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Thread: Washing Vintage Fabric that may Have a Chance of Color Bleeding

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Washing Vintage Fabric that may Have a Chance of Color Bleeding

    I've been accumulating a nice collection of vintage fabric lately. A while back I made a post about washing a very stained piece and got some good advice. Actually, I need to make an update thread for the piece I asked about as a good soak in Retro Clean really worked wonders.

    So far, my method with these fabrics (that aren't stained, but just need a gentle cleansing) mainly dating between the 1930's and the 1960's, has been a wash on cold, in a short delicate cycle while in a delicates bag and using Retro Wash powder. Before the wash, I'm using a q-tip to check color fastness. Never been an issue. Haven't used color catchers either. I color tested one part of the fabric I posted in this thread: (http://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f1...c-t261550.html) and everything seemed to be fine. But on one last lookover, I noticed on the yellow parts that some of the black dotten lines had turned brown and seemed a bit smudged. I tested the yellow again and noticed a bit of dye coming off on the q-tip. So I am trying to figure out the best way to clean this fabric. Hand-wash in cold with some color catcher sheets? Or my normal method with some color catchers? I know neither is guaranteed but I've got no experience so far (thankfully) with runny colors.
    My Machines: Singer Featherweight 221 (c. 1940), Kenmore 158.1430, c. 1926 Free, Singer 66-8 Redeye 1921
    Coveted: Singer Rocketeer, Elna Supermatic (green)

  2. #2
    Super Member Jeanette Frantz's Avatar
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    Skylark53,

    When I made the quilt (with the red borders) shown in my avatar, the red (at testing) bled very badly). I tried a number of things, none of which worked. In a telephone conversation with my cousin who is a professional quilter, she advised that I find a dye fixative and use it to set the color. Okay, I looked in every store in this town (admittedly not a large metropolitan area) and I found NOTHING. At that point, I began to search on the internet, in particular the website for Ritz Dyes. I found on that company's website, a dye fixative product, which I decided to order and try it (no affiliation with the company). The instructions require HOT WATER. On this quilt, I used the hottest tap water in the washer (top loading). After completion, the fabric was again tested, and there was no bleeding. However, reds and vibrant colors are notorious for bleeding -- I've been told it's because the dyes used are no longer organic, but chemical. If I were washing this quilt pictured on my avatar, I would still use color catchers in the wash. To clean your fabrics, I would probably try warm water, your detergent, and a color-safe, non-chlorine bleach product (like Clorox 2, for one -- there are others). These products will often remove stains from the cloth, without removing the color, and by all means, use color catchers to protect the efforts you are putting forth to make quilts or other craft-type items. I doubt that warm temperatures will harm your fabric, if the fabric is a normally strong fabric. The only thing I can suggest is -- take small pieces of the fabrics and try them. In that way, you are not risking the entire collection of fabric. At this point, there's not much to lose. JMHO!

    Jeanette

  3. #3
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    Jeanette your reply was very interesting. I tend to just use colour catchers and crossed fingers. So far it has worked for me.
    I intend to become a washer of all my fabrics as so many seem to bleed as the colour catchers are a mixture of colours.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    Thank you for all the helpful suggestions! I ended up getting some boxes of color catchers, and tested a corner of the fabric in cold water and didn't notice any bleeding so I crossed my fingers and toes and put it in a cold wash with 3 color catcher sheets. Thankfully, no bleeding at all, didn't even see anything on the sheets. I'm sure it also helped that the color that was appearing to be an issue was a lighter yellow.

    I see lots of people talk about washing in warm or hot water - what is the benefit of that vs. cold? I guess I've just always washed everything in cold (except socks, underwear, or bedding with special instructions). I'm too lazy to separate laundry so this has always insured no color bleeding. I carried this practice over to my fabrics.
    My Machines: Singer Featherweight 221 (c. 1940), Kenmore 158.1430, c. 1926 Free, Singer 66-8 Redeye 1921
    Coveted: Singer Rocketeer, Elna Supermatic (green)

  5. #5
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    Jeanette Franz.......is your professional quilter cousin Linda Franz by any chance?

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