Monday, October 5, 2009


I have always had a liking for Science Fair Projects... except when I had to do them myself because then I could never come up with anything to do! Ha!

Remember that table quilt I made back Easter time?
Well as we've spilled on it occasionally I've spot cleaned it and some of the red squares have bled onto the white. I was way sad. (Yes I did wash the fabrics before I made it.) Well fall is now here and it is time to put it away. But it definitely needed to be washed for real before going into storage. I was so, so sad at the thought of my hard work being ruined and turning all pink so I thought I'd look online for ideas. I found websites that said that salt would seal the colors, that vinegar would seal the colors, and that neither of those would seal the colors...

So I set out for my Science Fair Project! I got out four bowls, cut up some of the scraps from that quilt, especially the ones that were bleeding, and set up the test!

First Bowl: Cold Water and Salt
Second Bowl: Cold Water and Vinegar
Third Bowl: Cold Water
Fourth Bowl: Warm Water

Within minutes the warm water was turning red, then a few minutes after the cold water. The vinegar and salt stayed clear. A couple hours later the vinegar had started to turn red but the salt was still clear. So I washed my quilt with salt water and detergent and dried it immediately and it worked. Phew!!

After a whole day, these were my final results:

Salt still clear. Vinegar the most red!?!

Waters both a little red.

I was grateful I was able to find a solution (the internet is amazing in that way!) and I thought that maybe some of you craft-doers might find it helpful. The other thing I found while searching that I thought was helpful is to throw a piece of a cut-up white t-shirt into the washing machine with your fabric when you are pre-washing it to make sure that there is still not dye in it... sometimes it can take multiple times to get the dye out (and sometimes it may never all come out!)


Dawn said...

Thanks Becky! I've never run into this with my fabric, but I'm sure I will eventually. I will definitely keep this in mind. You're brilliant :)

seanandnataliekowallis said...

Yeah for science!

*Liese said...

I'm so proud of you--and just as a heads up--When I buy new towels/fabric, I soak it in vinegar first just so it will pull the excess dye out of the fabric (as you learned with your experiments!). Then the salt water to seal it. And finally, with detergent so it doesn't stink. :) Just something you may want to try with later projects.

Aloha_Misty said...

Wow Becky you have got to be the best homemaker ever. I need to try the salt water on some shirts Doug got the girls from China. They bleed red and blue onto everything! Maybe I will do the vinegar/salt water idea that *Liese suggested!

Enjoying Life . . . One day at a time! said...

I am so excited to know about that! I always have that fear. Thanks for sharing, I know I'll use this in the future!

Tannie Datwyler said...

I love that you posted about this - it makes me smile!! That is so clever to try it those different ways.

Kristen Moss said...

Ok that was AWSOME. I am totally serious. I have always wondered what to do about that. I was sure that vinegar would have worked. I would have bet money on it.

I am so glad that you posted this.

your a genius

Deann said...

awesome :) This is really very helpful! Thanks!!