How to Make the Colour of Your Clothes Last

September 28, 2022

A common misconception is that washing an item in vinegar or salt will set the dye and prevent it from running. However, this is not the case. Although vinegar does help set some acid dyes, it only works during the dyeing process and not for cotton dyes. 

Similarly, salt is used in the dying process to encourage the fibre to take the dye, but it will not stop the colour from running or crocking after the garment has been dyed. If you tried salt and it appeared to work, it's only because the additional washing has removed the last bits of the unattached dye.

Here's how you can make the colour of your clothes last:

1. Use Cool Water

To prevent your clothes from fading, you should wash them in cool or cold water. Hot water can damage the fabric and cause the colour to bleed. The water may get too cold to wash in during the winter if you live in a cold climate. In this case, you should set the washer to a warm temperature of 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). Make sure you are using a detergent designed to be used in cold water.

2. Use a Colour Fixative

It is important to treat your fabrics with a colour fixative to prevent the colours from bleeding. This is especially important for quilters as it can help prevent bleeding between the fabric patches. There are a few different products on the market that can be used for this purpose, but it is essential to make sure that you choose one that is effective on the fabric you are using.

3. Minimise Friction

Washing items in a load together can help reduce the amount of friction between them and prevent micro-breakages in the fibres. This is one of the main reasons why fabrics fade over time. To further reduce friction, you can zip up zippers and hooks and turn items inside out. This is especially effective with jeans.

4. Wash Delicates Sparingly

We often wash our clothes more than necessary because we don't want to appear dirty or smelly. However, delicate clothes should be washed as little as possible to avoid damage. It's important to ask yourself if an item is dirty and if it really needs to be washed before taking action. If there is only an odour, try airing it out or using an odour-eliminating product. If the item is dirty in a small area, then spot clean it.

5. Wash Colours Together

Doing many laundries that are all the same colour is a great way to prevent any colour run. This is because the chemicals used to hold the dye to the fibre can wear off after multiple washings. So, it is best to wash similar colours together to avoid any problems.


Taking care of your clothing is important to make the colour last. You should wash your clothes in cold water, hang them to dry and use a colour-safe detergent. You can also try using vinegar or salt to set the colour. If you follow these tips, you can keep your clothes looking new for longer.

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