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Forum > Fabrics and more... > Fabric that bleeds ( Moderated by CynthiaSue)

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Fabric that bleeds
Will it ever stop? How to wash it?
KathleenWH  Friend of PR
Oregon USA
Member since 3/1/09
Posts: 36
Skill: Beginner
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Date: 12/4/11 6:15 PM

I have piece of blue 100% rayon that I made into a scarf, have hand-washed it many times, and it still turns the sink water blue. I also just purchased a yard of dark blue denim, and I'm worried about it bleeding because when I immersed a corner into soapy water as a trial, it also turned the water blue.

Will my scarf ever stop bleeding? Will the blue denim piece eventually stop bleeding if I machine wash it several times?

If I put the denim into the washing machine, are there other fabrics that I could wash at the same time without worrying about any color getting on them -- for example, will the color stick to 100% polyester or 100% nylon fabrics?

I have a bottle of Retayne, but the Retayne manufacturer's instructions say to only use the product in a top loader or else do the fabric in a large pot on the stovetop. I have a front loader machine, and I'd like to avoid having to use the stovetop method.

Thanks for the help!


Marie367  Friend of PR
Ohio USA
Member since 5/28/11
Posts: 4149
Skill: Intermediate
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Date: 12/4/11 6:59 PM

You might try a salt water bath. I have done that after dying things before and that seems to "set" the die. Someone else might have a better solution. I am surprised about the scarf. It does seems a bit unusual for it to keep running like that.

Member since 12/31/69
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Date: 12/4/11 7:50 PM

I use those dye catchers when it happens, tbh. I'm kind of lazy, tho. I'll iron the heck out of something while I'm making it and to wear, but I am awful about the washing part.

stirwatersblue  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/4/11 8:25 PM

I have a friend who is a professional dyer of needlework flosses and fabrics, and she's told me that after a commercial dye process is done, there is nothing you can do at home to further set the color. I guess there's a difference between dyes that aren't set (chemically bonded to the fibers), and just excess dye left in the fabric that continues to rinse out.

The Color Catchers will keep the excess dye from redepositing on the fabric (or other fabrics), but I don't think it will do anything about getting rid of all that the excess dye. You can try to keep rinsing, but I have several pairs of dark wash denim RTW jeans that even after being washed regularly, week after week, still leave my fingertips/nails blue when I wear them, from brushing my hands against my legs/putting them in my pockets, etc.

The Retayne apparently works by adding a coating to the dye to keep it trapped in the fabric, and eventually it will break down (although I've not had that happen). What about a laundromat or a friend's house?

Good luck!
-- Edited on 12/4/11 8:27 PM --

~Gem in the prairie

NancyZL  Friend of PR
New Jersey USA
Member since 6/18/08
Posts: 603
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In reply to KathleenWH

Date: 12/4/11 10:37 PM

Years ago I worked for a large textile company in a legal position where I kept track of small lawsuits/complaints against the company. (The company made fabulous, great quality fabrics.)I'll never forgot one where a woman complained that a new navy blue dress had turned her skin blue while she was wearing the dress!! I was skeptical until my research indicated that blue dye was one of the most unstable. Apparently something had gone wrong with this particular batch of fabric. We settled the case.

Michelle T

Michelle T  Friend of PR
British Columbia CANADA
Member since 8/24/02
Posts: 4659
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Date: 12/4/11 10:44 PM

Back in the 80`s I had a rayon jumpsuit. Everytime I washed it it bled colour. Over a couple years it gradually got lighter and lighter.

Proud parent of a Dwight International School Honour Roll Student

allycovey  Friend of PR
Arkansas USA
Member since 11/16/07
Posts: 1779
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Date: 12/5/11 10:54 AM

I keep that shout dye catcher ever since all my white clothes turned pink for now reason. Since then all my clothes have been much more vibrant.

jenleeC  Friend of PR
Western Australia Australia
Member since 6/4/11
Posts: 1190
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Date: 12/26/11 11:55 PM

My daughter's school sports shirts are white with a navy blue collar and navy blue band across the front and sleeves. I was warned by the uniform shop staff that the colour bleeds and the way to stop this was to do the first wash by hand in a small tub of very cold water with no detergent - I dumped two trays of ice blocks into the water and washed them like that....numb hands but no colour bleeding at all!

After that I just washed them as normal in the machine, gentle cycle, warm wash 40C (100F), and have had no issues.

Maybe you could try this? I have also heard about the salt bath as suggested earlier but have not tried it.

Jenny, Perth, WA

tourist  Friend of PR
British Columbia CANADA
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Date: 12/27/11 4:35 PM

Yes, I had an 80's suit that turned me purple when I wore it. We went to a VERY ritzy, seriously expensive mountaintop restaurant for an anniversary dinner (Michelle will remember the Aerie) and I wore my lovely suit. I nearly walked out on poor DH when I saw they had white damask chair covers. I have never sat so still through a dinner in my life. I was terrified that when I stood up there would be a huge purple bum print there. Thankfully there wasn't. Of course, it never occured to me until a week or so later that I could have just asked for an extra napkin or something to sit on.

------ to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

International AUSTRALIA
Member since 8/24/02
Posts: 3252
Skill: Advanced
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Date: 12/27/11 5:04 PM

In the early 80s I made an edwardian style nightgown with plackets on the neck & sleeve, gathers everywhere etc. It was a lovely dark navy with pink flowers and an awful lot of work for something to sleep in.

The first night I wore it both my sheets and *I* turned blue. The colour just didn't stop running, so I tossed it.

these day's I'd try washing it with RIT colour remover ... after all any chance that work wasn't wasted would be worth trying

Sydney, Australia

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