by Julia Woodbury
(last updated January 4, 2016)
A tag on a new pair of jeans might instruct you to wash them before wearing them. Why? To prevent your legs from turning blue. Newer clothes will often have dyes that are not entirely bonded to their material. Even old clothes can wreak havoc in the washer if they are not washed with similar colors. For this reason you should separate your colored clothes into loads based on their color and recommended washing temperature. The standard is cold whites, hot whites, cold darks, and hot darks. It would be prudent to even have a wash that is all reds.
If you want to protect the brightness of your colors and if you want to prevent bleeding, try washing all your colors in cold water. If you do need to use warm water, try adding salt to the wash. You can add up to half a cup of salt to a large wash to freeze bleeding and retain color.
Feel free to try the various color-protecting products available in stores. Some are more effective than others simply because of the difference between hard and soft water. If you would like to use around-the-house items you can try a salt and vinegar solution to set the colors prior to washing. This process requires these materials:
Mix all three of these together and then add your article of clothing. Let the item soak for an hour and then rinse with cold water. If color is bleeding into the rinse water, try the process again. Once the colors have been set in an article of clothing, they shouldn't bleed onto other clothes. Only do this process on single-colored items. For example, you shouldn't try this on a red shirt with a white collar, otherwise the collar will turn pink and stay that way.
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