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HomeBusiness TipsWhat Are Lab Dips in the Garment Manufacturing Industry?

What Are Lab Dips in the Garment Manufacturing Industry?

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A lab dip is a dyed fabric sample that is made to match the standards of any designer’s requirements. The lab dip evaluates the vendor’s ability to match colours, which gives buyers and customers the confidence to place big orders.

When a textile or fabric is used to make a garment or another textile product, a lab dip creates a small sample of that material. A textile dying mill or dye house will generate a lab dip and utilise it to match the desired hue the customer has requested. 

A lab dip is a dyed cloth or yarn swatch created for colour-approval clothing. The method is applied in the lab for colouring textiles. 

In this instance, the buyer submits the dyed sample and requests that the vendor dye it precisely to match it in their lab. Under the suitable lightbox (lightbox is used to see how colours in fabrics look in different light settings), a suitable dye is applied to the buyer’s sample. 

Lightbox plays an essential role in the development of lab dip. 

Did you know?

Before finalising the shade, the supplier sends a couple of shade options to the buyer for approval. This is to make the dip close to the standard. 

What Are Lab Dips?

A fabric sample test dyed to meet a colour standard is called a lab dip. Multiple lab dips can be submitted for feedback until the standard is met and the lab dip is authorised. A review of lab dips is done in a “lightbox”. 

A lightbox is a device with multiple lighting options to examine your dip under different conditions. Its interior is painted a neutral, colourless grey to prevent distorting the dip’s colour.

Typically, a business will choose one light source (like “daylight”) as its default so that the same source at the factory and the home office illuminates the lab. The person in charge of examining lab dips will then make remarks like “too dark, too red, make lighter, greener” until the standard is met. 

Scrutinise your lab dip, then contrast it with your colour standard after receiving it. Remember that laboratory dips are often TINY, measuring about 2 cm by 2 cm (less than 1 inch). You can even receive a larger sample, but typically they are microscopic, necessitating critical inspection.

The same input is also provided by a ” spectrometer ” device used to read lab dips. Since no two people perceive colour equally, a machine can eliminate human error.

Labs use many matching algorithms. These are as follows:

  • Tube light matching
  • Sunlight matching
  • Ultra Violet matching
  • Sodium light matching

The outcomes of the matchings above will vary. For instance, a lab dip that matches the original under tube light will look different outside. Therefore, lab dips must be created using the buyer’s matching system.

Types of Illumination Used For Dips

1. D65: Simulates natural daylight and is also the most widely used lighting in the fashion industry.

2. D50: A slightly less bright daylight source.

3. CWF: Cool white fluorescent light, such as found in Target or Walmart department stores.

4. UV: UV lighting to identify brighteners plus differences in fluorescent pigment.

5. U30: Warm white fluorescent light.

Procedure for Making Lab Dips in the Laboratory Using Different Dyestuffs

As the fabric serves as the primary raw material for clothing, matching the fabric’s colour to the desired outfit is crucial before mass-producing clothing. Before producing large quantities, fabric makers typically send lab dip samples to the customers for approval. 

In most cases, lab dip will assist in visualising the final cloth colour following mass production. 

The following describes the lab dip development process for 100% cotton fabric:

Step 1: Determine the recipe’s calculations.

Step 2: Check the weight of the fabric.

Step 3: Take the beaker and place the fabric inside.

Step 4: Then, add colours, chemicals, and necessary amounts of water to the beaker using a digital pipette.

Step 5: After that, add salt to the beaker after weighing it with an electric balance.

Step 6: Place the beaker in the lab dyeing apparatus and let it dye.

Step 7: Begin the dyeing program for 60 minutes at 60 °C (the dyeing time and temperature depend on the dyes used for the dyeing process).

Step 8: Add the soda ash using a pipette after 30 minutes.

Step 9: Rerun the program for the following 30 minutes at the same temperature.

Step 10: Remove a sample from the beaker and wash it with hot and cold water after the dyeing process.

Step 11: Next, use an acid wash to neutralise.

Step 12: Then soap it for 10 minutes at a temperature of 90°C.

Step 13: The fabric will become chilly once more.

Step 14: Next, dry the lab dip and contrast it with the standard.

Also Read: Why Does Fruitcake Last So Long? [Manufacturing Process Explained]

Colour Matching in Lab Dip

The provider should try to match the lab dip or colour standard as closely as feasible to the specific dye lot. However, no two dye lots are the same colour. A commercial match to the customer’s hue will be made from a unique dye batch. 

A commercial match is a tone comparable to the colour standard but slightly darker or lighter. 

A fabric colour-matching cabinet machine can identify colour differences between the production lot sample and the standard one. This device evaluates colour visually in a regulated and controlled setting. 

It enables one to assess colour samples under various lighting conditions. 

  • Colour matching is created distinctively using unique procedures and standards.
  • The colour of the dyes used to create fabric varies in different ways.


Goals of Lab Dip Approval Clothing

The goals of lab-dip-approved clothing will be thoroughly examined from both the buyer’s and the fabric supplier’s/dyeing plant’s perspectives:

1. From the Buyer’s Viewpoint

The lab dip should be developed to ensure the design is manufactured according to the appropriate colours. Before moving forward with the actual production of the garment, the designer must examine how the colour and shade appear. 

Lap dips are okay if the designer loves the colour. 

The supplier often arranges the lab dip for the customer. A few shade selections are supplied to the buyer for approval during lab dip submission. 

This is so that the buyer can choose the fabric substrate closest to your colour standard by seeing its proper colour (best colour).

The buyer approves the fabric and requests sample creation using the original fabric and original fabric shade after receiving the correct lap dip (matching fabric colour shade).

The shades in the bulk fabric will differ from the colour standard or the approved fabric lab dip swatch. In this situation, suppliers must obtain approval for all hues before using them for manufacturing garments.

2. From the Viewpoint of a Fabric Supplier or Dyeing Facility

They must demonstrate that they have dyed the fabric in the specified shade despite creating any colour or shade. During the lab dip process, the dyeing plants create the dying recipe for the desired colours on the fabric.

Different types of dyes are used for different types of fabrics and colour development. The dyeing unit knows about the dye used in mass production. If they can create it in their lab using sample fabric, they can assure their clients (garment manufacturers) that they can create the same colour when dyeing large quantities of fabric.

The acceptance of lab dips is a routine step in the sourcing of clothing. 

Process Flow for Lab Dips

Lab dip is crucial to the dyeing process. The lab dip development procedure depends on the bulk dyeing process.

The lab dip management process flow is as follows:

1. Lab Test:  Request for a lab test from the buyer
2. Colour Combination:  Accessing the computer and determining the sample’s potential colour combinations either manually or with the help of a spectrophotometer
3. Trial Dyeing (First recipe): A Swatch/Pantone number identifies the first recipe. It is ready for trial dyeing.
4. First Amendment: It is done by Spectrophotometer or manually.
5. Second Amendment: It is also done by Spectrophotometer or manually.
6. Sample Grading (A, B, C, and D): The grading of each recipe.
7. Sample Checking: The buyer sends a knit and yarn sample
8. Buyer’s approval: Declaration or approval by the buyer
9. Production Request: Request for large production
10. Final Approval: Sending a production card with an approved recipe and sample.

Also Read: Fiberglass Material Manufacturing: Types, Properties and Applications

Process Flow of Making an Order After Lab Dip Approval

The following are the steps to follow after lab dip approval to make an order:

Step 1: Approval of lab dips or samples. (It is sent using an express service like DHL, UPS, FedEx, TNT, etc.)
Step 2: When the contract for the lab dip samples is signed, the client makes the deposit to the supplier.
Step 3: The bulk production of the lab dip is developed.
Step 4: Approval of the shipping sample is completed and is ready to ship.
Step 5: Setting up a balanced payment is the next step.
Step 6: Payment arrangements are often T/T and L/C at sight, although they should be negotiated beforehand.
Step 7: The last step is the shipping of the lab dips.


In conclusion, lab dips are crucial components of the clothing production business. They ensure that dye houses or textile mills can reproduce precise colour standards. 

The procedure entails producing a sample of coloured fabric subjected to multiple feedback iterations until it satisfies the need. A lightbox is used to check lab dips. 

Several forms of lighting, including D65, D50, CWF, UV, and U30, are utilised to assess the fabric under various circumstances. 

The calculation of the cloth weight, the addition of colours and chemicals, and the dyeing, washing, and neutralising processes are all steps in the construction of a lab dip. To match the dye lot as close as possible to the customer’s hue, a special colour-matching technique is used that adheres to specific requirements. 

Overall, lab dips assure consumers they must place significant orders and guarantee that the fabric’s colour will remain constant during production.

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