How to Prevent Fabric Colour Bleeding

How to Prevent Fabric Colour Bleeding

One of the worst laundry moments you can experience is putting a brand new garment into the wash for the first time, then taking it out and seeing to your horror that the fabric has bled dye onto other parts of the garment (or other items in the machine). Along with colour bleeding, there’s also fading and crocking to worry about.

Crocking or color transfer occurs when you run fabric against something, like furniture, skin, or shoes. This happens when dye hasn’t properly fixed to the fabric.

Colour bleeding happens when the fabric gets wet and dye drains out of the fabric. This usually happens when you wash your clothes in automatic machines or washing machine and result in colour transfer between items in the load.

Colour fading happens when the fabric has lost most of the colour and become less vibrant and attractive.

There are multiple reasons why fabric may crock, bleed, and fade. Some of them are listed below:

  • Poor quality of dye used for colouring fabric
  • Incorrect dying technique applied by the vendor
  • Incorrect dye used for the type of fabric
  • Excessive dye used and left over onto fabric and not rinsed thoroughly during the dying process
  • The manufacturer has not applied mordant or fixture to bind the dye on fabric
  • The mordant has washed out of the fabric when you use hot water
  • Wear and tear i.e. friction between fabrics can cause micro-breakage in the fibers
  • Bleaching can be caused by the fabric’s exposure to bleach products, sun, or heat

How to prevent such things?

  • You can treat your fabrics with a color fixative. Dye fixtures help reduce colour bleeding in fabrics where dye has not been adhered properly.
  • Wash same coloured clothes at a time and never wash new clothes in that laundry. The mordants or chemical fixers used for holding the dye to the fiber can be depleted if you wash them often.
  • Wash with cold water because hot water opens up the fibers and this helps dye to escape and run.
  • The friction happens during wash cycle can result in micro-breakage in the fiber.
  • You can wash clothes like jeans and less dirty laundry for a few minutes. Gentle cycle will help reduce friction.
  • Never leave wet clothes sitting in the machine for longer time to prevent color leaching.
  • You can re-dye your faded clothes using home dye-kits available in the market.


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