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Washing Red Gauze

By Dr. Laundry January 17, 2014

How do I wash a red gauze dress without it bleeding?

Red garments are notorious for bleeding, so it’s really good to be aware of that! It’s actually pretty typical for darker colored items to have dye come off in the wash water the first few times they are washed, and for that reason it’s always a good idea to wash new items separately until any excess dye is removed. Even after that, darker items can still lose some dye (blue jeans are a good example) so it’s still important to sort older items into darks, mixed light colors, and whites for washing.

 I don’t know if you have a new dress that hasn’t been washed before, or if you have a dress that has continued to bleed even after several washes. If it’s new, definitely wash it by itself so you can determine how much of a bleeder it might be. After a few washes, bleeding should have diminished enough so that you can wash it along with dark blue, and black items. Some people swear by home remedies for fixing dye such as rinsing with salt or vinegar—these methods generally don’t stop bleeding—but they do seem to work simply because as part of the process, the item is rinsed multiple times. It’s the multiple rinsing that removes the extra dye from the fabric.

If your dress has been washed multiple times and continues to bleed heavily, then it sounds like the dye wasn’t completely fixed (made fast) onto the fabric.  In that case, you could try fixing the dye with a product called Retayne, which is typically available at fabric and craft stores. How effective that will be depends on which type of dye was used to color the red dress, as well as the fabric content of the dress, but it’s definitely worth considering. Be sure to check the product instructions to make sure Retayne is compatible with the dress!