How to Keep Cotton Yarn From Fading

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Faded cotton loses its brilliance quickly.
Faded cotton loses its brilliance quickly. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Cotton yarn is a soft, all-natural material you can use to knit, crochet or macramé clothing, blankets and other items. Cotton yarn is available in almost any color imaginable. However, over time the color intensity of the cotton yarn will fade, leaving your projects looking drab. You can keep cotton yarn from fading by following a few care instructions. Being mindful will prevent items made from cotton yarn from fading.

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar
  • Mild detergent

Do not leave cotton yarn in the sunlight for extended periods. Sunlight bleaches the color out of cotton and other fabrics over time. Avoid leaving cotton yarn by a sunny window, in your car or outside without covering it to protect its color.

Soak cotton yarn in a one to one mixture of water and white vinegar for 30 minutes before washing it. The vinegar prevents the colors from fading in the wash. Additionally, vinegar acts as a natural fabric softener. Do not worry about the vinegar leaving a scent; a mild clothing detergent will remove any traces of it.

Hand wash cotton yarn in cold water with a mild clothing detergent. Machine-washing the cotton yarn can fade colors faster. Soak the cotton yarn for five minutes in the cold water. Add the amount of soap recommended on the package and wash gently for 10 minutes. Rinse in clean water before hanging or laying flat to air dry.

Revive faded cotton yarn by using liquid fabric dye from your craft store. Select a color that matches and use half the amount of dye called for on the package’s instructions when mixing it with water. After dyeing, treat the yarn with vinegar to set in the color before washing it.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you must wash cotton yarn before making something with it, keep it in a ball so it does not tangle.
  • This fade prevention will work for both natural and artificially colored cotton yarn.

References

  • "Laundry: The Home Comforts Book of Caring for Clothes and Linens"; Cheryl Mendelson; 2010
  • "Talking Dirty Laundry With The Queen Of Clean"; Linda Cobb; 2001
  • "Laundry: The Spirit of Keeping Home"; Monica Nassif and Patrick Fox; 2003
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