Common Causes of Colour Damage to your Garments

Many consumers are not aware that dyes can fade if exposed to light, either sunlight or artificial light. With this type of colour loss, fading is generally apparent on only one side of the fabric. The reverse side is usually unaffected. Certain dyes, such as blues, violets, or greens, are more prone to this type of fading than others.

Fume fading (gas fading) develops when air comes into contact with heated surfaces and forms nitrogen oxide gases. These gases then react with certain dyes, usually those found on acetate and nylon, and cause them to change color (usually blue to red). Fume fading usually occurs on both sides of the fabric.

Some dyes, such as pink, lavender, and red, can undergo colour reactions (usually red to blue) from contact with water or any water-bearing substance, including sweat from perspiration. If this colour reaction is noted soon after it happens, it can often be reversed by us at Laundry Chief. However, in some cases, these dyes are so sensitive that restoration is not possible.

Some dyes will exhibit a colour change when exposed to an acidic or alkaline substance. Contact with fruit juice, beverages, foodstuffs, and other acidic substances can cause blue dyes to turn red; contact with sweat from perspiration, household chemicals, toiletries, and other alkaline solutions can turn blue or green dyes yellow. Alkalines can also decompose fluorescent brighteners used on white fabrics, causing them to discolor. If treated immediately, most acid/alkaline color reactions can be neutralized and corrected by our professional team.

Contact with alcohol can dissolve certain dyes, resulting in a permanent color loss. This is especially common on dyes used on acetate and silk. The alcohol content of most perfumes and colognes is capable of causing this reaction.

Consumers are often not aware of the harmful effects domestic cleaning chemicals, hair products, floor scrubbing products, disinfectants, and other agents can have on their clothes. Some dyes are extremely sensitive to bleach, and even mildly concentrated bleaches such as chlorine can cause immediate, permanent colour loss.