Fabric Bleeding and Color Absorbers

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Guess what quilt is finished!! You’ll have to wait to see more of it but yes, it is the Celtic Solstice.

Fabric Bleeding and Color Absorbers

I took some photos outside in the cold and wind yesterday which I’ll share soon. Then it was time to bring my quilt in the house and wash it. Sometimes people will talk about how stiff their quilt is…..once you wash a quilt it really softens up and I like the crinkly look so I do throw it in the dryer.

Many of the fabrics used in this quilt had already been washed but…I knew the yellows and oranges included many that hadn’t been washed so I grabbed my Breezy Color Absorbers and threw 2 of them in with the quilt.

My backing is orange too and hadn’t been washed. Take a look at the Color Absorbers compared to a new one that hasn’t been used. I think some of the fabrics bled a little. I also used orange thread on this quilt which was fun!

Fabric Bleeding and Color Absorbers

The reason I have started using them when I wash a new quilt is because last year when I made my Tangerine Easy Street quilt the reds, oranges and yellow bled onto the white/black background. I really need to wash it again with a Color Absorber and see if it would help but…..I did dry the quilt which may have set the color. At least the bleeding was pretty uniform and I still love the quilt.

Fabric Bleeding and Color Absorbers

When I finished the brown River Squares quilt I didn’t wash it before sending it to its new home but I did include a Color Absorber and washing instructions. I bought mine at JoAnns using a 50% off coupon. Do you use them?

Fabric Bleeding and Color Absorbers


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  1. I do use them but have now started pre washing all of my fabric so only use them when I have used precuts that I can't prewash. I also like the crinkly look in quilts and was wondering if you have a problem with it not crinkling in spots when you use a combination of washed and unwashed fabric. I had that happen recently and am not sure if it was the fabric or because I did happen to use a combination of washed and unwashed fabric.

  2. I don't have that brand here but I don't was any quilt without them. I'd rather be safe than sorry and for the price they are good insurance.

  3. I usually toss in a cup of white vinegar at the beginning of the wash cycle. The Shout Color Catchers work well too. I also read on another blog to add about a teaspoon of the blue Dawn dish washing liquid. It will get out any colors that may have bled.

  4. barbara woods says:

    i had one that the backing bleed thru and i get my color catchers at the grocery store

  5. I've had the dreadful experience of having material colors bleed and a friend suggested Shout Color Catcher which works great.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Congrats on completing your Celtic Solstice! Can't wait to see the full quilt! I finished my top last night, but haven't gotten further yet. I love Color Catchers! I've been using them (Shout or whatever brand are at my local grocery) for years with finished quilts & when prewashing fabrics (not very often), as well as with towels and jeans that are mixed in with other items. They are great!

  7. Josie McRazie says:

    I buy Shout Color Catchers. I use them for the first 2 washings. If I give a quilt as a gift that I think is going to bleed I will give one to the recipient and instruct them to use it. I have never had a quilt bleed and I prefer NOT to prewash my fabrics!

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  9. Needled Mom says:

    I use them all the time too. They are fabulous!

  10. I use Color Catchers and when we take a trip to the US I will pick some up. I have used them in my wash for clothes also.

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  12. Adele Hoyt says:

    I have always used Shout Color Catchers. They can be purchased at the grocery store, which I make numerous trips. They work well and I've never had any problem. I don't generally pre wash my fabrics but do love the soft, cuddle feel of the quilt after washed.

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  14. I don't generally pre wash my fabrics unless like Sharon said they have a funny smell or don't feel nice. All quilts are washed when I finish them and I find the colour catches work so well and I haven't had problems to date.

  15. Kathy @ Kwilty Pleasures says:

    I use them and provide them to folks getting my quilts. I had a really weird experience only ONCE. I had a high quality red border that had a little bit do a shine, say a Robert Kaufman holiday fabric. I I also used a solid white from Connecting threads for sashing and Moda Aspen Frosr fabrics in the quilt. I did use a color catcher but the red bled..now here is the weird part. The solid white shashing was fine (no bleeding) but all the white backgrounds in Moda Aspen Frost turned PINK. Bummer!

  16. Kathy Felsted Usher says:

    I gave the ones made by Shout with my quilt gifts this Christmas. I've not seen any other brand in our stores.

  17. You are blessed, we don't have color catcher! 🙁

  18. Great info Connie. I have not heard of the kind you've shown. We have always used the Color Catchers. I do tend to wash all my fabrics when they come in the back door and do try at that time to wash the same colors together. But, I have not done that with any of the fabrics I've purchased in the past couple of months online so I have a large amount which have not been washed now. I also still have them sitting in boxes and not put away where they go because I don't want to mix washed and unwashed or I won't remember later. Yea, I'll blame that on the old lady thing but still, I really don't want to mix them in the same quilt and then have it shrink all wonky either so I will just continue washing all before they get stored away. IF I had the room I think I'd do both and keep them in different storage areas. Sadly this room is not that large. Heck if I don't start sewing a lot of projects soon, I'll be sitting in the hallway typing on my computer as I reach into my sewing room. LOL

    I can't wait to see your newest quilt. I bet it's just gorgeous.

  19. Missy Shay says:

    I use some stuff I bought a Wal Mart, so far I have not had any problems!

  20. I have never pre-washed my fabrics. I know that sooner or later I'll probably pay for that but until then, I just coast along. I do use Color Catchers. One of the first quilts I ever made had a lot of black and white and red in it. It was a kit from Quilts For Kids so I asked them if I should pre-wash and they suggested the Color Catchers instead. I've never looked back. 😀

  21. I wash all my cotton fabric before using it. Vicki Welsh has some great tips for fabric bleeding. Since reading her tips, I started using Dawn Ultra Pure Dish Soap. I tested it by making a potholder using red and white fabrics. I washed the potholder after it was finished and there wasn't any bleeding. Dawn is a lot less expensive than the fabric catchers … meaning more money to buy fabric. : )

  22. I have the same breezy sheets and they work so well!

  23. Apple Avenue Quilts says:

    Connie, I have had experience with bleeding and thought I should let you know that Synthrapol( available through Joann's, probably online) could help you with your quilt that bled. Also Rit Dyes have a similar product, but I'm not sure of it's reliability. Retayne, by the same company that makes Synthrapol is also great for setting colors in fabric and quilts with unwashed fabrics.

  24. I use them as well, especially if the fabric hasn't been pre-washed. That's a wonderful idea to include some in a card with instructions when gifting a quilt.

  25. For your tangerine easy street try the 12 hour soak method Vicky Welsh blogged about. Her blog is field trips in Fibre and it is Jan 7 post. Sorry my iPad won't let me paste the link 🙁

  26. I have used Shout Color Catchers for 1.5 years and haven't had any bleeding since then. I had bleeding on a red and white quilt, and a fellow blogger recommended the Color Catchers along with Oxy-Clean to remove the bleed. The two together did lighten the bleed from a medium pink to a light pink, but it did remain. It may work with your orange quilt. It all depends on the fabric..

  27. Paula @ Sewy Stuff says:

    I am not familiar with the Breezy Color Absorbers. I have used with I have used the Shout Color Catchers with success. I will keep an eye out for the Breezys; from this picture they look more 'substantial' than the Shout ones.

  28. Yes, I use them. They are a brilliant invention!

  29. The Cosmic Quilter - Teri says:

    Thanks for the recommendation of the Breezy Color Absorber. I don't usually wash my fabrics before quilting (just lazy and I like the finger feel of the nonwashed fabric while sewing) so have always hesitated to wash my quilts (most of them are wall hangings anyway), but the new Chevron quilt I just made, I'd love to be able to throw on my bed and use when lounging and reading, so will give this a try. I've never seen that at JoAnne's — where in your store is it located?

    1. They are located in the notions area by the packaged interfacing and stuff.

  30. Toni Macomb says:

    I do use them! And like you, whenever I'm gifting a quilt, include some in a card with instructions.

  31. I use Color Catchers when I wash a quilt – all quilts are washed/dryed whether gifted on or put into the shop. I only prewash fabrics is they have a funny odor or feel a bit gritty (donated fabrics).

  32. I tried the RIT product too with disastrous results! It took the color out of fabrics that had been fine before. Thankfully it was a small quilt.

  33. I use them all the time! BTW, I have had a couple recent incidents with bleeding reds on a quilt. I used oxy-clean dissolved in water added to the wash and a teaspoon or so of Dawn dish detergent. This worked for me even after the quilt had been dried in the dryer. Your quilts are always so lovely!