Soaking bright fabrics in salt or vinegar before washing them is thought to prevent dyes from bleeding, but experts say this so-called trick doesn't work. If the worst happens and your clothes bleed onto one another in the wash, separate each article of clothing and wash them again. After washing a second time, dyes should remove themselves on their own. Never put clothing with bleeding dyes into a dryer, because the heat will cause the colors to set and become permanent.
Often, the only way to fix faded garments is to redye them. However, dyes are only helpful to washable natural fibers. Nylon, for example, will not allow the new color to adhere. Dying your own clothing is extremely difficult to do; it rarely covers a garment evenly. When dying clothes in the wash, be sure to run a short, empty cycle when you're through to ensure that no coloring is left behind to ruin future loads of laundry.
For help with dying a piece of clothing back to its original color, look no further than your neighborhood dry cleaner -- but prepare to empty your wallet for this specialized service. Dry cleaners charge a pretty penny for their expertise -- you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 depending on the garment you wish to dye. No matter how dire the circumstance may be, even the professionals fail sometimes. In fact, according to Joseph Hallak Jr., the president of the National Cleaners Association, despite their high cost, dry cleaners' success rate with dying clothing is usually less than 75 percent.
So if you have a favorite pair of figure-hugging dark jeans that you would hate to see fade over time, simply don't wash them as much. When you wear a garment for a brief time, hang it back in your closet to wear again at a later date -- but only if it passes the sniff test. No risk of fading is ever worth the offensive -- and embarrassing -- stench of body odor.
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- Washing Jeans is for Haters
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- Better Homes and Gardens. "Stain Removal Tips and Common Problems." (Apr. 4, 2012) http://www.bhg.com/homekeeping/house-cleaning/surface/stain-removal-tips-and-common-problems/
- Crooks, Tara. "Army Combat Uniform (ACU) Care." Military.com. Apr. 8, 2008. (Apr. 5, 2012) http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,165405,00.html
- Martha Stewart Living. "The Wash Cycle." (Apr. 4, 2012) http://www.marthastewart.com/267832/the-wash-cycle
- Real Simple. "How Do I Keep My Black Pants Black?" (Apr. 4, 2012) http://www.realsimple.com/magazine-more/inside-magazine/ask-real-simple/keep-black-pants-black-00000000023443/index.html
- Real Simple. "How do I keep white knits white?" (Apr. 4, 2012) http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/laundry/your-top-laundry-questions-answered-00000000028722/page3.html
- Real Simple. "Repair Damaged Clothing and Accessories." (Apr. 4, 2012) http://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/clothing-care/make-damaged-clothing-accessories-new-10000001621469/page10.html
- Spruce Creek Watershed Improvement Project. "Stop Using Optical Brighteners." (Apr. 5, 2012) http://www.protectkitterywaters.org/pledge/PKW_Optical_Brighteners_Factsheet.pdf
- Textile Affairs. "Care Labels: Your Guide to Easy Care." (Apr. 4, 2012) http://www.textileaffairs.com/lguide.htm