As you may remember, I mentioned at Christmas, that water from MeMum’s Christmas tree had spilled onto her redwork Christmas tree skirt, causing the red fabric to bleed onto the white fabric. You all gave me some great advice for how to solve the problem, so I’ve been chomping at the bit to get to try it out. I finally convinced MeMum to let me bring the tree skirt home — I had to promise her that if we ended up with a pink tree skirt, I’d make her a new one.
So! Yesterday was the day to test the theories. First, here’s a close-up shot of the damage. You can see traces of pink around the red fabric (click on picture for a close-up view) — the pictures don’t really do it justice — it looks much worse in real life.
What course of action to take? There were many suggestions, so it was hard to narrow them down. Shout color catcher and Synthrapol seemed to be the leading contenders, so I went with them. But which one to try first? I used the time tested method:
Synthrapol it is. I filled the washer tub with cold water because I was too timid to try hot water. I really didn’t want that red fabric to run any more. I added 1/4 cup of synthrapol.
Then, I held my breath and put the tree skirt into the tub.
Cue the Jaws music. Those bubbles look like they’re tinged a bit pink, but not really.
There wasn’t much red in the water. I hovered over that washer like — well, I can’t think of a suitable simile, but trust me, I kept opening the lid every 2 minutes. Not much going on in there. I let the water drain, checked the tree skirt and found it pretty much unchanged. I pondered the next step. Several people commented that they thought repeated washings was the key, so I filled the tub again and added more synthrapol. This time with warm water — the lack of red in the cold water made me very brave. Still hovering, I let it run its cycle, but there still wasn’t much going on. The bad news was that the stains were still there — maybe a teeny bit fainter, but it was hard to tell since they intensify when they’re wet. The good news was that the unstained white fabric was still white, so at least I hadn’t done any more damage. TheManoftheHouse suggested maybe I should quit hovering and maybe something would happen. Nope, not going to happen! I decided to get really brave and crank the temperature all the way up to hot. (And we have pretty hot water.) I put in more Synthrapol and this time I decided to throw in a color catcher just for the heck of it. The water looked perfectly clear to me, but I guess you never know.
After this load, the color catcher came out pretty pink. I have no clue where the pink came from, as the water was still clear, but it was really encouraging! I checked the stained areas, and gee, they looked a bit fainter. So, I decided to try it again — this time only with the color catcher. It still had a tinge of pink, so I did another washing with a third color catcher. Here’s a look at the color catchers after each cycle.
Altogether I did 6 wash cycles and I think one or two rinse cycles, stopping short of the spin cycle each time. After the 4th cycle, I started to get really excited as I could see some progress. And after the 6th cycle, it was looking pretty darn good. Actually, I was beside myself, because it looked like this:
WooHoo! I couldn’t believe it! You can still see just the faintest tinges of pink around the red, but it’s amazingly better than it was and I decided to cut and run because I was worried about the effect of all that scalding hot water on the red fabric and on the embroidery. (I’m a firm believer that as few washings as possible is the way to preserve quilts.)
So, I’m not sure exactly what the key was (synthrapol? color catcher? repeated washings? water temperature?) but I suspect it was a combination of several of them. All I know is that you guys are geniuses and MeMum and I are thrilled with the results. THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all your great advice. You guys are the BEST!
I hope you all had a great weekend — as you can see, mine was fantastic!
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