Colour Run

So picture your beautiful white nappies, the sense of satisfaction as you go to get them out the wash knowing that they will be back to their sparkling selves after whatever delight was dropped in them a few hours earlier. You open the door and you see, with horror, the beast. That new red top, your child's jeans or one of your brightly coloured wool covers (been there, done that), not only shrunk to doll sized but have now turned all those lovely white nappies a delightful pink/grey/blue.

shrunk wool cover

(These both started the same size, adding insult to injury my nappies became a lovely shade of red).

So what causes colour run?

Colour run happens when non-colour fast fabrics are washed with light coloured porous fabrics. So the non-colour fast item loses some of its colour and the lighter fabric picks up that colour in the wash. This is most likely to occur either the first few times a dark garment is washed or when higher temperatures are used. This presents two problems, one the dark item will fade and two is your lovely white washing will no longer be white.

How will i know what is colour-fast?

When it comes to cloth nappies, all PUL, Minky and Fleece are colour-fast so you need not worry about them.

Some coloured cotton or bamboo nappies, though shouldn't, have been known to lose some colour in the first wash or two so its worth being cautious with those initially.

When it comes to bulking up your main wash make sure you read the garment label, if the item states to wash separately or with darks only then there is a very good chance the colour will run.

How do i prevent colour run?

For coloured cotton or bamboo nappies, simply wash them a couple times with coloured family laundry before washing with your white nappies to minimise the risk of colour run.

For family laundry, the best way is to simply avoid washing dark clothes with your nappies, no matter how old the item is, how often you have washed it, navy jeans and black jumpers are likely to turn your nappies grey or blue.

If you are struggling to find white laundry to bulk your wash up then choose light coloured items, pale colours and pop a colour run sheet into the wash to mop up any excess dye.

Does it really matter?

Well yes and no, colour run is only cosmetic and does not affect the functionality of the nappies and over time the colour will fade and your miscoloured nappies will most likely become white again. Though I would appreciate anyone hiring a nappy kit to be mindful that other hirers may not like recieving multicoloured nappies! Colour run will affect resale value, so if you plan to sell them in the future it is worth baring this in mind.

How do I fix it?

So it's happened, we have all been there and the nappies are no longer white (or any other white laundry you didn't want dyed). If you dont want to just wait and see if they go back to normal then here are a few tips:

  1. Keep the dyed items wet and immediately rewash at 60 degrees with a full dose of detergent for low soiling.
  2. Rewash with colour run remover such as those by Dylon or Dr Beckman, carefully follow the instructions on the packet (not colour catchers).
  3. Soak them in bleach carefully following the instructions on the bottle for whites (generally shouldn't need to soak more then 30 mins), rinse off and then put them through a 60 degree wash with a full dose of detergent for low soiling. (Do not use this method if trying to remove colour run from non colour fast laundry).
  4. Rit colour remover, designed to remove colour for fabrics and allow redyeing, simply follow the instructions on the packet. (Do not use this method if trying to remove colour run from non colour fast laundry).

 Colour run boosters  Boosters after bleach sanitise

(Booster with navy colour run, before and after bleach sanitise).


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