Color Catchers. Have you ever heard of them? I hadn’t up until about a year ago when I ordered a tunic top from a wonderful lady overseas who included a few of these lovely bounce looking sheets in with my purchase and a simple note that read “place me in wash and I will catch all that bleeds”. See my top was a dark indigo linen with light colored patch pockets. I had never seen these things before and thought it was a European thing. But I did as I was told and after multiple washings my top had faded naturally but never bled onto any of my clothing or the attached pockets. It had however turned these small crisp little white squares a light blue color. I thought nothing about it for a while until I had to wash some fabric for some orders and noticed that one piece of fabric was a rich royal blue another a rustic orange and the other a cream with bright colored bears on it. First I thought I will separate the white from the colors and toss some salt in the wash. Then I thought what the heck let’s give this a try. Well I don’t know about you but I don’t know where to acquire these lovely little catchers of color and living an hour into the bush you can’t just run to your local Wal-Mart to grab some. So I did what everyone does nowadays and I asked google what it thought about color catchers and this is what I found.
Color catcher sheets absorb and trap loose dyes in your wash be it HE or standard machine, protecting your clothes against color bleeding and helping to preserve original colors. Simply put there is no need to separate your laundry. You can wash dark and light together which saves time by not having to sort and is more efficient by not having to wash small loads.
I spent some time searching the good ol’ interweb for some recipes, how to’s and general info and the one I found that seemed interesting to me was that they used soda ash more commonly known as washing soda in their color catchers. As I have worked with this product before in making my own laundry detergent I felt quite comfortable in using it in my washer and I knew I had some soda on hand.
With my wealth of new color catching knowledge, some scrap flannel fabric and a box of washing soda I got to work. Change up your measurements as you need but I did one tablespoon into a cup of hot water in a large stainless steel bowl and allow it to dissolve. Once dissolved you can add your squares of fabric and let it soak. Once you are pleased with the amount of time your fabric has soaked just take out of bowl, you can either ring out or drip dry and then allow to air dry. Once your sheets are dry you can add them to your wash and once done just keep your fabric scraps and re-soak in a batch of washing soda and water to re-charge them. It’s that easy!!
As with making my own laundry detergent a box of washing soda goes a long way so diy projects like this can be very inexpensive. A box will cost around $7-20 CAD depending on where you go and the brand you buy. But it will last you a long time as well it can be used in so many other ways. Here are just a few: all purpose cleaner, fireplace cleaner, outdoor cushion cleaner, unclog your drains, make your own laundry soap, stain fighter, pots and pans cleaner, grill cleaner, pest control in your garden and so much more. Please do your research before using washing soda in any of these areas as most of the time is needs to be diluted and or can’t be used in some applications.
Have these mysterious color catching sheets worked for you? Do you use washing soda? Let us know!
*Disclaimer: I have done my own tests with washing soda in various areas and have always tested small areas before continuing on. As with any diy use at your own caution and always do a small test first*