a reliable testing and quality control partner will help you determine and implement the right combination of valid testing methods specific to the end use of your textile product.
In terms of color fastness testing, a variety of different national and international standards may apply to your product, including:
QIMA's comprehensive Lab Testing and Inspection Services stay on top of all testing requirements and industry-led standards, helping you to secure your production and stay compliant with relevant standards. Fast global coverage, daily inspection reports and easy online access to test results will give your company the edge it needs to ensure not only the quality of your products, but the integrity of your entire brand.
Our online platform and mobile application make it easy for you to schedule Textiles tests and inspections, and receive your results at any time. Book new tests, view pending orders, and access results from your mobile device. Our online platform provides valuable supply chain insights, including a summary of your QC activity, all of your supplier’s quality stats, industry benchmarking data, and more.
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