How to keep colors from bleeding

Although the color of the clothing may never seem to change, some dyes bleed slightly each time you wash them. As a warning, manufacturers are required to list instructions on care labels, which tell you to wash items that are likely to bleed in a separate cycle. This is to help you keep the clothing that doesn’t bleed from picking up color left in the wash water by the garments that do.

While an ordinary consumer won’t know whether a fabric’s dye will bleed during laundering, you can become aware of how to properly care for your clothing and prevent the issue from happening as frequently. 

Sort your clothing – Separate and wash clothing together that has similar hues, or may potentially bleed, as much as possible. By sorting your clothing, you will help your light-colored garments avoid getting darker dyes on them, which turns them a dull pink or dingy gray. Sorting also protects clothing from shrinking, pilling, and tearing. 

Follow the instructions on care labels – Care labels are put onto clothing tags to provide you with instructions on how to properly care for the garment, along with explanations of terms and symbols used. Disregarding care labels can cause a garment to be cleaned poorly as well as become damaged.  

Be mindful of how you wash – Treating your fabric improperly by overcrowding it into the machine, using harsh detergents and bleaches, and washing it in hard water can cause the fibers to break and the dye to be released. 

Turn clothing inside out – Turning garments inside out helps protect the outer fibers from wearing down, causing the inside fibers (that no one sees) to become more worn. 
Avoid washing clothing in hot water – Many individuals believe that, to get your clothes cleaned and sanitized, you must use hot water every time you wash your garments. Not only is this untrue, but it’s also damaging to your clothing. Hot water opens up fibers in the clothing, which releases dye, while cold water helps keep them closed, trapping the dye to help prevent color bleeding. 

An exception to this rule is sheets and towels, especially during cold and flu season. Washing them on a warm/hot cycle can help sanitize them and reduce dust mites, although darker-colored sheets can fade more quickly. 

Commercial color catchers – If you’re still concerned that your clothing will bleed when you wash it, try using a color-catching sheet to prevent dye transfers from happening. Similar in appearance to fabric softener sheets, they are designed to be like little dye magnets that catch loose dyes in the wash water before they can be transferred onto other clothing. 

When shopping for new clothing, try looking at the labels of items you want to purchase. If the labels include instructions that say “Color May Wash Down,” “Color Rubs Off,” “Do Not Use Detergent,” “Wash before Wear,” “Use Cold Water,” or “Turn Inside Out to Launder,” these can be indications that the colors may bleed when washing. 

Now that you know ways to prevent your clothing dyes from bleeding, you want to make sure you are not putting your clothes at risk by using insufficient machines. If it’s time to add or replace your washing machine, see what Appliance Warehouse can do for you! 

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