How do you stop clothes dye from bleeding?
December 23, 2008 7:39 AM   Subscribe

How do you stop clothes dye from bleeding?

I have a skirt and jacket suit that is vibrant red in color. When I first bought it about a decade ago it would bleed a little onto the sweater I would wear underneath. Now just in the period it takes to try the outfit on my sweater will be red. The label says Dry Clean only so I've never tried washing it in a washer to see if the excess dye will go away, but maybe that's the route I'll have to go? I'm afraid of messing it up. The suit looks fine. It's just if I wear it I can't take the jacket off or everyone will see how red it's changed whatever I'm wearing underneath.
Any suggestions?
posted by twinkles2sf to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I use vinegar for washable things that bleed. But since you haven't washed the suit, that might be risky. Have you tried asking your dry cleaner if they can do anything about it?

If it were my suit, and the dry cleaner couldn't do anything about it, I would try to wash it in vinegar (as described in the link) and then rinse and carefully air dry it. Could ruin the suit, but it seems functionally impaired at this point anyway- what if you had to sit on a white couch, or brushed up against someone wearing light colored clothes? Eesh!
posted by charmcityblues at 7:49 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I haven't tried it but maybe Shout Color Catcher would help?
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:49 AM on December 23, 2008

Yep, I've used vinegar to great success, too. What fiber is the suit? I'm assuming it's wool so vinegar should work, though I'veonly done it with cotton. Maybe after you do a vinegar bath, you could take it to the dry cleaner (much as I hate dry cleaners) to get the structure back.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:15 AM on December 23, 2008

What about a light coat of Scotch Guard before wearing? It might keep it from rubbing color on your other clothes. Not sure what material it is you're referring to though, so it may not be a good idea.
posted by PossumCupCake at 9:26 AM on December 23, 2008

If there is some fabric you can remove and test wash, I'd do that. Does it have some of the offending fabric in the pockets? You could cut it out and replace with some other red fabric. Then experiment away. When I have dye-bleed problems, vinegar + cold water + many washes is what works.

If you can't get it to stop bleeding and don't want to risk ruining it in the wash, you could always make sure to wear something red under it (assuming that's not a fashion faux pas). I would also think a sweater or shirt that was mostly acrylic or polyester would still get dye on it, but the dye would wash out easier than it would from cotton or a blend.
posted by soelo at 10:29 AM on December 23, 2008

If you do decide you can wash the pieces there's a product called Retayne that is available at quilt shops or on-line from dozens of places.
posted by krikany at 8:31 PM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you for all the suggestions and sorry for not specifying the fabric. The suit is 100% cotton. I'll try the vinegar solution - just worried since I haven't tried washing it before due to it being 'dry clean only.'
posted by twinkles2sf at 11:16 AM on January 1, 2009

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