How Do Color Catchers Work?

How Do Color Catchers Work?

how do color catchers work

Color catchers look like dryer sheets but go in the washing machine. Their purpose is to prevent excess dye from escaping colored clothes, causing color runs into any white clothes you have mixed in with the same load.

The magic of color catchers is in their absorbent fibers. These clothes act like magnets, grabbing loose dye as it runs into the water.

Another benefit is that you’ll get to enjoy brighter-colored clothes for longer, given that not as many color and dirt deposits will land on them during washes.

What Are Color Catchers Made Of?

Color catchers come in many forms, from store-bought sheets to homemade varieties. Regardless of the approach, most contain fabric and washing soda.

If you make your own color catchers, I recommend using old white towels or another white cloth so that you can have the satisfaction of seeing the dye molecules on them.

Do Color Catchers Go in the Washer or Dryer?

Color catchers go into the washing machine. They’re not a replacement for detergent since they don’t contain soap, so you’ll still need to add that, along with fabric softener, if you use it.

Do They Really Help?

Yes, color catchers are very helpful for mixed washes! They ensure your fabric stays its original color for as long as possible. As a result, you’ll save money and time by not having to run more than one wash.

Are Color Catchers Bad for Washing Machines?

are color catchers bad for washing machines

Color catcher sheets aren’t bad for most washing machines. They’re effective at stopping dye transfers between dark clothes and white clothes without ever releasing chemicals.

However, depending on the design of your washer, they may get stuck in the sump hose.

How Do You Keep a Color Catcher From Getting Stuck in the Washing Machine?

To prevent the possibility of dye catchers from getting stuck, use a safety pin to attach the sheet to either your white or colored clothes.

Can You Reuse Color Catchers?

can you reuse color catchers

Whether you’re using a famous brand like Shout color catchers or you made your own, these tools will work most effectively if you use a new one each time. Nevertheless, some people report reusing them without a problem, so I’ll leave it up to you.

If you decide to reuse your color catcher, try to do so only if it’s accumulated a small amount of pigment.

Does Cold Water Prevent Color Bleeding?

does cold water prevent color bleeding

Yes, cold water prevents colored clothes from bleeding into white clothes.

The reason it reduces this chance of color transfer is that it prevents the clothes’ fibers from opening. Therefore it acts as a trap to hold in color.

Natural Ways to Help Prevent Color Bleeding in Your Laundry

natural ways to help prevent color bleeding in your laundry

Here’s the good news for people who love choices: Color catchers aren’t the only item that stops colors from bleeding during a wash.

Below are some other options although they might not last as long as the store-bought kind.

1. Salt

Salt does an excellent job of preventing new clothes from bleeding. Mix ½ cup of salt with your clothes and put it through a wash cycle.

2. White Vinegar

Another option for setting colors in clothes to prevent bleeding is to add 1/2 cup of white vinegar. It’s best to add the vinegar during the rinse cycle.

3. Baking soda

Baking soda can help your clothes maintain brightness by preventing the dye from bleeding. I recommend adding ½ cup of this kitchen must-have to the wash cycle.

4. Air Drying (and Avoiding Direct Sun)

Air drying is better or your clothes and towels than putting them in the dryer, as dryers cause faster fading. However, hanging your clothes in the direct sunlight will have a worse effect than the dryer, so keep them in a shady place.

James Marshall

About the author

James is a business management professional and consultant with a former background in maintenance, repair, and hands-on projects. He enjoys DIY tasks and maintenance around the home as well as part-time writing. Read more »