Why Is The Colour of Your Favourite Shirt Changing Over Time?

Views: 246     Author: Lydia     Publish Time: 2023-11-02      Origin: Site


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Why Is The Colour of Your Favourite Shirt Changing Over Time?

Your once-bold red shirt turns a delicate pink, and your once-bright blue jeans start to seem like faded, greyish denim. But fear not—a handful of individuals are accountable:

1. Exposure to Light:

Think of your clothes as a tiny superhero squad facing up against UV radiation, the evil force. These rays are the deadliest enemies of the colours in your clothes because they come from artificial and solar light sources. Because UV rays harm the dyes and molecules in the cloth, the colours bleed. You may prevent this by keeping your clothes in a dark place or using garment bags to shield them from the sun.

Second, sweating

Playing and running about produce sweat, and salt may be a crafty adversary when it comes to your clothing. The dyes in your garments react with the salt in your perspiration, causing bleeding. This explains why you could see white streaks under your armpits when wearing coloured clothing. To prevent this, try not to use too much deodorant and wash your clothes as soon as you perspire.

3. Transparency

While cleaning your clothing is essential to keeping it looking new, it can also affect how colorfast it is. The friction that your clothes and the chemicals in the washing machine cause might break the bonds that hold the colour to the fabric. By washing your garments on a mild cycle, flipping them inside out, and using detergent designed specifically for coloured materials, you can lessen this.

4. Air Impurities:

Our clothing may become a different colour due to chemicals and tiny particles in the air we breathe. Air pollution can alter the way dyes are organised, making the colours in your clothes appear less brilliant. Although you cannot control the air, you may mitigate its effects by ensuring that your garments are folded neatly and stored properly.


Impact of Fibre and Dye Types:

Let's examine how the type of fabric and dyes used in your garment can impact its colorfastness.

1. Natural versus synthetic dyes:

Think of natural dyes as paint made from berries and leaves; they are less colorfast. Synthetic dyes, on the other hand, are made to stay vivid, much like superhero paints. Therefore, if you want your clothes to stay coloured for a long period, go for synthetically dyed apparel.

2. Acid vs. Reactive Dye:

While acid dyes are more like sticky notes that might fall off, reactive colours stay to the fibres of your clothing like Velcro. The choice of colour can have a big effect on how long your clothes last after washing and wearing. Using reactive dyes will result in long-lasting colours.

3. Sombre hues and designs:

Like a superhero's costume, fading can be more successfully hidden by dark colours and patterns than by light ones. Should you have a strong preference for bright colours, you could choose clothing with eye-catching patterns or rich colours to reduce fading over time.

Wash-fastness of colour

The ability of dyed or printed materials to retain their colour after washing is known as colorfastness to washing, or wash fastness. Stated differently, a fabric is capable of withstanding the rigours of laundry without suffering from noticeable fading.

The degree to which dye molecules enter the interpolymer chain gaps in the fibres and the strength of the interaction between the dye and the fabric are two parameters that affect colorfastness to wash.

Standardised tests are used to evaluate colorfastness to washing. In order to help producers assure the quality of their products, these tests are crucial in the textile business for figuring out how well a cloth will hold its colour after several washing cycles.

Colorfastness to washing is assessed using a number of techniques. The following tests have been approved by the International Organisation for Standardisation to determine wash fastness:

Setting Up the Test Specimen:

A 10-by-4-cm dyed fabric sample is cut and sandwiched between two 5-by-4-cm unfinished, undyed samples. The fabric is stitched on both sides to form a composite test sample.

The Method of Testing Washing Fastness:

A composite sample is mixed with the appropriate amounts of water and solution and shaken for thirty minutes at 50 or 52°C in a water-shaking bath.

The sample is taken out of the washing solution at the end of the 30-minute testing session.

The sample is rinsed twice with cold distilled water and then washed for ten minutes under running cold water.

Excess water is carefully squeezed out of the sample.

One short side and two long sides are free of stitching.

The sample is dried in a tumble dryer set to 60°C.

The colour change greyscale is used to compare the contrast between the treated and untreated sample, and the staining scale in the colour matching cabinet is used to compare the staining of adjacent cloth.


Shade change in colour: Grade 4 (a positive outcome).

Grade 4/5 colour stains in cotton indicates a satisfactory outcome.

Washed samples are compared to standards using the AATCC Grey Scale Rating.

To determine the extent of colour change, colorfastness test results are frequently compared to predetermined standards. The American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists created the AATCC Grey Scale, which is one of the frequently used instruments for this purpose. A collection of colour standards known as the Grey Scale can be used to visually compare the colour changes of tested items.

Grade 5 (no colour change) and Grade 1 (severe colour change) are the two ends of the AATCC Grey Scale. You may quickly ascertain the degree of colorfastness and the effect of washing or perspiration on your clothing by comparing the tested fabric's colour change with the norms on the Grey Scale.

Test No., Sample Specification Size (CM), Water Ratio (ML), and Temperature (°C) in the Testing Method

Colorfastness in Response to Sweat

Colour fastness to sweat is crucial when it comes to sportswear and apparel intended for active lives. Sweat is a natural bodily fluid that can impact a fabric's colour fastness when it comes into touch with it. This is when the most widely used standards for determining colorfastness to perspiration—ISO 105 E04 and AATCC 15—come into play.

Testing colour fastness in the presence of acidic sweat is the main topic of AATCC 15. Given that human sweat is usually acidic, this is very important. Sweat's composition can, however, vary depending on the environment; it can become alkaline at higher temperatures or in the presence of germs.

Testing for perspiration

To perform the fastness to sweat test, the leather or textile sample needs to be immersed in a synthetic perspiration solution. This artificial perspiration solution comprises different concentrations of different salts and acids to mimic the makeup of human sweat. The sample is then baked for a predefined period of time, usually four to twenty-four hours, at a controlled temperature and humidity.

After the sweat exposure period, the sample is rinsed and dried, and its colour and staining are evaluated. The evaluation is often done using a grayscale or a colorimeter. This test assesses the fabric's inherent fading or discoloration as well as the material's capacity to transmit colour to adjacent surfaces.

The findings of the sweating fastness test are reported on an arbitrary scale, typically ranging from 1 to 8. Higher scores imply greater colour fastness in reaction to perspiration. In order to ensure that products maintain their quality and look while being used—especially in situations where they may come into touch with liquids like sweat or water—these tests are frequently performed in the leather and textile industries.

Light-fastness of colour

Walking outside in the sunlight causes your clothes to gently change, even if you're not aware of it. Over time, exposure to sunlight can fade the colours in your fabric, giving your clothes a worn, lifeless look. A lack of colour fastness to light is what is meant by this.

Colour fastness to light is widely measured using standardised methods. AATCC 16 and ISO 105 B02 are the most commonly utilised standards. Conducting these tests is necessary to determine how a fabric reacts to exposure to sunlight.

To replicate the effects of natural sunlight on a piece of cloth, a Xenon Arc Lamp is utilised. This lamp creates light that is remarkably comparable to the sun's rays. A fabric strip is put in a fadometer and exposed to accelerated fading units (AFUs) for a predefined amount of time in the AATCC 16 test.

For coats and clothes that will be exposed to continuous sunshine, such as things that are often hung out to dry on a washing line, testing for colorfastness to light is very important. The results of these tests help both makers and customers understand how well a cloth maintains colour in these types of situations.

Colour Fastness for Rubbing and Crocking:

The material's colour fastness when it comes to rubbing or crocking is the cause of the blue stains from denim jeans on your white t-shirt. In this test, the resistance of a cloth to colour transfer when repeatedly brushed on a dry or wet surface is evaluated.

The most often used standards for assessing a fabric's colorfastness under rubbing conditions are ISO 105 X12 and AATCC 8. The tested fabric is rubbed against both wet and dry, non-dyed cloth for a predetermined period of time using a specifically designed tool called a crockmeter.

High-quality materials typically receive ratings of four for dry rubbing and three to three points five for wet rubbing. These ratings show how much rubbing the material can take before colour transfer or discoloration becomes noticeable. Knowing the results of these tests will help you choose textiles that are less prone to transfer colour between your clothes, helping you avoid those ugly dye stains.

How to Maintain Colour Vibrancy

After talking about the reasons why clothing fades quickly, let's have a look at some useful advice that will help you keep your clothes looking brighter for longer:

Employ Approved Colorfast Finishes and Dyes in Manufacturing:

When buying apparel, seek out pieces with approved colorfast finishes and dyes. Colour fastness is a top priority for manufacturers, and they usually state as much on the label. Superior dyes and finishes can greatly extend the colour retention of your garments via washing, sun exposure, and perspiration.

Dry Clean or Line Dry Delicate Shades:

Wear delicate or vibrantly coloured garments sparingly when using a dryer or other rigorous drying methods. Line drying is a gentler way to preserve the colour of your clothes. For really fragile products, dry cleaning could be an option since it can protect the integrity of the fabric and stop colour fading.

Use a mild detergent and wash in cold water.

When washing garments, use cold water and a moderate detergent. Compared to hot water, there is less chance of dye bleedthrough when using cold water.

Mild detergents are also made with coloured fabrics in mind. Follow the care recommendations on the label of your clothing for the best guidance on maintaining colour fastness.

Take into Account Longevity-Friendly Clothes Materials:

Invest in apparel composed of fabrics with a reputation for being colorfast. Remember that a combination of synthetic and natural fibres can also provide good colour fastness.

In summary

Vibrant and colourful garments can lose their charm over time due to a variety of circumstances, including washing and exposure to perspiration. In order to keep your clothes looking vibrant, you need to understand colorfastness and the metrics that are used to measure it.

By following the above tips and taking good care of your clothing, you can greatly extend its life and keep it looking brand new. Remember that in order to preserve colorfastness and stop colour fading and make sure your clothes continue to make you happy and give you confidence for years to come, prevention is key.

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