Wash, dry, fold, repeat ... keeping up with the laundry can seem like an endless cycle, but at least you get clean clothes to show for all your hard work, right? Unfortunately, a trip through the wash might leave your clothes looking worse than ever. One red shirt mixed in with a load of whites can leave you with a pile of rose-tinted socks. Even separating whites from colors is no guarantee of success -- dyes from darker clothes can bleed onto lighter ones, leaving garments looking dirty and faded.
Color bleeding occurs when clothing manufacturers rely on ineffective dying techniques or cheap dyes. Sometimes the dyes are simply unstable or not permanently set in the fabric. Other times, manufacturers overdye clothes so they'll appear brighter and more vibrant in the store, but then fade the first time you wash them. Red and orange dyes are notoriously vulnerable to bleeding, so these colors require extra vigilance on the part of the consumer.
In the past, people were resigned to separating loads by color to prevent color bleeding. While this can be an effective method for maintaining clothes, it also takes more time and results in greater energy and water consumption. Short of shelling out big bucks for dry cleaning and professional laundry services, however, what else can you do to keep whites white and colors bright? Read on to learn some of the best tips and tricks for preventing, or even reversing, the effects of color bleeding in the wash.