Each one of us is guilty of owning those wardrobe pieces in our house that have seen its cycle from a beautiful outdoor outfit to a home dress and eventually a cleaning cloth. That is the immortal love that we humans share with our favourite piece of clothing. Inevitably it is this very piece of clothing that sees the wrath of time sooner than later. It is often left faded, discoloured or worn out way quicker than the other outfits. So for all you heartbroken lovers, we decided to write a small piece on what causes discolouration and how we can protect our clothes from these irritating phenomena.
Colour fading in fabrics or discolouration is the process of loss of pigmentation because of aggressive treatment or harsh reactions with natural or chemical substances. In simple words, it is the bleeding of colours from your clothes as the dye disappears. Although it could be a result of excessive dyeing or use of improper dyes, human mishandling, natural and chemical reactions can also cause early fading.
Often a lot of the things that we consider as normal when it comes to the treatment of our wardrobe leads to discolouration in clothes. Ranging from improper storage habits to ignoring labels and wash care, we are all culprits to the hideous crime of early wear and tear in clothes. Not only does this lead to us losing our favourite pieces in a short time but also isn’t economical or sustainable in the long run. So what is it that we do that contributes to this?
Throwing used clothes in the laundry bag immediately without airing them is something that we’ve all been doing through the ages. However, this can lead to sweat stains and prolonged odour. In fact, most clothes can be reused several times before washing unless extremely dirty or drenched in sweat. In the name of cleanliness, we also tend to use excessive detergent while washing clothes that leads to easy breakage of the fabric and quick discolouration. This can also be caused by aggressive scrubbing and washing!
Wash care is something that most of us ignore which is a key contributing factor to fabric destruction. Using too much hot water while washing can be fatal for the fabrics. Different fabrics react differently to fabric care agents and thus it is important to separate and wash fabrics accordingly. Bleaching also causes fading that is a result of excessive sun drying or use of bleach or harsher stain removers.
We often fail to protect our clothes from Sun and UV exposure by overdrying them or frequently pressing or ironing them under high temperatures. Even if we by chance happen to protect them there, improper storage habits throw them back into the discolouration dungeon. Sweat stains, excessive moisture, use of deodorants and other harsh skin chemicals are as dangerous for the fabric as any of the other above mentioned factors. With everything leading to discolouration of clothes, how do you then protect your fabrics without having to put too much money or time at stake?
Most of this fabric care is to be followed during the wash process to minimize damage.
Make sure the water used for washing these clothes is on the colder side which will cause less damage to the fabric as cold water keeps the fabrics closed, thus trapping the dyes inside. For more expensive clothes, you can also use water at the correct temperature as mentioned in the labels. Make sure to use gentle wash settings for machine wash and detergents and fabric care liquids that aren’t too chemically harsh.
In case of stains, ensure that the clothes are immediately washed to reduce damage. As much as discolouration can be a problem, colouration or transfer of dyes can also be a big issue. So it is advised that you separate the darker clothes from the lighter ones to protect them in case of fabric bleeding (Where a fabric on wash releases the dye due to poor dye quality or any other reason). “Curing” can be helpful for heavily damaged clothes by holding the colours. One way to “cure” clothes is to add one cup of vinegar or half a cup of salt to a rinse cycle.
Turning fabrics inside out will reduce friction and thus save the colours a little better. This can be followed while washing as well as while trying to increase protection. On hotter days, ensure that the dried clothes are picked up immediately to minimize UV exposure. They need to be folded and placed in the right storage areas without treating them to further heat and iron if their care labels specify so.
In order to avoid easy bleeding or discolouration, we at Cotton Monk use the best quality of dyes and fabrics that are globally approved to ensure the longevity of your favourite comfort wears. With the summer sweating it out, cotton is soon going to be a favourite household fabric and so we thought these tips will be useful to ensure that your clothes are taken good care of. Until we come up with a new blog on more such interesting tricks to save your clothes, go and take your clothes off the dryer before it’s too late!