Cotton has the affinity for so many dyes reactive, direct, vat and sulfur dyes. But most commonly used dyes in the industry are the reactive dyes for their brilliance of color and excellent fastness properties. Other dyes are used according to the end use of the products and desired fastness properties and as per availability of the dyeing vessels.
The reactive dyes come in many variants MCT(Monochloro triazine) DCT(Dichloro triazine) and Vinyl sulphone(Few are suitable for discharge prints) And now the reactive dyes are available in Bifunctional groups which made the application easy at 60 degrees centigrade.
Reactive Dyes are most common for cotton dyeing in the industry for their ease of application, covalent bonding, satisfactory fastness, brilliance in colors, range in colors and economical.
Direct dyes are easy to apply but have poor wash fastness due to a weaker bond. some cheap/ economical clothes are dyed with direct dyes only. Tie-dye is one of the known application
Vat dyes are fast to all agencies even better than reactive dyes but expensive and difficult in application. Enclosed vessels are required to avoid oxidation.
Sulfur dyes are mainly used for washed down(poor rubbing fastness) effects and banned in many ways for fabric tendering in prolong storage is one of the considerable reason.
Indigo dyes are used mainly in yarn for types of denim for getting the specific color of jeans/ denim and differently washed and bleached to achieve various wash down effects later on after dyeing and making garments out of that.
Pigments are used for printing the cotton dyed or bleached fabrics.