Can I wash food-dyed fabric?

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One of the questions I’ve seen over and over about food-dyed fabric is whether you can wash it. Results are going to vary from food-to-food, but I decided to test this out with my turmeric dyed hankie. Here’s what happened:

washing food dyed fabric

We have a high-efficiency front-loading washer, and I used Method unscented detergent on both loads. The reason that I stopped after the second load is that the color stopped fading. As you can see, it faded quite a bit in the first washing, but after that the color didn’t change much, if at all. The resulting yellow was a bit less neon than the original, but it’s still a bright, cheery yellow for sure!

Washing also softened the fabric up without any added fabric softener. The original dyed fabric was a little bit stiffer than the hankie was before dyeing, and after the first washing it went back to its original texture.

Of course, if you use different foods, they may wash out at different rates. The great thing about food-based dye is that it’s cheap and easy. If the color fades, you can always dye it again to brighten things up!

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