How to Know if Clothes Will Bleed
Everyone has experienced washing a new item of clothing only to find it ruined by color dye running onto other garments. Knowing whether or not clothes will bleed is important for selecting garments, caring for them, and avoiding staining other clothes when washing. Fortunately, there are some tips that can help you determine which garments are safe to put in the wash.
Check the Label
The most accurate way to know whether or not a piece of clothing will bleed is to check the care label. If the item reads “dry clean only”, it is a good idea to avoid machine washing. Furthermore, most garments that are safe to put in the machine will have a symbol on the tag that looks like a small tub with water swirling inside.
Look for Layering
Many garments, like pieces of silk or chiffon, are not dyed one single and consistent color. Unless they are dyed with a technology that bonds the colors, there is a chance of bleeding. Therefore, it is wise to look closely at the fabric to determine if it consists of one solid color or many layers/colors of fabric layered on top of each other.
Apply a White Damp Towel Test
The safest way to test for dye stability is to apply a white cloth with a few drops of water and rub it onto the fabric. If the fabric does not transfer any of the dye to the white cloth, the garment is safe for machine washing.
- Turn Garments Inside Out: When possible, it is a good idea to turn garments inside-out prior to washing. This will help protect the outer layer of the fabric and prevent it from bleeding.
- Sort Clothing: Even garments with a “wash friendly” tag can still bleed. To avoid other clothes becoming a casualty of color running, it is important to separate whites and darks.
- Avoid Hot Water: Unless you are dealing with heavy stains, you should avoid using hot water on colored fabrics. The hot water can make the dye run, resulting in blur stains that are harder to remove.
Learning how to tell if an item of clothing will bleed is an invaluable skill. By being able to distinguish between garments to machine wash and garments to dry clean only, you can ensure that your clothes look their best for as long as possible.