Why do fabrics’ colours fade and here are ways to prevent it.
Mei Ling put her favourite beddings in the washing machine and dryer for their weekly wash. She loved their bright vibrant colours, but after no more than a year, she noticed that these colours seemed to fade. The vibrancy was lost and after running through the dryer, her favourite sheets were now a pale shadow of what they once were. Where did she go wrong?
The answer to that is simple. Mei Ling's sheets had what we call in the laundry service, Colour Fade. Colour Fade isn’t just a description, but rather the condition of the fabric once the dye has separated from the fabric itself. Unfortunately, colour fading over time is inevitable.
Colour fading can occur in many ways -- use of bleach, hot water in washing, overexposure to the sun or UV rays. During the simple process of laundry, the fabric gets agitated and this causes the pigments or dyes to separate from the fabric.
In order to delay Colour Fade, manufacturers often apply a coating to prevent the dye from separating from the fabric. Once this coating wears off through normal washing and use, the Colour Fade gets accelerated and the fabric loses its colour and becomes dull and faded.
Thus, proper fabric care must be done right and an experienced laundry service provider can do just that.
Here are a few laundry tips in order to avoid or minimise colours from fading so you can enjoy your favourite clothes and linens for a longer period of time.
1. Wash with cold water - Washing with warm or hot water expands the pigment or dyes and provides a good environment for these pigments to detach from the fibers. We recommend washing with room temperature water or below 30 degrees Celsius.
2. Check your Care Label - Manufacturers should know best on how to care for the garments they sell. Care labels would normally indicate the best way to wash the item. Keep a look out for signs or messages such as “wash separately”, “wash in cold water”, “wash inside out” and “colours may fade” as these are good indicators that colours may fade or even bleed. Care labels would also tell you whether to wet-wash or dry clean and also if you should hang-dry or if you can put the item in the dryer. The important thing is, do not ignore the care label. When it is necessary, let professional dry cleaners handle the task.
3. Separate clothes: delicate from heavy clothing - Washing heavy clothing with delicate items may not just result in colour fade due to too much agitation during laundry but it may also result in torn fabrics of the delicate items. Too much friction during laundry will rub off the pigments excessively and will cause the separation from the fabric. Needless to say, you also need to separate whites from colored items, better yet, wash clothes of the same shade or colour.
4. Shorten drying times - Letting your clothes stay in the dryer until fully dry can make the fabric look rough and faded. Best to pull them out while a bit damp and hang dry. They’re also easier to iron while not fully dry and stiff. This has been a common practice to us while delivering laundry service in Singapore.
5. Wash inside out - Wash separately, if your time allows it. Washing inside out prevents the front side from rubbing against other clothing thus minimizing friction and fading. More wear will be visible on the insides though but no one would see it anyway.
6. Avoid bleach - This goes without saying, bleach will definitely fade your coloured garments. Putting bleach in your washing machine may also affect the next batch of clothing you put it in as some of the bleach may still remain inside despite rinsing and draining the water from your washing machine. We recommend ditching bleach altogether to avoid accidental contact with other clothing.
7. Don’t overexpose to the sun - The sun’s UV rays and heat are great for drying and giving you the freshest smell possible. Overexposure though may cause the fabric to expand and contract unnecessarily and can cause the pigments to lose its colour and brightness. With a trusted laundry service, you will not need to worry about sun-drying your clothes.
8. Use delicate settings - If your laundry isn't that dirty or soiled, use the delicate setting in your washing machine. This would save you much time and electricity as well as keep the colours of your clothes from fading by minimising the harsh regurgitating action inside the washer. You see, the friction occuring when clothes rub against each other creates micro-tears in the fabric thereby separating the dye from the fabric.
9. Hang dry - By avoiding the dryer entirely, you have kept your clothes from excessive heat and thus keeping the fabric from drying out and cracking. Remember to hang inside out as well as under the shade, if possible.
10. Don’t wash - If all else fails, avoid washing your clothes entirely. This may sound like a pun at first but some clothes manufacturers actually espouse this idea most especially for denims. In fact, Levi’s CEO and president Chip Bergh once said that you should never wash your jeans as washing a good pair of Levi’s causes damage to the material and is a waste of water. For him, he just spots his jeans with a toothbrush. Another manufacturer, Hiut denim, even recommends wearing their jeans for as long as you possibly can without washing.
As a professional laundry service company, we’d like to believe that skipping laundry to avoid fabric fade should be a no-no. Just imagine the discomfort of the person seated beside you in a bus, not to mention the smell and possibly bacteria build-up can be too… let’s just say, overwhelming. With our quality yet cheap laundry service, there’s no need to stress about laundry care. Visit Laundry Club to learn more about the best laundry service you can find in Singapore.