Solvent-assisted Dyeing of Cotton Fibre

Textile manufacturing has one of the largest water footprints of all industries. In the global textile industry, cotton comprises over 40% of all raw fibres used, and so a reduction in water consumption in the cotton preparation process would benefit the environment significantly.

This project developed a solvent-assisted dyeing method which involves the use of a emulsion system with silicone-based green solvents as the dyeing medium. This method not only produces dyed fabrics comparable to those produced by conventional methods, it also saves 90% of the water.


The technology can be applied to cotton and to different fibres (e.g. silk, wool and linen) and different states: fibre, yarn, fabric or garment.

Industry Benefit

In the modern dyeing process, water acts as a medium for dissolving the dyestuff and bringing it to the textiles to be dyed. However, water-based dyeing and its successive washing processes have discharged polluted wastewater into the environment. Reactive dyeing of cotton-based textiles is particularly polluting. The new solvent-assisted dyeing method reported here can minimize the consumption of water by 90%, and so is an environmentally friendly alternative to aqueous dyeing. Dyeing factories would benefit greatly from adopting this technology. The green solvent can be recycled and reused, meaning that the method is both environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

Licensing Details

A non-exclusive licence covers:

  • the knowhow of developing solvent-assisted dyeing system at laboratory-scale for cotton fibre;
  • technical report on suggestions for solvents and dyes, dyeing method and dyeing properties;
  • laboratory reports on suggestions for solvents and dyes, and factors affecting the solvent-assisted dyeing method.