What are Protein Fibers?

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Question: What are Protein Fibers?

"I need to dye a bit of yarn, but I was told that since it is alpaca, it is a protein fiber and will need to be dyed a certain way. What are protein fibers, anyway?"

Answer: Protein fibers include any materials that come from animals. Even our own hair is a protein fiber. That might explain my split ends.

Here are some examples of protein fibers:

  • Wool
  • Cashmere
  • Alpaca
  • Feathers
  • Mohair
  • Silk
  • Angora
Protein fibers are very sensitive to the high pH levels involved in dying other fibers (like cotton), so they need to be colored with an acidic dye.

Silk is a protein fiber but it is an anomaly in that it can be dyed just fine using fiber reactive dyes, which do not require heating and are much easier to deal with.

More Questions About Dyeing Clothing

  • Protein (Wool, Cashmere, Silk)
  • What are Protein Fibers?
  • How to Dye Protein Fibers
  • Learn about Acid Dyes
  • Cellulose (Cotton, Linen, Hemp)
  • What are Cellulose Fibers?
  • How to Dye Cellulose Fibers
  • Learn about Fiber Reactive Dye
  • Synthetics (Spandex, Nylon, Polyester)
  • List of Synthetic Fibers
  • How to Dye Synthetic Fibers