What Causes Rug Dyes to Bleed?

Causes of Rug Dye Bleed and What To Do About It (Updated 2018)

Rug mould removal, Cardiff, Wales

NOTE: This blog was optimized for an international audience using North American English. Written: 10/17/2018 | Last Updated 2018

What This Article Covers

This article discusses how to identify dye bleed (fugitive dyes, running dyes, dye stains, etc.), what causes it, and what you should do should you find that your rugs dyes have bled. To see the information that you need more quickly, follow the current links: 1. How to Identify Rug Dye Bleed 2. What Causes Rug Dye Bleed, and 3. What to Do About Rug Dye Bleed

Exactly What is Rug Dye Bleed?

Rug dye bleed occurs when the colors in the fibers become unsettled and run into the lighter areas of the textile. If this happens, the textile can become permanently stained, and it can destroy the appearance of your priceless treasure. The picture shows a picture of blue dyes that have run into the fringe of the textile.

Running dyes in traditional textiles is a common problem, especially in Persian/Turkish rugs. Traditional artisans color their textiles with vegetable dyes which can quickly become destabilized. The red dyes used in traditional Bokhara textiles are especially susceptible to this form of damage.

Do You Need to Fix Dye Bleed?

Rug dye bleed can reduce the value of your textile and undermine its aesthetic. These reasons alone are reason enough for most people to take in their textile immediately to a specialist.

Nevertheless, most people would rather spend their money on other things, especially if money is tight. If you are strapped for funds, and you notice the dyes in your rug bleeding than you might be asking “Do I need to fix bleeding dyes in my rugs immediately?” The answer to this question is yes.

Fugitive dyes do not just bleed into your textiles – they can also flow into your carpet, clothes, or other stainable fabrics and areas in your home.

What Causes Rug Dye Bleed

Multiple factors may contribute to rug dye bleed. We will look at the most common reasons and what you can do to prevent it, and fix it.

Pet Urine Destabilizes Dyes in Rugs

If you have pets and textiles, chances are you may have experienced your pets peeing on the rug. It may seem like a small problem, but it can cause serious troubles for the textiles.

Pet urine enters the fibers hot which can cause immediate staining. It also allows the urine to penetrate deep into the wool, silk, etc. fibers. This can cause the dyes to become destabilized, and the liquid helps push the loosened dyes through the textile. The picture below showcases dye bleed that was created by pet urine.

Dyes that have run after water damage getting repaired in Cardiff, Wales

What Should You Do If Your Pets Urine Causes Dyes To Bleed?

If your pet urinates on your rug, it causes dyes to bleed than you should immediately take the textile in for immersive cleaning. The water will remove both the salts and the urine. The specialists also will be able to treat the rug to prevent further bleeding. If you catch the rug early enough, then this may be the only process that is necessary to fix the look and appearance of the rug.

From there the experts will strip excess dyes with specialty chemicals.

Dye Bleed from Flood Damage

As addressed before, moisture is the leading cause of rug dyes bleeding into the lighter areas of the textile. Flood water is no exception. Prolong water exposure can destabilize the vegetable dyes causing the dyes to bleed. Unlike the pet damage we discussed above, a rug submerged in water can pass bled dyes throughout the entire submerged area. That’s why the rug below has bleeding dyes along the entire fringe.

Water damage caused rug dye bleed can be a severe problem. The picture above shows a specialist using heated chemicals to strip the fugitive dyes from the fringe with a syringe. As you can imagine, this can be a pervasive problem, especially if there is a lot of white on a large textile. The process often takes quite a few dedicated hours and can be very expensive as a result.

How To Prevent Rug Dyes From Bleeding After Flooding

The longer water penetrates the fibers, the higher risk you are of permanently destabilizing the dyes in the fibers. Therefore, if you find that your rug is in water for any amount of time you should immediately do your best to dry the textile and send it in for an immersive clean.

In the meantime, you should take the textile out of the water as flat as possible, wrap it in plastic, and bring it into a well-ventilated room or an outdoor patio. Make sure to avoid direct sunlight, otherwise, your rug may lose more color due to sun fading. NOTE: It is important that you wrap the rug up! If you drag the rug across wall-to-wall carpeting or other fibers you may find yourself with dye stains all over your house. Proceed with extreme caution.

Once in a well-ventilated area, use fans to push air under and around the rug. If you do not have fans, try to make sure that the textile is lifted and has proper ventilation. Try your best not have the rug in a weird shape – textiles are often made with multiple types of fibers. If the outer fibers dry and the inner ones do not, or vice-versa, your textile might shrink or become malformed causing significant issues later on.

Fixing Established Dye Bleed on Rugs

The next step is to have the rug immersively cleaned. By this, we mean that the rug should be submerged into the water with cleaning solutions so that the dyes do not cause damage to the rug.

After the textile has been cleaned, the expert then starts to strip the dyes from the rug. This process is often done with heated solutions that eliminate dyes from the surface. This process is very meticulous and it is best if only a section of the rug has been dye stained.