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Setting Dye on Clothing and Fabric

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

December 13, 20043 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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October 24, 20160 found this helpful

You should have received an email when you signed up for an account. To verify your email, just click on the link, which will take you to ThriftyFun and mark your email as verified. If you don't see the email from us, check your spam folder to see if it went there. You can have another verification email sent from your account settings.

Please send me a message if you need any further help.

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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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December 4, 20160 found this helpful

This is VERY successful. I used it on Tomato Red Polo shirt which bled EVERY TIME.. even a drop of water made it bleed. Now I can was in cold water with whites and red polo shirt without a care in the world !

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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, 20141 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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July 14, 20160 found this helpful

I have soaked my black jeans in vinegar to keep them from fading and it has definitely worked. I've submerged them in a mostly (or at least 50%) vinegar mixture and left them in there for hours (sometimes 12-24).

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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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Anonymous
May 31, 20160 found this helpful

Salt

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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
June 13, 20130 found this helpful

In my experience: If you wash the sheets by themselves in hot water setting of your clothes washer and add a cup of vinager to the cycle. Dry them in the hottest dryer setting you have, then it will set the dye in the fabric. Please let us know if it works for you.

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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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August 9, 20150 found this helpful

Table salt will also set some dyes. If vinegar doesn't work. Don't use both at the same time.

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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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November 11, 20080 found this helpful

Hi, I have a dress that has 3 colours on it. The base is white and it has one line of red fabric and one line of black fabric across it. The red from the fabric runs and the dress has turned pink. I have tried soaking it in cold water twice for days already but the colour worsens . I've tried most of your advice (ie salt vinegar and cold water treatment) but it has been stained to dark pink! I need help!

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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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October 26, 20130 found this helpful

If you really like the coat and think its worth it, why not change the lining to a fabric which wont bleed? I know some dry cleaners in the u.k. would do the alteration for you for a fee. if you know how to sew yourself, then just unpick the lining and use it as a pattern.

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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

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Anonymous
May 17, 20160 found this helpful

Shout colour catchers

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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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March 5, 20140 found this helpful

I do this with all my cottons... I think it would work for wool if you take the necessary precautions in drying it. I rinse all my cotton fabrics in cold salt water and then rinse the salt away in cold water then dry in the dryer. My mama did this with all my fabric she used to make my school clothes when I was a little kid. I am allergic to wool so I don't use it but I'm sure you can move from my cold salt rinse to whatever method you use to dry it.

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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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March 4, 20150 found this helpful

Check this out: http://www.joan  nce/2181311.html

and read the reviews! I have not used this product but it sounds like it might work. I have used the old vinegar and salt tricks in the past... worked some time, not so much other times. The kind of fabric matters I think. Good luck!

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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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November 8, 20140 found this helpful

Contact the Rit company for information. i am sure they would have a website. You may be able to find info just by googling "setting dye".

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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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July 19, 20130 found this helpful

The first time you wash it, wash in cold water with a cup of salt and a cup of white vinegar. That should set the color.

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March 10, 20130 found this helpful

I purchased a few hand, tie-dyed tablecloths in China and they bleed very badly! They were done in a small village. How can I set the dye in such a large pieces of fabric. Some are a dark blue and another is orange.

People I know that have purchased them, say the color washes out very dramatically, so they must be washed alone, separately. They do, however, maintain the dark blue color along with the lighter pattern (that is "tied in") remaining as well.

Also, I have a front loading machine that doesn't use a lot of water. Is there a way to set the dye in a large tub or large stainless steel sink? Then wash it in the front loading machine. Or, do I have to go to a laundromat and use a tub machine that fills with a large quantity of water.

By Jan D from St. Paul, MN

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March 19, 20130 found this helpful

You might try the cold water and salt routine - in a large bucket or whatever, fill with cold water and a pound or so of table salt (one of those round boxes). Dissolve the salt, then soak the table cloth in the salt water for an hour or so. Then wash in cold water to rinse out the salt, and dry as usual. Not knowing for sure what the dye is, makes it a little tricky. Good luck!

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0 found this helpful
December 2, 2015

My daughter did some food colouring tie dye yesterday and just loves the bright colours. We did not wash out the dye after, instead we put the clothing on the line to dry and then in the dryer to hopefully set the colours. We did firstly rinse the item in cold salty water. So my question is how can I make the colours hold their brightness? We do not want this to wash out is that possible. Thanks.

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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 28, 20130 found this helpful

Wash it in cold water.

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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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September 23, 20130 found this helpful

You need to use what is known as a mordant with natural dyes. The one I use is washing soda. After dyeing, rinse the fabric in a solution of water and washing soda. Make the dye solution a little stronger or brighter than you actually want. Google natural dyeing to get more.

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June 14, 20130 found this helpful

I used Jacquard brand of tie dye for my swimming suit. I've had it sitting for 15 hours. I tried to rinse a small part of it and it seems the dye is coming right out. Is there something I didn't do right? Should I use salt or vinegar when I rinse? Please help!

By Amy

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July 31, 20130 found this helpful

Most of the Jacquard brand of dyes require heat or chemical setting. Check the package directions. Some color will come out even after treatment. It may be as simple as putting the suit in the dryer to heat treat it. Also be aware not all dyes work on all fabrics.

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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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May 2, 20130 found this helpful

I've heard that soaking it in cold water and salt works. Also I've heard the same for 1 cup of vinegar in cold water. But these methods may not work on cottons.

Rit sells a dye fixative. Maybe try the salt or vinegar, if the fabric still bleeds look into getting a dye fixative.

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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

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0 found this helpful
April 24, 2007

Does anyone know the best way to keep the dye set after doing home Tie-dye t-shirts? I've heard something about salt and something about vinegar. Any other ideas? If using salt or vinegar, how do I use them?

Thanks for input!
Rebecca from IA

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April 25, 20070 found this helpful

I dye wool and what I use is citric acid. You don't have to deal with the smell that way. Two teaspoons full to a 1/2 yd. of wool. The salt is used to pull the dye into the fibers...only a tablespoon to the wool bath. When I used white vinegar, I used about 1/2 cup to a 1/2 yd. of wool. With wool, it takes heat and acid (vinegar or citric acid) to set the color. So, in the pan of water that I bring to a simmer for 40 minutes, these ingred. go. You will have to worry about the srinkage though with simmering the shirts. I wonder what you used for dyes? Good luck.

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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.

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