If you’ve been sewing or quilting for any amount of time, you’ve probably come across the age-old dilemma of whether or not to prewash your fabrics. In addition to getting any shrinkage out of the way before you sew with the fabric, prewashing can keep dark fabric dyes (reds and purples) from bleeding onto lighter-colored fabrics.
But wait…don’t you want the vibrant dyes to stay in your fabrics, thus keeping them bright and pretty?
Fortunately, there are several natural remedies to help fabric colors stay bright when laundered. To keep fabric from fading in the wash, you can use some well-known items from around your house! Don’t let those brilliant hues escape your fabrics, especially if you’ve already invested hours into stitching up completed projects, like a garment or quilt.
Photo via Craft Buds
Here are a few suggestions for how to keep fabric from fading, the natural way.
Add a tablespoon of salt to the wash, and the chloride will help our clothing pack a colorful punch when it comes out of the dryer. The reason? Chloride found in salt actually helps to seal the color in fabrics, thus keeping it from fading. Try this out on your finished quilts to keep the colors bright, or treat your clothing. Everything, including handmade garments, should come out of the wash with all of its color intact.
But what if your fabrics have already faded? Some say that salt can actually help restore the brightness of over-laundered and dull fabrics.
Washing fabrics in cold water will not only help you cut down on your bills, but it will also help to keep your fabric colors from fading. Pair the cold water cycle with a color brightening detergent to boost your colors in the wash.
Did you know that white vinegar can help to keep fabric colors from fading? If you add ½ cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle, the liquid will freshen up your laundry and help colors maintain their intensity. Prior to a first washing, you can also soak dark fabrics for 30 minutes in water mixed with ½ cup of vinegar and 2 teaspoons of salt to help set the dyes. Organic Authority shares more tips on using vinegar to help fabric colors set.
It’s not just for keeping your teeth white (or erasing odors from your fridge). Baking soda can also be added to your laundry to help fabrics maintain their brightness. Add ½ cup of baking soda during the wash cycle to try it out.
Photo via Lindsay Sews
If you want to help your fabrics maintain their color after washing, you can let them hang to air dry. But remember to keep them out of the sun for best results, since exposure to the sun can fade fabrics even quicker than a spin cycle.