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Everything you need to know about colour run stains

Image by Aqua Mechanical

When the colours of your clothing bleed together, this is known as a colour run. Colour runs are very common, and this is everything you need to know about them. 

  • Why do colour run stains occur?
  • The colourfastness test
  • How to prevent colour runs 
  • How to get rid of colour run stains

Why do colour run stains occur? 

The brightly coloured clothing that we buy has been dyed using colour pigments. In order for our clothes to remain a vibrant colour, the colour pigments of the dye must be securely attached to the fabric. Colour run occurs when the coloured pigments have not been adequately attached to the fabric. When these inadequately attached pigments come into contact with water, the dye begins to run and can transfer onto other items of clothing. Colour run stains are most apparent when washing isn’t separated. If a darker item of clothing begins to run, it can be damaging to lighter colours of clothing.

Image by Mark Hillary

The colourfastness test

The most effective way to test if your clothing will run in the wash is by using the colourfastness test. This test should be carried out before you wash your item with any other clothing. 

Begin the test by selecting a hidden section of your item, such as the hem or seam. Dampen that section and lay something absorbent on the spot, such as a white paper towel or handkerchief. Next, iron on top of the absorbent material. If the colour from your item bleeds onto the absorbent material than your item is not colourfast and therefore could stain any other clothing it is washed with. 

Image by Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker

How to prevent colour runs 

The best way to minimise the damage of colour run stains is by washing the same, or similar, coloured clothing together. This will mean that, should your colours run in the wash, there will not be a dramatic impact made to your other items in the wash in turns of colour difference. 

It is important to remember that hot water opens the fibres in clothing, therefore encouraging any non-colourfast clothing to run. The best way to combat this issue is to wash your clothing in cold water. 

Finally, to prevent colour runs, don’t leave your washing in a wet pile or in your washing machine, whilst wet, for a long period of time. This encourages any non-colourfast clothing to run and potentially stain multiple items of your clothing.

How to get rid of colour run stains 

If your colours have run and the stain is noticeable the best thing to do is treat the stain as soon as possible. Put your stained item back into the washing machine, on its own, and wash it again using laundry detergent. As long as you act fast, ideally when the item is still wet, the stain should remove itself. If washing your stained item using normal laundry detergent does not treat the stain, you can find specific stain remover laundry detergents. 

If your colour run was particularly bad, don’t forget to put your washing machine on an empty spin to clean out your machine and avoid any damage to the clothes you put in later. 

The best way to avoid colour run stains is by letting us launder your clothes for you. Book your Laundryheap service by visiting the Laundryheap website or by downloading the free Laundryheap app. We are now servicing Boston, including Boston City, Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline. 


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The benefits of steaming your clothes

Clothes steamers are perfect for when your clothes need freshening up but not a full wash in the washing machine. The benefits of steaming your clothes do not stop there.

  • Preserves clothing 
  • Removes stains
  • Kills odors 
  • Reduces allergens 
  • Removes wrinkles

Preserves clothing 

Over-washing causes irreversible damage to your clothing. Each time you wash your clothes the different materials rubbing together in the machine causes fibers to weaken. This can lead to holes and rips that are near impossible to repair. Clothes steamers do not include any chemicals other than water and heat, meaning that they are much gentler on clothing fibers. If your clothes are unstained, using a clothes steamer is a fast and effective way to freshen your clothing without damaging their fibers. 

Removes stains 

Clothes steamers are particularly useful at getting rid of stubborn stains. Before using your steam cleaner, pre-treat the stain in the most effective way depending on what has caused it. Once the stain has been pre-treated, aim your steam cleaner directly at the stain for around 30 seconds. The heat from the steam will loosen the stain and work with the pre-treatment to remove it. 

Kills odours 

If your clothing is unstained but odorous a steam cleaner will lift odours and leave your clothes ready to re-wear. When water reaches a steaming level it becomes hot enough to deactivate bacteria that cause odours. If you have a particularly stubborn odour, spray the strongest smelling area with a combination of white vinegar and water, this will help deactivate the bacteria and lift the smell from your clothes.

Reduces allergens 

If you suffer from allergies, such as hayfever, a clothes steamer can help alleviate your symptoms. When you use a clothes steamer, the steam pushes through the fibers of your clothing, eradicating any lingering bacteria, dust mites, or pollen. This is particularly helpful during hayfever season when pollen sticks to your clothing after being outside.

Reduces wrinkles 

If you hate ironing investing in a clothes steamer could be your saving grace. Hang your item of clothing on a coat hanger and gently run your clothes steamer up and down the garment. The steam will loosen the fibers of the fabric, allowing wrinkles in the material to be released. This will leave you with fresh, un-wrinkled, clothing without the need for an iron

Save yourself the hassle of laundering your own clothes and book a Laundryheap dry cleaning slot. We will pick up, dry clean, and re-deliver your clothes straight to your door. Book your slot now by visiting the Laundryheap website or by downloading the free Laundryheap app.