How to Prevent Clothes From Bleeding Color

Written by amanda kondolojy
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How to Prevent Clothes From Bleeding Color
Keep your laundry colours set with some practical tips. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

When colours run or "bleed" in the laundry, it means that some of the dye from darker garments has transferred to lighter colours. The result is discolouration that can range from slight to extreme. Once colour bleeding occurs, there's not much you can do to correct it, and often the affected garments need to be thrown out. However, there are several things you can do to prevent colour bleeding from occurring in the first place.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Washing powder
  • Vinegar
  • Salt

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  1. 1

    Sort your laundry into dark colours, light colours and whites. This reduces the chance for darker colours to run onto light colours, and is the most important step in the war against bleeding colours.

  2. 2

    Wash new clothes by themselves. If you have recently bought new clothes, they may have extra dye or may not be set correctly. Some even have a warning label detailing special laundry care for the first wash. Take precautions by always washing new clothes separately the first time they are washed.

  3. 3

    Soak dark or new clothes in salty water for half an hour. The salty water helps the dye "set," which keeps it on your clothes instead of in the wash water.

  4. 4

    Soften your water with white vinegar. Hard water transfers colours in the wash more easily, but it is easy to soften the water with 1/2 cup of vinegar every time you wash.

  5. 5

    Use "colour catching" products. These products are sold at most grocery stores and absorb dyes that are released in the wash before they can be transferred to other garments.

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