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Batik fabrics in my quilt are bleeding

by Jude
(New Zealand)

Disaster has struck me!

The first lesson which I did not do. Wash my batiks..... of course, I did not@!!!

When I was pressing my finished top, a little bit of water hit one of the batiks.

Shock, horror the color leeched out onto the white. I have spent several hours replacing the white sashings that the batik bled into. My dilemma is that I have now finished the top and fear that all my hard work will be ruined if it ever has to be washed. This quilt is to be my son's 21st gift. I need some suggestions as to where to go from here.

Any useful advice would be gratefully appreciated.



I had the same exact thing happen with my little Penguin Quilt. (There are a couple of possible remedies in the 'Comments' section of that page.) Never intended to wash it, as it was a wall hanging, and I accidentally tipped the iron over on it. A cold iron with cold water. My blue ran, too.

I didn't have color catchers or dye magnets to wash the quilt with at the time and I was never able to get the blue out of the white. Arrghhh!

What I suggest to you is to piece some of the blue scraps together with the white and then wash it (in the machine as I expect that's how your son would wash it) with color catchers to see what will happen. Don't worry about quilting it or batting or anything.

While Retayne is to help stop commercial fabrics from bleeding, you need to use hot water to activate it (and agitate the quilt for about 20 minutes). If the batik bled with water from your iron, I would be quite hesitant to submerge and agitate it in hot.

Unfortunately, that's the best advice I can give so I'll put it out to my readers.

Readers, if you've had a quilt with bleeding fabric (batik in particular) and you've saved it, what did you use? We'd appreciate any help you can lend. Just use the 'comments' link below.

Thank you!


Julie Baird

Comments for Batik fabrics in my quilt are bleeding

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batik quilts
by: Anonymous

I have used Shout-color catcher with good results.

From the Editor:

I agree with you. The color catchers have saved a number of quilts that I've read about on Facebook. Just be willing to use more than one if needed.

~ Julie

bleeding fabric colors
by: Anonymous

I had a piece of black and white piano keyboard print. The black bled on the white.

I used color catchers the first wash.

The white wasn't white so I washed it again with a color catcher before I dried it. The white came out white but the black looked faded.

I am wondering what a color safe bleach would do.

Good luck

by: Deniae

I have a quilt I bought in 2013. All batik. Not sure if the material was washed before made. The quilt shop said wash with salt and vinegar.


From the Editor:

Hi Deniae!

Unfortunately you're going to get as many answers as there are quilters. Each of us has different experiences and we will share.

Personally, if it was mine and I was concerned about it bleeding, I'd:
  1. Dampened a white cloth with cool water and rub it on a fabric in the quilt to see if there's any color transfer. No color on the white cloth, I'd move to the next fabric. Noting which, if any, of the fabrics had color transfer.

  2. If there was just a small bit of transfer, I'd use a couple of color catchers in with the wash. Wash in cold and get the quilt out just as soon as the wash was finished. Color, if it's bleeding, can transfer from one wet fabric to another if they're just touching.

  3. If there was significant color transfer and I HAD to wash the quilt, then I'd use Retayne, a soap formulated specifically for commercial quilt fabric. Follow the instructions exactly. (This may be hard because you need to aggitate the quilt for quite awhile--some washing machines don't have a long even aggitation cycle. You may need to fiddle with the cycle a bit.)
Then PRAY. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that the fabric won't bleed unless it's been pre-tested and prepared.

Good luck to you!


Julie Baird

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