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Keeping Your Quilt from Color Bleed

Love deep rich colors in your quilts? Beautiful purples, reds, and deep navy? To set those jewel tones off how about a white or cream to really define those quilt blocks? But what happens when this perfect quilt is completely finished and now needs to go through the wash? What if your reds turn your whites pink? How do you keep your colors from running into a muddled splotchy mess?

Well the easiest and least stressful is to be prepared before you even start. Test the fabrics for colorfastness. Wash a square of each fabric you intend to use in a hot water bath together to see if anything runs.

Pre-wash any offenders in hot water and a cup of vinegar or a product such as Retayne or Synthrapol to set the colors. You may want to wash several times if the water still turns colors.

Too late to pre-wash? Your quilt is already finished and now has color bleed? You may still be able to save it. You’re going to need a lot of water, some blue Dawn dishsoap and some patience. Fill your washing machine or a clean bathtub with hot water. Add in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the Dawn depending on the size of your bath (the washing machine or the tub). Add in your quilt and agitate the water. You may need gloves for this part if the water is too hot. Keep this up for a good ten minutes to release the colors.

Now rest. Let your quilt soak for at least 6 hours or better yet overnight. Now Rinse and repeat until your quilt is the proper colors and the water runs clear.

No Dawn? You can also try color catcher sheets. They work surprisingly well and you can follow the same steps. Toss in at least two sheets and agitate. You will want to change the sheets each time you wash and repeat.

Once you are satisfied with the results do a final cold water rinse. You can add Retayne at this point as well to set the colors if you wish. Then gently move your quilt to the dryer without stretching or twisting the fabrics to prevent pulling the quilt out of shape.

**Disclaimer this method may not work for all color bleeds and must be used at your own discretion with your particular situation.

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