Tips For When Your Laundry Bleeds

Written by lillian teague
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Tips For When Your Laundry Bleeds
Heat drying laundry with colour bleeding sets the bleeding into the fabric. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

There is nothing worse than placing a white shirt in the laundry and getting a pink one out. Colour bleeding occurs when dyes transfer from one piece of clothing to another. This often happens with new clothes in dark or bright colours. Not only does laundry bleed ruin the stained clothing, but it also fades the bleeding clothing. Preventing and knowing how to reverse colour bleeding helps save clothes and money.


Sorting places like pieces of clothing together for separate loads of laundry. By placing all white fabrics with all other white fabrics, you eliminate any colour that may bleed into the whites. Light colours can often safely go together in a cold or warm load because they are less likely to bleed. Wash lightly soiled, bright colours in cold water to prevent bleeding. New clothing should be washed separately with like colours. For example, wash a brand new red T-shirt with other pinks and reds. If the dye does bleed, the other clothes will not be affected.

Testing for Colorfastness

The Southern Illinois University student newspaper "The Alestle" recommends checking clothes for colour fastness by placing a wet cotton swab on the inner seam of a coloured garment. If it doesn't bleed onto the cotton swab, chances are that it will not bleed into the laundry. If it does bleed, "The Alestle" suggests washing it in cold water by itself.

Immediately Drying

Textile Industry Affairs suggests drying clothes immediately to prevent the colour from one damp garment transferring onto another damp garment. A red T-shirt does not have to be washed with a white shirt to damage it. Left touching each other, the bleeding red T-shirt transfers colour spots and streaks onto the white.

Immediately Re-Wash

When you first discover that colour has bled in your laundry, do not dry it. Drying sets the dye into the stained fabric. Immediately separate out the stained garments, pretreat with a stain remover and wash in warm water. If stained whites do not return to their previous white colour, use a commercial colour remover according to package directions.

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