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Setting Dye on Clothing and Fabric

Category Advice
Setting Clothing Dye
Whether your clothes are brand new or you have done some dyeing, it is important to set the color. This guide is about setting clothing dye.
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Solutions

Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

December 13, 20044 found this helpful

When you wash dark clothes for the first time - use cold water and put salt in the water. The salt helps set the color. When I want to brighten dark clothes after they have been washed several times, I repeat the procedure (salt in cold water when washing).

Lou

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July 31, 20082 found this helpful

Use 2 Tbsp. turpentine and 1 small handful of salt. Pour boiling water over this mixture. Put garment or cloth in and saturate. Let it soak until the water gets cold.

By Anne from Fernley, NV

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June 17, 20170 found this helpful

Some types and colors of clothing dye are more likely to bleed in the wash. There are some products you can use to prevent bleeding. This is a guide about setting colors in clothing so they don't bleed.

Colorful clothing in a washing machine.

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June 17, 20170 found this helpful

When making tie-dyed clothing an important step before you finish the project is to set the dye. This is a guide about setting the dye when making tie-dye clothing.

Swirl pattern tie dye shirt.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

September 15, 20142 found this helpful

Many people recommend either vinegar or salt, but no one ever says "how much" to put in a washer load or even in a big pot. Will some one please give us that information in a usable form? Do you put in a cup or a whole gallon bottle of vinegar or a whole box of salt?

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By Karahana

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Answers

September 16, 20141 found this helpful

I have always put one cup of salt in the water. I've never tried using vinegar, so I don't know how much of it to put in. Also, after I've dyed the fabric (using the clothes washer) I run them through another washing cycle using cold water before putting them in the dryer. It seems to make the dye last longer. Good luck to you!

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January 30, 20050 found this helpful

Does anyone know how to stop color bleeding from clothes when washing them. Is there any way to stabilize the colored fabric so it will no longer run? Hoping someone has answer for me and thanks in advance if you do.

Dinnie from Tampa

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Answers

January 31, 20050 found this helpful

If you put a cup of vinegar in your wash water it will reduce color runoff onto other fabrics. Just make sure that you do not add chlorine bleach, as it will cause a chemical reaction.

Wendy

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 31, 20050 found this helpful

I wash only with cold water, which means no running colours. If I have to use warm I add salt to the water. Susan from Hamilton

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 31, 20051 found this helpful

When i worked in a children's clothing store, we always told the customers to soak clothing that had the potential to run (like bright reds) in a solution of 1/2 cup vinegar per 1 gallon of water for 30 minutes before washing. Supposedly any dye that would come out should be taken care of by this, and the rest of the dye would be set - though I've never tried it personally, I never had any customers come back complaining.

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 31, 20050 found this helpful

Saok clothes in heavely salted water before washing.

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 31, 20050 found this helpful

If I remember correctly, adding salt to the water sets the color.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 1, 20050 found this helpful

The first time I wash a new item that I don't want to fade, I wash it in cold water with just salt - probably a cup of salt. I will wash several items in the salt at once and I've never had problems with them fading on each other. I also wash all of my clothes in cold water and nothing else. If I want to kill germs, I run the items through the wash with liquid lysol and then again with regular detergent.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 4, 20050 found this helpful

Call your nearest quilt shop. I can't remember the name but, you use a little of it in a bucket with water and the items and IT WILL NEVER RUN AGAIN. I wish I could remember the name. I need some more.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 15, 20050 found this helpful

I disagree will a lot of these statements. I've bought clothing, and after around the 5th time I ever wash my items, the clothing turns colors....ei: My brown shirt turned orange, my baby blue shirt turned pink. They never showed any signs of bleeding until that wash, I always use cold water and have never used bleach in my washing machine.

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 16, 20052 found this helpful

To keep colors from bleeding use: 1/2 Tablespoon salt and 1/2 Cup of White vinegar to 1/2 gal (2 qts.) of cold water. Soak for 1 hour, rinse and repeat if necessary. One item at a time will make it easier to check if it will be necessary to repeat the process.

Reply Was this helpful? 2
By guest (Guest Post)
January 5, 20060 found this helpful

There is a product called Bright White that reverses colors that have run, stops running and removes yellow from under arm area (if it's not too bad).

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By guest (Guest Post)
April 28, 20060 found this helpful

Do you think I would ruin a pair of white linen (55%) and rayon (45%) capris that says to dry clean only by washing them?. They are lined with polyester and have some decorative black stitching on the bottom.

Thank you.

JJ

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 28, 20060 found this helpful

Retayne is the product that is supposed to stop bleeding. I haven't tried it as it has formaldehyde in it.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 9, 20070 found this helpful

In the laundry section of the grocery, you can buy a box of sheets called Color-Catcher. Although the box says to use a new one each wash, we use them again and again and again. I only toss it when it doesn't have a real color left in it (even navy or brown) and it is dark and dingy. I wash all clothes worn close to the body in warm water (even my delicates) because cold water doesn't clean them well enough. Haven't had any color bleeding except to the Color Catcher sheet!

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 11, 20070 found this helpful

Well i am using the salt and vinegar treatment in cold water for an hour on a brand new pair of 501s. We'll see how it works.

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 19, 20070 found this helpful

My black bled into my white in my black and white cotton coat...now it is grey and black. What can I do to restore the white to white and not fade out the black?

ayaba 11 @ aol . com

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
January 29, 20080 found this helpful

I washed a red and white uniform in cold water and on the hand-wash cycle.The white is now pink... I am desperate! Is there a chance to get the pink back to white?

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 29, 20080 found this helpful

Salt! Soak the offending clothes in very salty water, then remove them and spin. You may need to repeat several times but it does work. It is also possible to remove the colour run off from clothes by doing this. Also washing alike colours together prevents the problem somewhat.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 1, 20080 found this helpful

The product used for quilts to stop color bleeding is called Grandma's Secret Spot Remover.

I found mine at Keepsake Quilting.com

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 9, 20080 found this helpful

I am going to try Bright White, based on the above advice. The white collar on my favorite red rugby shirt has pink streaks, even though I washed it in cold water with a cup of vinegar. I will also try the salt trick in the future. Thanks.

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June 11, 20131 found this helpful

I brought a pair of flannelette sheets, they have been washed twice.
When you sweat at night the dye comes out on your skin. Any idea how to stop it?

By Val S from Deception Bay, Qld

Answer Was this helpful? 1
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By 1 found this helpful
April 26, 2016

How do you prepare a color guard product at home? I want to make a product that would prevent the dyes from mixing with water and spreading into other white clothes.

I was told vinegar with glycerin is an ideal combination. Can anybody help?

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By 0 found this helpful
August 7, 2015

I've worn this black knit dress twice. Every time I wear it the dye rubs off, onto nail color, fingers, and skin. Help! It's awful. What can I wash this dress in to prevent this?

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October 24, 20130 found this helpful

I've just bought a red wool and cashmere coat, with a patterned, red polyester lining. I didn't notice the disclaimer label, when I bought it, stating you should not get it moist or damp, avoid contact with light fabrics, upholstery, or accessories. What can I do to prevent it bleeding? I really like the coat.

By Rosemary from Nottingham, UK

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By 0 found this helpful
April 14, 2013

I recently bought a red cardigan and when I wore it, it transferred the red dye onto my white t-shirt. I have managed to remove the red dye from the t- shirt, but I am wondering is there a way I can stabilise the dye in the cardigan to prevent it transferring to my other clothing when worn together.

By yvie

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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February 13, 20140 found this helpful

I'm knitting an afghan for my grandson who's going to Michigan State. The colors are dark green and white. The yarn is 75% acrylic and 25% wool. Is there anything I can do before I give it to him to prevent the dark green from running?

By Betty

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July 17, 20130 found this helpful

How do you keep the colour in the shirt when you wash it? Is there something you can spray on it to hold it in the fabric?

By Ellen S

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By 0 found this helpful
July 20, 2009

How do you set dye in a silk garment? I would like to use old thin silk blouses to make a quilt. Some of them just run and run every time I wash them. What kind of dye does the manufacturers use for these silks? I have tried white vinegar, but it didn't work. Will the dryer or ironing help set it?

By Gorius from Gilroy, CA

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March 3, 20150 found this helpful

My daughter bought a material school bag from a surf shop. It is yellow. The problem is that from sweating, the yellow from the straps has come onto her white school shirt. How will I stop the yellow dye from the bag staining her shirt?

By Kat

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November 5, 20140 found this helpful

I received an old sweater that was my grandfather's. It was originally white and his mother dyed it red, I'm sure with some kind of cheap home-dyeing kit, maybe Rit. I washed the sweater because it was dusty and it's bled and bled red dye everywhere. I've read about soaking in salt; does that actually work? Any other tips for setting the dye? I'm willing to do some experimenting. The sweater isn't particularly beautiful or complicated work, so it's more of a sentiment thing. Any help is appreciated!

By CG

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By 0 found this helpful
September 24, 2013

My brother bought a white cotton tunic with a red cotton cross stitched on it. Is there any way to wash it without the red bleeding on the white?

By N.Hale

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September 15, 20130 found this helpful

I made an organic dye using flowers, but the color changes when i wash using detergent. How do I make the color permanent? The color of the dye originally was light red, but when I wash it in detergent, it turns blue. If I soak it in vinegar, it turns back to the original color again. How do I let the original color stay even when washing? Please help. Thanks

By Marie from Philippines

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May 1, 20130 found this helpful

What can I use to set the dye on a purchased skirt so I can wash it safely?

By Patty

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February 2, 20120 found this helpful

My niece bought me a homemade swimsuit cover from Cuba. It's red with cream knit edging. When I put it on the red stained my skin right away. What can I do to stop the red from going on to my skin? It's a beautiful top and I don't want to ruin it. Please help.

By Kristen

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November 29, 20140 found this helpful

Every time I buy new sheets they go patchy in the first few washes and even change color. I have had 2 sets of sheets that were a duck egg green that changed to more of a blue after washing. I follow all the instructions, cold water wash and dissolve wash powered before adding sheets. I have hard water and no access to hot water for my washing machine just cold.

By Sandra

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
September 10, 2014

How to set the dye in a new handmade quilt?

By Bea from Reston, MB

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March 26, 20140 found this helpful

How do I prevent black bleeding into white on new black and white striped dress?

By Amanda E from Orange Park, FL

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

December 20, 20130 found this helpful

I have a jean sweat jacket and the blue dye got all over me. It's new, but I washed it once. How can I stop the dye from coming out?

By Jillian

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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