The Product You Need In Your Laundry Room To Prevent Colors Running

One of the age-old, unspoken rules of doing laundry is to separate items by color before washing in order to prevent the often-discussed red sock horror story from becoming a reality. Color bleeding is a common issue and, in worst-case scenarios, can cause expensive and irreversible damage to your linens and clothes. Even the slightest sorting mishap can completely change the look and feel of your laundry. But one product can help eliminate fears of color transfer during the washing process: color catcher sheets.

Available just about anywhere you can find laundry products, color-catching sheets help you save time and water by letting you wash whites and colors together in the same cycle. These sheets attract loose dyes from heavily-pigmented fabrics in your wash, which tend to rise to the surface after coming in contact with water. The sheets then trap these pigments before they have a chance to stain your other laundry. Whether you wish to routinely wash your dark and light laundry together or want to add an extra layer of protection to your already separated loads, color-catching sheets may be the household tool you need to keep your clothes from growing faded and dingy. Here's more on how to use them, as well as washing alternatives you can try for a similar effect.

How to use color-catching sheets

You may be familiar with dryer sheets, the pieces of fabric you add to your dryer to help eliminate static cling. Well, some manufacturing companies create laundry sheets specifically for your washing machine with the sole purpose of preventing color transfer among your most vibrant pieces.

Simply add a sheet to your next load of mixed laundry and allow the cycle to run as usual. The sheet will catch any dye that runs from your clothes, keeping it from bleeding onto your other items in the wash. Your washer sheet should appear a different color after the wash is complete, indicating that the product has served its purpose. Color catcher sheets are also available at a relatively affordable price, with Shout's product averaging between $5 and $10 for a box of 24. The sheets aren't designed to be reused, so replace them after each wash for the best results.

Alternatives to stop bleeding

If you don't want to invest in color-catching sheets for your washing machine, there are other routes you can take to prevent loose dyes from permanently damaging your lights and whites. Some laundry product manufacturers, like Tide, have created detergents specifically designed to stop color transfer in mixed loads. Substituting your regular detergent for one of these color-catching detergents harbors a similar effect to adding a color-catching sheet. You can even go as far as to make your own sheets at home, using a solid white cloth soaked in sodium carbonate or washing soda.

There are other rules of thumb to follow when washing in order to keep your colored laundry vibrant and looking like new. Wash darker items in cold water, as hot water causes the fibers of your clothes to open, increasing the likelihood of colors bleeding across individual pieces. Pre-rinsing your dark clothes before adding them to your wash can also do wonders to prevent bleeding. This extra step releases excess dye from clothes, keeping it from staining your other laundry once you throw them in your washer. Finally, even when using color-catching products, it never hurts to divide your laundry into separate loads beforehand: whites, lights, and darks. Although makers of color catcher sheets claim users can wash without having to sort, splitting your laundry into piles of similar colors offers an additional layer of protection and can give you peace of mind knowing that your laundry isn't susceptible to color transfer.