Difference Between a Pigment and a Dye


In the textile industry, coloring plays a critical role. Not only it enhances the appearance, but the value of the fabric as well.

Pigments and dyes are used for making the fabrics colorful. Though the terms are often used interchangeably, there is a lot of difference between them.

The way they work is very different. The blog talks about their notable differences.



The most significant difference is about their solubility. An example can understand it.

Let’s take two glasses filled with water and mix salt in one and mud in the other.

The glass with salt will give a clear solution as the salt dissolves in the water. There are no traces of salt.

Now put the other glass which has muddy aside. After a few hours, the particles will settle down, and you get clear water above.

The pigments are like mud. They are made from fine particles of color suspended in a liquid called dispersing agent or vehicle.

Dyes, on the other hand, are like salt that dissolved in the medium and create a colorant.

Usually, water isn’t a medium in the case of pigments. However, it is used for dyes.


Attachment method

Attachment method means how does a pigment or dye attach to the fabric.

While dyes bind chemically with the fabric, pigments get physically bound on the surface.

When the pigment is applied on the surface, it forms a coating. The dispersing agent used in the process makes it sticky to fix it properly.

Dyes become part of the fabric only. Some dyes attach itself whereas some need binders that are called mordant.



Pigments are more lightfast as compared to dyes. Sunlight can destroy the electron bonding within the molecules of dyes and make them fade.

Sometimes, the reaction happens quite fast, and the fabric looks dull very soon.

Pigments are more resistant to the sunlight. Hence, fading happens slow.



Usage or application is another criterion that differentiates dye and pigment.

Dyes are more popular in the paper, textile, wood and leather industry. They are widely used in the food industry also in the form of various natural and approved synthetic dyes.

Pigments are mainly used in rubber, plastic and resin industries.

Whether it is the use of dyes or resins, utmost care is taken to keep the fabrics safe from any damage. The dyes or pigments are used after extensive research.


If you are looking for dyes and chemicals manufacturers in india then Sagar Colour Co. is one of the foremost acrylic dyes, cationic dyes and textile chemicals manufacturers in Gujarat as well as other parts of India.


Also read :

How Dyes are Manufactured ?