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How to Prevent Colour Bleeding

Do you want to learn how to set unstable fabric dyes at home and prevent colour bleeding? Learn what you can and can't do to prevent dye transfer and bleeding.


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How to Prevent Colour Bleeding
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When tie-dyeing was a thing, we all wanted our clothing to have a variety of colours mixing into each other to create a groovy, hippy colour burst. But, if you’re not tie-dyeing anymore, then colour bleeding is an annoying problem that can get even the hardiest of laundry specialist down.

We’ve got a few tricks on how to stop dye from bleeding out of fabrics during the wash cycle. Read more for simple, easy tips to help prevent colour bleeding.

What is Colour Bleeding?

Colour bleeding generally occurs when you wash the light-coloured clothing with coloured and dark clothing. It’s happened to all of us, hasn’t it?

One or two white socks or undergarments find their way into the coloured pile and after washing your white garment has gone a rather bright shade of pink! Colour bleeding is when dye from coloured clothing – mainly red, pink, and orange – runs out of the fibres of the clothing into the water. The light fabric then is mixed with the coloured water too and the dye gets into the fibres of that fabric too, turning it a shade of whatever colour has been leached out of the fabrics.

Is colour bleeding in clothes not your only problem? Are dye stains and other tough stains getting you down? Read our blog on How to Remove Dye Stains from Clothes to learn more.

How to Prevent Colour Bleeding During Washing?

There are two main ways to stop colours running in the wash:

Wash Like Colours Together

Never wash lights or whites with coloured or dark clothing. That is rule number 1. White clothes with white clothes. Brights clothes with bright clothes and darker coloured clothes with dark clothes. It’s simple and always the most effective method on how to stop dye running.

Use Cold Water

Cold water helps to prevent the fabrics of the clothing from opening up as much to allow the colour to run. Hot water makes fabrics more malleable and enables the colour to run more. Wash like-colours together on cold water cycles for best results.

Can Detergents Help to Prevent Colour Bleeding?

Whilst detergents and fabric conditioners can’t prevent colour bleeding, they can be used to help lock in the colour of your garments. The Comfort Perfume Deluxe Range of fabric conditioners make use of pro-fibre technology that helps to maintain the integrity of the colour in the fibres of your clothing, helping the colour to stay locked in for longer.

For more clothing care tips such as these, visit Cleanipedia.

Frequently asked questions on Colour Bleeding

What is colour bleeding in clothes?

When the colour or dye of an article of clothing bleeds out of the fibres of the garment during washing and colours or stains a white article of clothing, this is colour bleeding.

How to prevent dye transfer stains from coloured clothes?

Prevent dye transfer stains or colour bleeding by washing like colours together, always. Never wash lights with colours or darks. And try and wash on cold cycles as often as possible.

Can dye stains be removed?

If clothing has been stained by dye or by colour bleeding, it can be fixed if you pre-treat the garment and rewash it. Pre-treating the garment using a pre-wash detergent or a mixture of white vinegar and water should do the trick.

How do you know if clothes will bleed?

Certain fabrics are more prone to colour bleeding than others. Dyed silks and natural fabrics like cotton and linen generally bleed. It’s best to test a fabric type before washing it to see if its going to bleed. Try handwashing a garment you think will bleed first, to check.

Can vinegar remove colour bleed?

To use vinegar to remove colour bleed, add 1 cup of white vinegar to your laundry load and run through a normal cycle. If the bleeding has not stopped after one cycle, try adding another cup of vinegar to the load and running it again.

Originally published