Our Definitive Guide to Color Fastness

Our Definitive Guide to Color Fastness

Providing the best quality fabric at the best prices is our mission.  To accomplish this, we strive to achieve the following goals:

  1. Build our store selection to offer a wide range of fabric to truly become your “One Stop Fabric Shop”
  2. Provide one-on-one customer support, care, and processes. We try to accommodate the unique needs and hurdles of each customers’ needs.
  3. Keep our eyes and ears open to customer feedback, be proactive and responsive in addressing concerns, and integrating feedback into our product.

Our mission to providing the best color fastness in the industry

Color fastness is a catch all phrase to account for the following fabric performance traits.

  1. Change in shade: After washing over time, how well does the original color maintain in the fabric?
  2. Staining on other fabrics: During washing how well does the fabric perform at preventing staining of other fabrics? We include the following in our tests
    1. Acetate
    2. Cotton
    3. Nylon
    4. Polyester
    5. Acrylic
    6. Wool

This is graded on a scale of 1-5 in half point increments in our laboratory tests.


Why color fastness is important

All fabric bleeds color during washing.  Over time, manufacturing processes have gotten better at preventing damage and color transfer and have been incorporated into the manufacturing process of fabric, textiles, and final/produced products.  Manufacturers, distributors, vendors, and retailers all need to make decisions about color fastness in their businesses to meet business goals of price and performance (or the nexus between those two things).

Despite major advances in processes that increase the color fastness there is still no perfectly non-bleed fabric.  However, the level that can be obtained is often times so good it’s not noticeable. The end goal is, of course, maintaining the color/shade you originally bought while allowing for reasonable cleaning and washing of the fabric.


Spandex in a fabric mix makes color fastness more difficult

This article is most appropriate when we discuss any fabric that contains spandex.  Because of the traits of spandex, any fabric that contains high spandex stretch action is more prone to bleed during washing. 

This is most prevalent in our Techno Athletic Neoprene and Stretch Mochi Plush Minky fabrics. Both these contain 6% spandex and 94% polyester.


Original vs ColorLast


Original Score

ColorLast Score

Change in shade



Staining of






















Our ColorLast versions of our fabric score higher in every category.  We cannot get a perfect change in shade score, of course, but we are certainly higher in real life in that area as well.

Note: Many customers use our Mochi Minky and Techno Neoprene as part of their Faux Fur based creations.  The vast majority of our faux furs are acrylic based and have always been a focus of our manufacturing processes but we’ve done everything we can to increase that score as well. Here we can claim we have the highest quality faux fur along with the best in class complimentary fabrics for real world, common, applications.


Our Stretch Mochi Minky vs Competition

Some customers have recommended competitors found on AliExpress to avoid bleeding.  We took those comments seriously and decided to put them to the test.  As expected, due to the reasons discussed above, any hope that a non-bleed stretch spandex based fabric exists is dashed.  In fact, in our testing, we found the competition to bleed "worse" than ours.  By worse we mean that it will stain complimentary fabrics worse, like our popular acrylic based faux furs.  Many customers use stretch minky along with their faux furs so it's important to test the color transfer and staining in this scenario.  As discussed above we have tested and worked hard to reduce the color transfer to our acrylic fabric with a score of 4.5/5 in our ColorLast versions.  

Results: The AliExpress competitor minky fabric resulted in a more permanent "redish" stain throughout the white faux fur backing.  Big Z Fabric's Mochi Minky rinsed to an almost imperceptible slightly gray hue when rinsed.  

Process:  We filled two tubs with equal amounts of room temperature clear water.  We then added a piece of each fabric into their respectively labeled bins.  We let the fabric sit in the water for a few minutes then we manually agitated the fabric in the clear water and let sit for a few more minutes.  Then, we added ~1/2 cup Tide detergent to both and used our fingers to mix the detergent and agitate the fabric into the detergent.  We then let this sit for a few minutes.  After a few minutes we then places a piece of white faux fur into each bin with a portion submersed into the water and a portion outside of the water to show contrast.  We let these sit for awhile and took that time to also manually rub the pieces of black fabric onto the white fabric to represent a machine wash experience.  We then allowed the black fabric to rest on the white fabric for ~10 minutes to represent a finished load waiting for transfer.  We then took the white fabric out and squeezed out excess water and let it sit for a few more minutes.  Finally we took both pieces of white fabric outside and rinsed with cool hose water.  We then let the white faux fur sit and dry for final comparison.

Results: Both fabrics bleed much less, and the bleeding that did occur had almost no transfer to the white faux fur fabric.  Using a cleaner like this is highly recommended over a detergent cleaner. Any meaningful comparison of bleed or staining is imperceptible from our eyes and we would call them a draw.

Process: Same as detergent except we did not need to rinse and try to remove staining with a hose.  


Washing Recommendations
Even with the work, technology, and investments made in increasing color fastness we always recommend the following if achievable:
  1. Prewash if possible
  2. Do not use surfactant based detergents
  3. Rinse with clear water after washing
  4. If possible, wash with like colors: this is a classic recommendation that will always account for the inevitable slight bleeding even amongst the most color fastness fabric available
  5. Do not use alcohol based cleaners: Alcohol damages fibers of fabric and is abrasive.  This will cause fibers to lose their color fastness performance over time.  If you must use alcohol based cleaners you should do so sparingly and only if necessary.

A note from us about Color Fastness and our commitment to quality

We pride ourselves on working quickly and proactively to improve issues identified in our fabric.  When we see common requests arise and can do something about it we try to act quickly and decisively.  This is why so much of our original versions of our fabrics have been improved to our ColorLast versions.

We also believe we are one of the most approachable, transparent, personable, and caring fabric companies out there.  This article is our effort to be transparent, lay our actual specifications and standards out there for all to see, and invite the opportunity to learn of competitors that meet or exceed these standards (especially at our price and overall quality).  We stand by our quality, our customer service, and value.

We are excited to bring more fabric lines, colors, patterns, textures, and solutions to our customers in the future.  And we welcome the opportunities that arise and help us do better.