Save the Fashion Industry  |  Fashion
Colorfastness, Crocking, and Bleeding: Fabric Terms

The apparel that we wear is more than simply about style, color, and fit.  The clothing that we wear must be trendy & comfortable, but it also must be made of proper quality.  Nothing is worse than purchasing clothing in the perfect color, only to find that after you washed it the color changes.  Do you know why the fabric color changed?  Do you know why it is best to wash your whites and darks separately?  Dye from one garment on occasion will transfer from one cloth to another.   The information below is intended to help explain what is happening.

  • Crocking

  • Bleeding

  • Colorfastness

What is the difference between crocking and bleeding?

Crocking occurs when excess dye rubs off of one dry fabric onto another dry fabric.  Crocking is usually more of a problem with dark and vivid colors.  Note: during testing, colorfastness can be tested on wet and dry fabric.

Bleeding is a similar problem to crocking, but occurs when dyes transfer from one fabric to another when fabrics are wet.

Crocking occurs when the dye is physically rubbed off.   Bleeding is when dye comes of the fabric when dye comes into contact with liquid.

Examples:

If you put a red t-shirt in the laundry with white underwear and the white underwear turns pink.  You have experienced the fabric bleeding (dye came in contact with water, loosened off the shirt and moved onto the underwear from the red dye being in the water).

If you are wearing a long red t-shirt and white pants.  You that remove your shirt and notice red stains on your pants what they came in contact with your shirt, you have experienced fabric crocking (two fabric rubbed together causing problem).

Wet Crocking or Dry Crocking

Transfer of dye from the surface of a dyed or printed fabric onto another surface by rubbing.  The more color is transferred, the more the fabric "crocks". Crocking determines the amount of color transferred from the surface of colored textile material to other surfaces by rubbing.

Dye crocking is the result of color loss by mechanical actions such as friction and abrasion.  Crocking can be the result of lack of penetration of the dyeing agent, the use of incorrect dyes or dyeing procedures, or the lack of proper washing procedures and finishing treatments after the dyeing process.  If the textile dying or printing process is not done properly, the rubbing-off of dye from a fabric may occur.

Crocking often occurs in heavily dyed fabric, such as raw denim.  

Crocking is one of the processes that helps give raw denim its personality and is the cause for fades and atari on creases, seams, and any other worn areas.

Technically, crocking can occur under dry or wet conditions.

Colorfastness

Clothing is colorfast if its colors and dyes do not bleed or run from the clothing.  Colorfastness is often tested by clothing manufacturers.

Color fastness is a term used in the dyeing of textile materials, meaning resistance of the material's color to fading or running. The term is usually used in the context of clothes. The first known use of the word colorfast was in 1916.

Bleeding

The running of color form wet dyed material onto a material next to it or the running of colors together.

Fabric bleeding occurs when damp fabrics lose their dyes; you'll likely notice that bleeding colors have stained the wash water.  Although bleeding is most commonly seen when washing vividly colored fabrics, particularly reds and purples, it can occur with other colors of fabrics as well.

The undesirable loss of dye when the textile is immersed in water or across into an adjacent area or when in contact with another substrate.

Testing

There are many different colorfast tests. 

Colorfastness is a fabric's ability to retain color in various conditions. Tests are performed that involve wet and dry crocking. Crocking refers to the rubbing off of color from a fabric when subjected to abrasion.

One test is the AATCC 8-2001. This "is a test method of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC). This method uses a standard white cotton fabric that is rubbed against the surface of the test fabric. To test for wet crocking the standard fabric is wet before rubbing against the test fabric. After rubbing under controlled pressure for a specific number of times the amount of color transferred to the white test squares is compared to an AATCC color chart and a rating is established."

Grade 5 = no color transfer Grade 1 = high degree of color transfer

Another test is the AATCC 116-2001. This "is a test method of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC). This test is specifically used for printed fabrics that do not lend themselves to the AATCC 8-2001 method. The test fabric is held at the base of a Rotary Vertical Crockmeter and rubbed with a standard cotton white fabric either dry or wet. After rubbing under controlled pressure for a specific number of times the amount of color transferred to the white test squares is compared to an AATCC color chart and a rating is established."

Grade 5 = no color transfer
Grade 1 = high degree of color transfer

Here is an example of what sort of test you can find at the AATCC website:

One example, AATCC Test Method 8-2013 Test Colorfastness to Crocking: AATCC Crockmeter Method

https://www.aatcc.org/Technical/Test_Methods/scopes/tm8.cfm

You can find many more options at the following page:

https://www.aatcc.org/testing/methods/topical.htm

Above we have listed testing examples.  The official tests may have changed since the time we have posted this information.  We strongly recommend that you consult directly with a certified testing lab to obtain the most current requirements and fabric testing methods.

Learn more about fabric testing methods here on Apparel Search.



privacy policy