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Bleeding Fabric: The Grape Stomp of Desperation

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I’m a prewasher when it comes to fabrics. I like to preshrink them since I do a lot of mixing purchased fabrics with hand dyed fabrics. I also like to make sure my fabric isn’t going to bleed. Better to find out before it’s part of a quilt, right?

I bought this gorgeous black and white fabric and I was really excited to use it in my quilt. But then bleeding happened. Like, really bad bleeding. The white areas became this really dingy looking blueish gray. I was so disappointed!

I did everything I could think of to get it to come out. I washed it several times. Soaked it extensively. And yet the dirty gray just wouldn’t budge. It didn’t even look like it had gotten any better.

I was desperate. I really liked this fabric and I didn’t want to have to push back my project another week and a half waiting by ordering a new fabric to replace this, but it wasn’t usable in its current state. It was just so obviously not white.

So I grabbed a bottle of dish soap, poured a bunch on top of the fabric, and started squishing and smooshing as much as I could. I was actually a little shocked when I started to see a bit of color coming out in the soap! Hey, maybe this could work after all!

But my noodle arms aren’t really strong enough to keep up the effort for very long so I figured, work smarter, not harder, right? Let’s stomp this fabric to death.

This was the birth of The Grape Stomp of Desperation method.

Stomping on bleeding fabric

After squishing it with just soap for a little bit I added about an inch of water as hot as my feet could handle, stomping and readjusting the fabric until the water got pretty dark. So much more dye came out than I expected! Every so often I’d drain the water, add more soap to the fabric, and add new, clean water. I kept this up until I couldn’t see any more dye in the water. The last few times I didn’t add any more soap so I could rinse all that out too. This took me about an hour of stomping, so it’s definitely a bit of a workout!

After that was done I threw it into the wash for one more cycle just to get the last little bit of the soap out.

I really can’t believe it worked. Check out how good it looks now! (White fabric for reference.)

Washed bleeding fabric with white fabric

So if you ever get really desperate to save some bleeding fabric and have nothing to lose, go ahead and try stomping it out!

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