Bleeding colors is a laundry problem that many dread because it can ruin clothing. There are methods to prevent color bleeding from occurring. But if bleeding has already happened, there are steps to fix the problems.
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The cause of many cases of color bleeding is washing laundry at the wrong temperature. This can be avoided by simply reading care labels on your clothing. If the article of clothing instructs you to use cold or warm water, do not use hot water. Some believe that hot water gets clothes the cleanest, but it is not necessarily true. Using a good quality laundry detergent will thoroughly clean your clothing, no matter what the water temperature.
To stay on the safe side, use cold water for articles of clothing with mixed colors, such as colored shirts and dresses that contain both white and colored fabric.
Adding a cup of salt to laundry water or a scoop of oxygen bleach can prevent colors from bleeding. Vinegar works in the same way, and will not leave your laundry with an odor. Just add up to a half cup of vinegar to laundry water, then add detergent and clothing.
You can also use these laundry additives before adding the clothing to your washing machine by making a salt or vinegar soak with a half gallon of water, adding the article of clothing, and leaving it in the soak for 15 to 30 minutes.
If some of your clothing has already bled in the laundry, there are a few things that can be done to fix the problem. First, do not dry the clothes that have bled. First wash them again in cold or warm water; do not use hot water. If this does not fix the bleeding, you can soak the article of clothing in either a saltwater or vinegar soak. For salt, add a cup to a half gallon of lukewarm water. When using vinegar, add a half cup to a half gallon of cold water. Let the clothes soak for at least 30 minutes, then rinse in cold water.
Melinda Gaines has been a freelance writer since 2006, with work appearing online for YellowPages and other websites. Her areas of expertise include business, beauty, fashion and sports. Gaines attended the University of Houston where she earned a Bachelor of Science in sport administration.