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Setting Dye on Clothing and Fabric

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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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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).


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July 31, 20083 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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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?


By Karahana

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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


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.


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By Susan from Hamilton (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 Shari (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 Post)
January 31, 20051 found this helpful

Saok clothes in heavely salted water before washing.

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

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

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By Ann4 (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 Rose (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 Tara (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 Daisy (Guest Post)
July 16, 20053 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.

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By Colleen (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 Joy Berry (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.

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By Barbara (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 Barbara (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 alltatteddown (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 Ayaba (Guest Post)
November 19, 20070 found this helpful

My black bled into my white in my black and white cotton 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

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By Tina (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?

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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 Francine (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

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By Jeannie (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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By MELODY (Guest Post)
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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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

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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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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

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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 DeBushe from Gilroy, CA

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