There are many ways of colouring fabrics;

some are woven from dyed yarns, some are dyed after weaving; and some are coloured by printing the surface. In spite of modern technology colour failures continue to occur.
The problem is that some dyes are soluble in drycleaning solvent. A blend of two or more dyes in a garment where only one is solvent soluble, can result in major colour change, e.g. a purple garment coloured from a blend of red and blue dyes will end up either red or blue if one dye is soluble and is removed.
Colour failure occurs frequently in household items such as bedspreads and curtains. Often the fading is only slight, but it becomes noticeable when, one item is compared with a matching item which has not been cleaned or cleaned in the same manner. Matching curtains and pelmets should all be cleaned together, and in the same process, if possible.

Other reasons for colour loss are water solubility , crocking, light exposure, fume effects and chemical damage.

Some dyes bleed when wet and this can occur in washing , exposure to perspiration, rain, or accidental water spillage.

The fabric finish in some garments, particularly viscose and acetate, have often been treated to give them body. Accidental water spills can cause the additional fabric finish to form dark rings or streaks as it dries. Such treated garments may lighten on exposure to water. This is difficult to remedy on drycleanable fabrics because they require additional water to remove the build-up, and this may aggravate the problem.

Crocking is where the colour rubs off from the surface of the fabric. It is usually caused by wear, particularly along the edges of hems and creases.

Light exposure causes most dyes to fade, especially sunlight, but sometimes colour failure occurs rapidly on exposed areas such as shoulders, collars, and sleeves. Artificial light can also cause fading. Blue, green and lavender dyes are particularly light sensitive, especially on silk and wool fabrics.

Fumes from gas fires and car exhausts for example may cause a gradual colour change. Such change is usually more noticeable on exposed areas such as shoulders and sleeves, or in the case of curtains and upholstery on the external folds. Fumes can affect even garments which have been stored away unless the container was airtight.

Chemical change to dyes, may be caused by bleaches , perspiration or alkaline substances present in many toiletries, particularly perfumes. Dyes used on silk can fade after contact with alcohol and the acid from lemon juice and soft drinks can cause a bleaching effect on some dyes.

White is actually a colour, too.

In their natural state, many fabrics have an off-white or yellowish cast and are often bleached to remove this,or treated with whiteners, in order to make them appear whiter and brighter. Some break down and lose their whitening power.They are especially sensitive to light exposure when wet and problems can often occur if a garment is dried in the sun. For example, a white sweater dried flat in the sun may turn yellow on the front yet remain white on the back

To assure the best colour performance of your garments:

Always read and follow the care instructions, particularly for bleaching and protect from excessive exposure to light.

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