Your couch used to be a beautiful, vibrant color. But lately, whenever you wash it, the color bleeds from it like a rainbow stream, sapping it of its pigmentation and luster. Not only is color bleed messy, but it fades the color of your upholstery, leaving the furniture looking dull and washed out. If you want to know why your fabric dye is bleeding and how to stop it, read on to learn four common causes of color bleed and how to remedy them.
You’re Using Hot Water
One common upholstery cleaning myth is that you should only use hot water to clean upholstery. While this is true for most fabrics, non-colorfast textiles and certain types of synthetic velvets will bleed when you soak them in hot water.
This is because hot water opens up the fabric’s fibers, allowing dye to seep out. To prevent leaking caused by hot water, use lukewarm or cold water to wash your upholstery instead. This way, the fibers will remain closed, and the dye will stay trapped within.
There Are Breaks in the Fabric
Is your upholstery frayed, full of tiny scrapes or holes, or otherwise worn down? Dyes can leak from breakages in fabric fibers. Using a color fixative and repairing any visible damage with fabric glue, thread, or fabric patches can minimize or eliminate bleeding.
The Dye Is Low-Quality
If a manufacturer uses a low-quality dye on a product, it’s more likely to bleed. Ineffectively set dyes run when exposed to water, typically because they lack the fixer, or mordant, that binds the dyes to the fabric fibers. Using a liquid color fixative on the fabric can help set the dye and reduce bleeding.
You’re Not Drying It Properly
The longer your upholstery stays wet, the looser and more open its fibers will get, and the more likely it is to bleed. Therefore, you should try to dry fabrics as quickly as possible after washing to minimize dye leakage.
There are a few ways to speed up the drying time for your upholstery. If it’s a nice, sunny day out, consider cracking open a few windows to improve the air circulation inside your home; fans can also help improve circulation. Another option is to use a dehumidifier, which will reduce the amount of water in the air. Or you can temporarily crank up the thermostat to speed up the evaporation process of water molecules.
Dealing with runny upholstery fabric is no fun. But by looking through these reasons your fabric dye is bleeding, you can pinpoint the cause of your color leak and put a stop to it.
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