How to Avoid Color Loss on Clothing

Color loss, discrepancy, or change on a garment is a common problem.  If that garment is taken to a professional for care, customers automatically assume it’s something their dry cleaner has done incorrectly.  But, what about color loss that occurs when caring for a garment at home?  Or, what about color loss on an isolated area?  The truth is that color loss can be attributed to all kinds of factors including the products we use to simply exposure to the environment.

Common Causes for Faded Clothing and How to Prevent Them

Spills

If you spill something on your clothes, especially a clear but sugary beverage, it will likely dry without notice. If you allow that spot to sit on your garment for too long, it could lead to color loss or discrepancy.  When left untreated, it can begin to react with the fabric causing the fabric to change colors.  So, when the stain is finally removed, the fabric where the stain once was is now a different color.  That’s why we always say to address spills and stains as soon as possible.

Products 

Items we use in everyday life, like beauty products and household cleaning solutions, contain substances like alcohol and bleach, which could lead to color loss.  Apply products like perfume, hairspray, sunscreen, lotion, and deodorant and allow them to completely dry or be absorbed before dressing.  Use caution when cleaning with bleach, ammonia, or peroxide as these can remove color from your clothing.  Finally, exercise caution when wearing clothing around pool water. 

Light

Prolonged exposure to too much sunlight or artificial light could cause garments to fade. To avoid this problem, turn clothing inside out if hanging outside to dry, remember to store garments away from natural and artificial sunlight and wear lighter colors when participating in outdoor activities.      

Defect

You followed the instructions on the care label, and your new garment faded after the first cleaning.  The cause could be a manufacturer’s defect, which means that the manufacturer might have used fugitive dyes; these dyes are not colorfast to cleaning solutions or water and will fade after the first cleaning or washing.  If this is the case, your professional dry cleaner can send it off to be tested.  If the test shows that the colors may bleed, you could return it to the retailer.   

Cleaning Method

If you fail to follow the instructions on the garment’s care label, it could lead to color loss.  If the care label’s instructions say to wash with similar colors, separately, or in cold water, that may be an indication that the dyes are unstable.  Garments that are red or pink are susceptible to color bleeding during washing, so wash these items with similar colors in cold water to minimize color loss. 

One Final Tip

Be sure to clean all the pieces of a matching outfit at the same time, using the same method to avoid any color discrepancies.  While these tips won’t solve all color loss problems, they will certainly minimize this issue.  Of course, if you are concerned about caring for a temperamental or delicate garment, just drop it off at your nearest Shores location.  Our certified master cleaners are here to help.