You’ve just bought an awesome new black sweatshirt. After a few days, you chuck it in the washing machine and pull it out an hour later only to find that it has faded. Even worse, it has left everything else in the wash stained with grey. You’ve ruined not only your brand-new sweatshirt but also all the clothes you washed with it!
Colour bleeding happens when the dye in a garment runs off the clothes while they’re wet and stains the water, which then stains other clothes. This tends to happen most often with brightly coloured fabrics. Many popular hacks claim to stop colour-bleed, but not all of them work. Below, we’ll tell you how to stop clothes from bleeding colour. Read on to learn more.
Before washing the garment with other clothes, do a colour test to determine if your garment is colourfast (resistant to colour-bleed). The care label will often tell you if an item will bleed. It may say to wash with similar colours or warn you that the colours may run. If it doesn’t, place the garment in a bucket of soapy water. Let it sit for 30 minutes. If the colour of the water has changed, the garment isn’t colourfast, and it may bleed in the wash. Once you’ve determined an item isn’t colourfast, always wash it separately or with similar colours. If it is colourfast, it can be washed with other items.
Use a Colour Fixative
Treating your fabrics with a colour fixative like Rit Colorstay Dye Fixative will reduce colour bleeding in fabrics where the dye has not been properly fixed or washed out. These dye fixatives can “fix” these loose dyes and prevent further colour-bleed in your fabrics. However, be aware that they are not very effective on polyester and acrylic materials. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions to see what the product calls for.
Use Cool Water
Cool or cold water can prevent colours from bleeding. Hot water tends to open fabric fibres, which encourages the dye to escape and run, while cold water keeps them closed, trapping the dye inside to prevent bleeding. The cold setting on your washing machine will eliminate most problems with colour bleeding and may even help clothes last longer. Make sure you are using a detergent that is designed to perform in cold water.
Reduce Friction in your Laundry Load
Friction is a major factor for clothes bleeding and fading, so use a gentle cycle. This will minimize friction and abrasion, which should rule out any possibility of colour bleeding, especially in cold cycles.
Also, don’t overstuff the washing machine. Wash heavy and delicate clothes separately. Heavy clothes can increase friction in a cycle and transfer their dyes to delicate items.
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