Use Salt to Prevent Bleeding Fabric Dye

A South American woven rug with bright colors.
Setting the dye in fabric can prevent a lot of anguish later. There is some controversy as to the effectiveness of trying to set commercial dyes. Try adding salt to water and soak the garment. Rinse and repeat until no more dye bleeds into the water. This is a page about using salt to prevent bleeding fabric dye.

Gold Post Medal for All Time! 523 Posts
January 9, 2018

A South American woven rug with bright colors.I love my old jeans I wear for gardening. Too bad they see a lot of wear and tear. With our weather never getting above freezing for weeks on end, now is a good time to get out needle and thread and do some patching.

Many years ago I worked in the manufacturing of ladies apparel. I kept some remnant strips of imported cloth that was hand woven by South American Indians. I believe they were descendants of the Aztecs.

Beautiful cloth. I got it out to wash, iron, shape, cut into squares, and bind the edges. I would patch my jeans with this one of a kind treasure.


After washing, I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed. The water was black no matter how many times I rinsed the cloth. Then I remembered something from the time I was a teenager.

The mother of my teenage sweetheart made moccasins from looper clips. You may have never seen these, but you may have seen pot holders made from looper clips. The link below will give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

The second largest industry in my hometown was knitting, so my girl friend's mother got all the looper clips she could use for free. She dyed them different colors, crocheted them into moccasins and sold the moccasins for two dollars a pair.

I remember she told me she used Rit dye and that it would bleed for several washings. She said she could stop the bleeding by adding salt to the rinse water.


Well, I decided to try salt on my beautiful, hand woven remnants. After adding the salt, the rinse water was practically clear. The next rinse water was clear. The old gal was good for something besides wanting me to marry her daughter as soon as she turned sixteen!

You might want to keep this in mind should you dye cloth at home or if you have a garment that bleeds. But, bleeding cloth is not always a bad thing. How many of you remember 'Bleeding Madras'? In the sixties, all the boys had to have shirts made of bleeding madras. I wore a few myself.

Those were the days.


Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 2


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 523 Posts
January 9, 20180 found this helpful

When I typed in the above link, it contained pictures. For some reason, it no longer does. The following link should show you even better pictures.


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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 267 Posts
January 10, 20180 found this helpful

It should work now! :)

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 523 Posts
January 10, 20180 found this helpful

I have scoured the Internet looking for a picture of moccasins made from looper clips (loopers). If anyone has a picture they've taken of them, I sure would appreciate them posting the picture here,


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