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How to Colorfast Clothing

Things You'll Need:

  • plastic bucket or small plastic trash can
  • vinegar
  • salt
  • cold water


Some articles with cheap dyes will never colorfast. Plan on always washing those items separately (kids tie dye sometimes - I try to colorfast it anyway) I always start with the article I think will be least likely to run. If after several hours, the water solution is clear and free of dye, you can use the same water solution for the next garment, the one next least likely to run. If still unsure of colorfasting, use a product such as 'Shout Color Catcher' the first time you launder the article.


  • Always do this up on counter level where NO CHILD or PET can tip in or fall in and drown. Do the colofast where you know it is safe to in your house! If you have a concern, cover the bucket somewhat during the process or use some method that you know is safe in your situation.

Colorfast your new clothing, towels, rugs so the colors and dyes won't run. You will never again ruin clothing by dyes running. This will help you do laundry right. No more pink underwear and gray socks?

To colorfast dyed or colored material so the dye won't run, into bucket add: 1/4 cup salt 1 cup vinegar 1-2 gallons cold water

Place one garment in the solution and swish around gently, dissolving the salt and making sure the entire garment is wet through. This will set the color so the color won't run.

Let sit, swishing the material around gently by hand whenever you pass by (every few hours so during the day). The colorfast process is quite hands off.

After about 24 hours, lift the garment out, squeezing gently so that excess solution falls back into the bucket. Rinse the garment, cloth, rug or item you are colorfasting thoroughly until the cold water solution runs clear and is free of dyes. When the water runs clear, you can safely wash the item in your regular laundry.

If dyes remain after many (10 or so) rinses under cold running water, repeat the colorfasting process (steps 1-4) before washing it in your regular laundry.

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