Okay, before you roll your eyes and think I’m completely insane, just let me say that it took me almost two years to actually take the time to make these Homemade Color Catchers since I bought the supplies. I kept thinking, “Really? Do I really want to invest the time to make these when I can buy them?” Alas, one rainy Saturday, I just decided to take the plunge. Mostly because I was tired of seeing the unopened washing soda box in the laundry cabinet, and a little bit because I really didn’t want to go to Target to buy a box of the real thing.
I think store-bought Color Catchers are a tad pricey…we pay about 20 cents each for them here in Washington, which isn’t outrageous, but a lot more than making them myself. I tend to just use them with the kids’ clothes, because most of our clothes have been washed so often that they don’t bleed much anymore. But when the hubs does the laundry, he uses a color catcher in every load. So I’m always out when I need them, it seems.
Anyway, here’s the super simple method I used:
- Washing soda
- White flannel (or other 100% cotton fabric)
That’s it, really.
Cut your flannel into rectangles roughly 6” x 8”. I used pinking shears to reduce raveling and lint. I made 35 from 1 yard of fabric. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of washing soda in 2 cups hot water. Soak the cloths you cut, then wring them out and hang them up to dry.
To use your dried color catchers, just toss one into the load of wash. They can go through the dryer with the load of clothes. You can continue reusing them, but you’ll need to soak them in washing soda and hot water each time and let them dry. Once they’re absorbed a lot of color, throw them out and start with fresh white flannel. I wash about 5 loads of clothes a week, so this set of color catchers should last a couple of months, since I don’t use them for every load. I think that’s totally worth the 15 minutes I spent making them.
I’ve read lots of suggestions online to use old towels or washcloths instead of buying new flannel, but I think those would put a lot of lint on your clothes, which would be especially noticeable on the dark loads you’re using color catchers on.
These seem to work as well as store-bought ones, but, to be honest, I still semi-sort our clothes into lights and darks. I don’t separate out whites, though, and our whites seem to stay white when I use these.
So, bottom line, if you’re feeling crunchy and want to save a little money as well, give these a try. I’m really glad I finally got around to it!