I have a 2½ year old son who is always getting new clothes. He grows so quickly he is in constant need of new things. For me, the first laundering is always the most stressful, because I worry that the dyes from the new clothes are going to bleed all over the entire load, and I hate having spent money on something cute just to ruin it (or the other clothes in the load) before he even gets a chance to wear it. I absolutely stress over the un-sortable -- the dark-blue shirt with a white front, or the white-and-red striped shirt with dark-red sleeves. I recall an adorable "First Christmas" one-piece outfit he had that was white at the neck and chest but deep red the rest of the way down -- even though I washed it by itself and yanked it from the washer as soon as it was done, the white turned pink before he even got a chance to wear it. Now those days are behind me, because I've got Shout Color Catcher sheets.
Recommend this product?
Should Color Catcher sheets are dye-trapping cloths that you throw in with a load of laundry to absorb and trap the loose dyes that can stain your clothes. The sheets allow you to mix more colors in a single laundry load while helping to whiten your whites and keep other colors vivid.
The sheets themselves measure just over 7 inches by just under 7 inches and are a bit thicker than your average dryer sheet. They have a pleasant scent as well. Out of the box they are white, but after you do a load of laundry they soak up the dye so mine usually end up pink or a dingy blue-gray (depending upon the colors of the clothes I washed).
To use, you throw one sheet (or two if the load is very large) into the washing machine with your laundry. Use your usual detergents and other laundry-products as normal. After the wash is complete you just throw it away (although they do note that it is safe to go in the dryer -- so if you forget about it and throw it in with the rest of your clothes it won't hurt anything).
According to the manufacturer (SC Johnson) it works equally well on all fabrics, at all temperatures, and with all laundry products. They also state that the effectiveness cannot be guaranteed if there are large amounts of dye bleed from non-colorfast garments, and that you should use reasonable care when washing whites with colors and when washing new garments for the first time. It will not repair clothes that have already been stained -- it just keeps new dye-stains from happening (or from being as bad).
The sheets currently come in a box of 24, and mine came with a 75-cents-off coupon for your next purchase. The cost is around $3.00 per box.
I have been pleasantly surprised, because those little sheets really seem to work! I've recently been washing a slew of brand-new summer clothes for my little guy, and a particularly telling test was a batch I did that was mostly-white but with lots of dark blue (as an example, one was a baseball-type shirt that had a dark-blue back and sleeves, but the front of the shirt was white with dark-blue stripes). When I've washed similar shirts in the past I've always been dismayed to find the white parts turning dingy due to the excess blue dye in the wash, even if I wash the item by itself. When using the Shout Color Catcher sheets, however, my son's blue-and-white shirts came out with whites that were crisp and glowing. The color-catcher sheet, on the other hand, came out a dingy blue color -- proving that it had done its job effectively.
I'm still not going to do anything crazy, such as washing a brand-new red shirt with a bunch of whites, however I can attest to the fact that these sheets help keep the loose dyes away from the clothes. I've seen a definite improvement, or should I say a definite lack of whites-gone-dingy.
I can also do fewer loads. I tend to do just 3 for my son -- a red load (that includes yellows, tans, and oranges of all shades), a blue load (that includes grays, greens, and purples), and a whites load (that includes those hard-to-sort shirts that have a mixture of white with other dark colors). I've actually been surprised with how much loose dye the sheets pick up even when I'm washing older, not-so-new clothes!
I've been using the sheets for about a month now, and I really do see a difference. I still use caution and sort the laundry into color-based loads, but I don't fret and stress like I used to, and my son's clothes stay adorable for much, much longer.
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