Fabric Fail: Fading

Fabric Fails – What they are and how you can prevent them

Fabric Fails happen when you find yourself in clothes made of mystery fabric. They may be cheaper for manufactures, but can be a disaster for you. The problem is, it’s easy to mistake a mystery fabric for cotton. They can look like cotton and even feel like cotton—but only at first.

Learn more about fading (a fabric fail) to see what awaits if you don’t check the label.

Fabric Fail: Fading

71% OF PEOPLE SAY THEY ARE BOTHERED BY FADING.1

 

HERE’S WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

I pulled an old favorite out of my closet this morning and decided to wear it to work. Never again. All day I had to endure my coworker pointing out how much the shirt had faded (she must have remembered the top from a few years back) and how it was covered in pills. Farewell, favorite tank. Rayon #FabricFail!

 

I bought a dark purple top from [brand] and was so upset that it faded so quickly. I only washed it 4 or 5 times and the color turned lavender! If I wanted a lavender colored shirt, I would have bought that! Won’t be going back anytime soon.

 

ABOUT FADING

Fading is the loss or changing of colors and is generally caused by multiple washings.

 

CAUSES

Fading is not actually the fault of any particular fiber. Whether or not a garment fades depends on the quality of the dyes and the manufacturing process.

 

All fabrics absorb dye differently, though the difference is often not visible to the naked eye. Dye does wash out of some fabrics more easily than others, depending upon a host of factors.

 

Dye selection is the most significant factor in preventing color fading. Most dyes are designed to remain in the fiber when applied properly.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Though cotton often takes the blame for fading, it isn’t a cotton problem—it’s a clothing problem. Garments made of non-cotton fabrics are just as likely to fade.

 

Fading is more commonly found in darker color clothing (black, blue, red, and purple), so be careful when washing your darks.

 

You can preserve and maintain the color of your cotton clothing with these laundering tips:

  • Invert garments.
  • Do not overload the washer.
  • Lighter weight or more delicate cotton garments should not be washed with heavier garments.
  • Do not overdry.
  • Separate into similar color levels (whites, lights, darks), and wash new dark garments only with like colors.
  • Follow care label for water temperature.
  • Detergents that contain “builders” that are alkaline can affect some dyes more than other colorants. The best approach would be to use detergents that do not contain sodium carbonate or oxygen bleach ingredients

 

BOTTOM LINE

Fading is a manufacturing issue. To preserve the color of your clothing, make sure to follow the care instructions and avoid certain types of detergents.

 

CHECK THE LABEL

  1. Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor.™
  2. Sustainability Working Group 100 Launderings Study, September 2012.
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