Colour Fastness Test and Non-Colour Fast Q&As

In general it's best to wash your dark colours separately. But it's worth knowing if clothes (especially new ones) are colour fast before putting them in with a regular wash. That way you'll avoid dyes running into other clothes, leaving them an undesirable – and often indescribable shade! 

So check the washing care label, and do this easy test for colour fastness.

Colour fastness test for soaking or washing

  1. Dampen a small area of hem or inside seam with water
  2. Iron a piece of white fabric or kitchen paper on to it
  3. If the paper soaks up any colour, your garment isn't colourfast, so should be washed separately

Colour fastness test for solvents

(i.e. eucalyptus oil, methylated spirits, white spirit/turpentine substitute, nail polish remover, etc.):
  1. Dampen an inconspicuous part of the garment with the solvent
  2. Blot area with a tissue
  3. If any colour blots off, the garment is not colourfast with the solvent used
Caution: Do not use an iron to test solvents.
 

How do I wash non-colour fast items?

  • Non-colourfast items should be washed separately in cold water and rinsed immediately without soaking
  • Dry cleaning is safer for garments that lose a lot of colour, but check the care label first

What should I do if dye runs into other clothes?

  • If a non-colourfast item accidentally slips into your wash you could try using a  reversal product available in your market
  • If an article washed in your machine has released a lot of dye, put your machine on an empty wash cycle before doing the next load. This will stop the loose dye running into the next wash