Laundry Woes

If you’ve ever had a garment bleed dye onto other garments in your laundry’s wash load, you know how frustrating and costly it can be. This fall, when shopping for school clothes for my daughter, she chose this really cool pair of skinny jeans in this awesome turquoise color. The color was really intense, which was what made her choose that specific pair.

Before school started, I removed all tags from the new wardrobe pieces and washed them all so they would be ready and waiting on the first day of school. Following washing instructions, I put in a load of laundry. Upon removing this load from the washer, I was upset to see that the new turquoise jeans had bled heavily on two other pieces of laundry from the load of new clothes, putting large, ugly stains all over them.

I immediately sprayed the two pieces with a stain pre-treater and re-washed in cold, as you should never dry a garment that has had dye bleed onto it, or it will set the stain permanently. Unfortunately, this did not do the trick for me. The stains were still there, with no real noticeable difference.

When recently searching online for possible fixes for the problem, I found a few suggestions on They suggest adding one cup of salt or vinegar to the wash water before adding detergent or clothing to the washing machine to avoid bleeding of dyes. If you do encounter a dye bleed stain on your laundry, it is recommended to re-wash the garment in cold water without drying first. Then, if needed, the stain can be treated with one of these methods. Try a 30-minute soak in either salt water or vinegar. Use one cup salt to one half gallon of lukewarm water, or try one half cup vinegar to equal parts water.

Another relatively new laundry product that is supposed to prevent color bleeding is Shout Color Catcher sheets. They are supposed to allow you to basically wash anything and everything together, without worrying about colors running. I have never personally tried these, but I would still go through the process of separating my laundry into lights and darks regardless of if I were using this product or not.

As far as my laundry problem, I was not aware of these suggestions at the time this incident occurred . I tried hairspray (which usually works on ink stains) and anything else I could think of and was still left with a stain. I wish I had found the article on eHow a few months ago, but I think I still might give these methods a try. I ended up having to go out and purchase replacement items of the same two garments, which really upset me after so much money had been spent on new clothing already.

Beware of what I would consider unusually dark or brightly colored garments. What I found with these turquoise jeans was that they were so heavily dyed that even after repeated washings alone, as I wasn’t taking the chance of them bleeding again, the water would always run a vibrant turquoise even after the rinse cycle. It took multiple washings for the water to run clear enough for me to even consider throwing these jeans in with other clothing. Finally, after all the turquoise was washed out them, they were basically just a plain blue pair of jeans. Rather disappointing considering we bought them because of the vibrant turquoise color to begin with. I am thinking that these were made as regular colored dark blue jeans, the dyed over in the turquoise color, which is most likely why the colors did not lock in correctly. I recommend washing these type of garments alone for the first several washings, to ensure the safety of your other garments.

So, now my daughter is left with a plain pair of skinny jeans that don’t bleed all over the other clothes in the load, because they no longer have their bright color. Always look for any indication of bleeding color warnings on garment care labels, or use your own judgement if you have an “overly dyed” looking garment. Some garments will actually deposit a bit of color on furniture or other surfaces if not washed before wear. Always follow water temperatures and other fabric care instructions. You still might wind up with a piece from time to time that will shed it’s dye in the wash cycle, so if you do, be sure to follow the above mentioned tips that may help to save your clothing.

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