How to Prevent Fabric Bleed

To stop quilting fabric from bleeding in your finished quilt, be sure to machine wash your fabric (sorted with like colors) and dry before cutting. Yes, that does mean you will have to iron or press your quilting fabrics as well!

I tend to be that person who never washes their fabric before I begin a quilt. That is to say, I never used to be a person who pre-washed fabrics.

gold star stained new I once had an incident in my home where water started leaking through an air conditioning vent in a rain storm. Unfortunately, I happened to have a quilt stand directly below it. I moved the stand and evaluated my quilts immediately – and was horrified to find that the color from the green flannel backing had run to the front of my quilt!

If I had pre-washed and pressed my fabrics before I began this quilt, I wouldn’t have this issue of bleeding colors. Just a little bit of water staining that could easily wash out.

shout color catcher But what would I do to fix my current situation? Solution: Shout Color Catchers. These things are miracle workers. I threw my quilt into the washing machine with two of these sheets and was simply amazed when I took it out of the washer.

gold star without stain edited You guessed it – the stain was gone! I was so relieved. The best news is that this product is inexpensive and can be found in the laundry section of your local grocery or big box store. I recommend keeping a box in the laundry room for just such emergencies.

I should point out too that I typically do not wash my quilts – I like to preserve them as heirlooms for future generations and washing in the machine can cause wear and damage over time. This particular quilt however was badly damaged so I had little to lose. Check out my article on cleaning and caring for quilts to learn some of my preservation tips.

Always remember, to prevent quilting fabric bleeding simply pre-wash your fabrics. If damage does occur, try this little product and you can hopefully save your quilt!

What are your experiences with fabric bleed?


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Discussion
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10 Responses to “How to Prevent Fabric Bleed”
  1. Roxanne Schulze

    I have purchased some 1900 flags that were part of a gift in cigar boxes to make a quilt. I learned they are not colorfast, water will make the colors run. How can I pervert this? Thank you, Roxanne Schulze

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Roxanne,

      Generally I would recommend a product called Synthrapol:

      https://www.dharmatrading.com/chemicals/synthrapol-detergent.html

      Synthrapol is used as both a pre-wash and as an after-wash. A “must have” for dyers! New – low foam version is also available.

      I would recommend, however, trying this out on one first to ensure it works before washing all of the flags.

      Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Ashley NQC Video Membership

      We’d love to have you be a part of our community. We are convinced you will enjoy the benefits of becoming a member and having access to the best instructional how to videos and professional tips. We would like to offer you a special promotion for your first year membership.
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      Reply
  2. JANET FETTING

    Recently had a quilt that I used a flannel backing on, and after I finish a quilt I always wash it and did throw in a Shout Color Catcher. Regardless the turquoise on the front bled to the flannel back and made some spots. I threw it back in for a second and then a third wash, both times with Shout and Carbona Color Grabber sheets. The Color Grabber sheets were much darker in color than the shout and were grabbing more of the dye. I didn’t get all of it out but most of it. I am convinced tho that Color Grabber sheets are much better than Shout and will use them from now on.

    Reply
  3. Raenyl jecmen

    Synthrapol has worked well for me with bleed from purchased hand dyed fabric used in small amounts for applique highlighting details. Good luck

    Reply
  4. LaVaughn M Parkin

    I also use Shout before I sew my fabrics. I had a t shirt I had purchased years ago, and when I washed it the logo made everything pink. I rewashed it with a shout sheet and it camr out right away. Have some on hand always.

    Reply
    • Debra Ruffing

      I have used everything. It is Bali fabric…a batik. It is still bleeding after three catchers from Bounce and vinegar, salt, etc.

      Reply
  5. Debra Ruffing

    I am on wash two with Bali 2 pieces of red fabric…different fabrics. The first wash was bright pink on color catcher, second wash was lighter pink. It is in for third time. I am getting high blood pressure. Ugh! Waiting to see what happens this time becaue I dumped salt and vinegar in. I need this fabric! I have $200 of dark blue and dark green Bali’s for another quilt. I am worried sick. I use my quilts and wash them at least one time a year in washer.

    Reply
    • Jean E Frederic

      i too just washed a dark bright blue basic for the second time. Quilt store said i didn’t need to wash it, but washed it anyway with a little salt, laundry soap and a Shout color catcher. The catcher came out dark blue, second wash with white vinegar and another Shout. Came out lighter blue but now afraid it will still bleed onto white quilt block. Sooo happy that I didn’t take the quilt stores advice but any advice would be appreciated, maybe can’t use it :/

      Reply
    • Jean E Frederic

      i too just washed a dark bright blue batic for the second time. Quilt store said i didn’t need to wash it, but washed it anyway with a little salt, laundry soap and a Shout color catcher. The catcher came out dark blue, second wash with white vinegar and another Shout. Came out lighter blue but now afraid it will still bleed onto white quilt block. Sooo happy that I didn’t take the quilt stores advice but any advice would be appreciated, maybe can’t use it :/

      Reply