Washing Yarn to Remove Excess Dye!

I keep accumulating yarn in my stash and occasionally note the vendor’s advice that colours might not be fast, at least initially, especially with the hand-dyed and strong colours.
I am trying to combine contrasting colours in my projects but am a bit concerned about colour runs. Blogs often talk about rinsing the yarn before knitting and I was wondering how to do this? Could I leave the skein intact, and just soak and dry it out as is, or would the centre of the skein never dry? If it is already in a ball, could I do the same thing? I’m a bit worried that if I open out the skein, I’ll get it all in a tangle which will get worse when wet!! thanks!

This is a valid concern, and it really is best to know how your yarn will behave while wet before it’s knit up!
I only wet or wash yarn while it’s in an untwisted skein. If it’s in a cake or ball wind it around a swift or something similar (I have used my hand to elbow in a pinch but there’s no stopping once you start!)
You may wish to add a few more ties around the skein to avoid the tangles and of course never swirl or agitate the yarn when you hand wash it. Squeeze and press the water out without wringing and hang. I drape mine over a rack in the tub or on the porch if the weather is fair.


While I have never washed new yarn to remove excess dye, I have washed skeins on reclaimed yarn or newly spun yarn frequently. If the skein is tied in a couple of places, it will not tangle in a hand wash, and it will dry completely when hung, although depending on the size of the skein and the humidity, it can take a while. I do often spin excess water off in a salad spinner or by wringing it, or by wacking the slein on the banister. This has never affected yarn in any way, so I don’t feel the need to handle yarn gingerly.

Thank you both! I’m more confident about having a go now! I have a signal-blue/purple that I’d like to combine with a neon yellow/green!

I’m a dyer and my trick for non-tangled skeins in washing (and soaking, and dyeing, actually) is to put the hank on a cheapy plastic shower curtain ring. Your yarn should already be tied in several places, and the ring keeps everything from getting tangled. You could also use a tie wrap. (This method doesn’t work if you have caked up yarn, but you can wrap caked yarn around a swift, tie it an a few places, and reverse engineer the whole thing).

Also, as a dyer, I’m SO GRATEFUL you are thinking about this. I do my best to wash the dye out of my yarn, but some colors (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, PURPLE) seem to be bleeders, and although the dye is colorfast, it’s just the nature of things. I’m always afraid of someone not understanding the nature of hand-dyed yarn and ending up with a project they don’t love.

(I even put a disclaimer on my label that says “Some bleeding may occur during the first few washes. Dyes are colorfast. Don’t panic.”)


Thanks! I have a few plastic rings so I’ll give it a go!:grinning:

you can always try Synthrapol as part of your rinsing. I’m not an expert, but I have a bottle in my laundry room for first sweater soaks. Do a little google on it and see if it sounds like it would be helpful for what you are hoping for.

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Thank you - I’ll look that up!