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July 05, 2010



Only once have I had a problem with dye bleeding, and it turned out to be an issue where the dyer had used the wrong kind of dye for the fiber. You can check to see if you might have a problem by taking a snippet of your yarn, wetting it with the hottest water you think you'd ever use for laundry, and then put your soaked yarn snippet on a white paper towel. If the dye's going to bleed, you'll see it.
That said, if you're really concerned, give the socks a soak in some warm water juiced with white vinegar, which can sometimes help to set the dye. Normal old Dawn dish soap can sometimes help to sequester dye molecules that have bled free, so they don't go on to get into trouble. And I've had good experience with Color Catcher sheets in my washing machine, at least for keeping my yellow cotton placemats from staining anything else yellow.

Cyndy C.

Here's a second vote for Color Catchers. That said, I have not had much trouble with hand dyed yarns and dye bleeding. I usually wash a newly completed pair in wool wash first..that may alert you if there's a problem.

Jolene (JoboDesigns on Ravelry)

I second Cyndy C. s suggestion to hand wash first and watch for bleeding. I tend to hand wash my homemade socks mostly... or at least until they start to show some wear, and then they get tossed in a mesh bag into the washer (not the dryer though, straight to blockers) and by that time there isn't any bleeding of dye to be done.



There are also the option of testing your yarn first.
Cut a small piece off, get it wet, and sit it on a white paper towel or napkin. If the color comes off, you need to either wash the socks separately for the first time, or treat them to keep the color from migrating.
If I'm in doubt, I do a special "wash" of white vinegar and water, rinsing with cold water until the water comes clear.
Or you can buy Synthrapol (used for tie died garments) and follow those directions, again rinsing until the water is clear.
Or if really in doubt, wash the socks by hand, by themselves, or only with items of the same color range.
I usually line-dry (in the shade) or flat-dry on a sweater rack my socks so they don't felt up.


I agree with the previous posters. If I think there is any chance a yarn will run (always a possibility with red & with hand dyed although I have found fading to be far more of a problem with hand dyed yarns), I hand wash it with vinegar in both the wash & rinse. That should help to set any dye & has the added advantage of softening yarn. In fact, I recently decided I will hand wash all hand dyed yarn. I've never had a problem with it running but my daughter knit a cute baby sweeater for the youngest one & it faded a LOT when she machine washed it.


Some hand dyed yarns bleed alot so I highly recommend washing them by hand until you know what to expect. Better safe than sorry.


I have had hand-dyed yarns bleed. Happens most with really dark saturated colors. I would definitely hand-wash and you can also soak in white vinegar before washing.

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