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8 Tips on How to Stop Colour Bleeding from Clothes

When it comes to taking care of your clothes, any little accident can ruin them. Stuff like oil stains, unnecessary tears, colour fading, etc. But the one time a particular top of mine bled into my whites, I knew it was about time I learnt how to stop colour bleeding from clothes. 

You can’t escape it.

There’ll always be that one skirt, pair of pants, wrapper, underwear, or any item of clothing, in general, that has a delicate fabric dye. That’s why we advise that you separate white from other colours when washing because you never can tell when fabric bleeding will happen.

So, when you notice that you’ve got one of these colour bleeding clothes, how do you stop your fabric from bleeding?

Don’t try to wrap your head around it, dear one.

If you read this piece to the end, you’ll learn how to stop colours bleeding from clothes and prolong the lifespan of your clothes.

Ready to learn another fashion hack?

Let’s dive right in.

What is Fabric Bleeding?

Colour bleeding happens when a fabric gets wet and its dye begins to leak out of its fibres. This usually happens when you’re handwashing or machine-washing your clothes.

Fabric bleeding is detrimental to both the bleeding fabric and every other cloth you wash with it. This is because, once the fabric dye leaches out, it transfers colour to other clothes in the water. And to the colour bleeding fabric itself, it loses its shine, and in no time fades.

How to Stop Fabric from Bleeding

You can stop colour bleeding by using any of the following tips:

1. Test Before Washing

fabric bleeding color and fading

Before stacking all your clothes in your machine or bucket filled with water, test any suspicious garment. This is one important tip on how to stop colour bleeding from clothes.

Do this before washing it with other clothes to be sure it won’t bleed its colour. 

To test, soak an inconspicuous part of the cloth in soapy water for some minutes and watch out for any colour change in the water. This hidden part could be the hems or seams.

Afterward, without rinsing it off, place the wet part of the cloth on a clean paper towel. If the fabric dye transfers to the towel, then there’s a high chance the cloth will bleed its colour on other clothes.

In addition, sometimes we get careless and forget that these clothes can also bleed on others when we spread them out to dry in the sun. Therefore, you should always test before washing. And when you discover any bleeding fabric, don’t hang them close to other wet clothes.

Yes, give these clothes preferential treatment. Let them have the washing machine, water, and hanger to themselves. It’s all for the betterment of your other clothes.

2. Wash Clothes with Similar Colours Together

white cothes in basket

Wash whites together. Wash blacks together. Wash reds together. Wash all similar colours of clothes together if you don’t wanna meet streaks of blue on your yellow shirt when you go pick them from the line.

3. Avoid Detergents with Harmful Chemicals

various detergents

Some detergents contain chemicals that ruin your clothes by either triggering colour bleeding or making it fade. Hence, you should always avoid these detergents.

You can look out for benzene, phosphate, formaldehyde, and other harmful ingredients when buying your detergents. They do more harm than good.

4.  Never Wash Coloured Clothes with Hot Water

clothes washed in hot water

Another tip on how to stop fabric from bleeding is by avoiding hot water. Using hot water to wash your coloured clothes means you want the fabrics to bleed.

This is because hot water can drain the mordant used in fixing the fabric dye to the fibres. And once the mordant leaves your fabric, the dye will no longer stay in place.

You know what happens next, don’t you? So, never use hot water to wash your clothes.

5. Avoid Regular Use of Bleach

Clorox bleach

You already know this. Bleaching products are the quickest way to make your clothes fade. So, avoid them always. Use them for your white clothes alone and it shouldn’t be an everyday thingy.

6. Use Color-Catcher Sheets

Color Catcher

Colour-catcher sheets trap excess dyes and prevent colour from bleeding. Use them when you wash.

7. Avoid Heat and Overexposure to the Sun

colorful clothes sun drying
T-shirts hanging on a clothesline in front of blue sky and sun

It’s good to sun-dry your clothes but when it becomes too much, it’ll harm the fabric colour.

Hence, avoid leaving your clothes out in the sun for so long.

8. Use Colour Control Products


Products like retayne and synthrapol are good at keeping your fabric dye in place when washing. Use them when it’s time to do your laundry.

There are some dye bleeding you can’t control. For instance, some fabric colour bleeding happens because the manufacturer didn’t use a mordant to fix the dye to the fibre. It could also be due to incorrect dyeing techniques, wrong or poor quality dye. 

And if that is the case, you can’t do anything to stop the fabric from bleeding. Just keep it from other clothes during your laundry. 

In addition, to know if a cloth will bleed, check the product label. Some clothing manufacturers are kind enough to include warnings such as “color may wash off,” “do not use detergent,” “wash before wearing,” or “use cold water,” on the product labels of clothes with hues prone to bleeding. If you see any of these on your cloth labels, prepare your mind and act accordingly.

And that’s a wrap.

Now that you know how to stop colour bleeding from clothes, wouldn’t you like to learn other ways to ensure your clothes last longer?

If you’d like that, read up our guide on how to take care of your clothes and save that money for something else.

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or creating fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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