What is Color Fastness, Types and Its Importance of Color Fastness


What is Color Fastness?

Color fastness is one of the important indicators to measure product quality. During production and usage, textiles can be subjected to considerable stresses, resulting in color changes. Both color intake (bleeding into) and color loss (bleeding) are common. These effects are normally unwanted; hence it is of crucial importance to determine the colorfastness of textiles at an early stage.

Color fastness can be defined as the ability of the original color of the finished textile to resist any challenges that it may normally encounter during its working lifetime. High colorfastness is an essential property of all textile materials to render them fit for purpose. For apparel, the most common “challenges” are exposure to light, loss of dye during laundering, rub fastness, which measures whether color is lost from the fabric surface after mechanical rubbing, perspiration fastness, and thermal stability, at temperatures that may be experienced during ironing, for example.

We can also define color fastness as, having color that will not run or fade with washing or wear. That means characterizes a material’s color’s resistance to fading or running. Clothing is colorfast if its colors and dyes do not bleed or run from the clothing. Clothing should be tested for colorfastness before using any type of bleach or bleaching solution, or strong cleaning product. Colorfastness is very important factor for buyer. Colorfastness properties of textiles are an important measure of quality of a product.

Different Types of Color fastness:

There are various types of color fastness test for fabric. Important color fastness tests are given below:

  1. Color fastness to washing
  2. Color fastness to light
  3. Color fastness to water
  4. Color fastness to rubbing
  5. Color fastness to sea water
  6. Color fastness to hot pressing
  7. Color fastness to laundering
  8. Color fastness to chlorinated water

This is the Different Types of Color Fastness Test.

Important Terms and Definitions on Color Fastness:

Colorfastness: The resistance of color against outer influences is called colorfastness. It is distinguished between production colorfastness and usage colorfastness.

Change of color: During colorfastness tests, the change of the color within the visible spectrum between treated and untreated sample is measured. The color change can be caused by changes in color shade as well as color purity.

Bleeding: This term is used to describe the visible color difference between an undyed and untreated control fabric and a similar but treated fabric specimen. The difference is caused by dyestuff migrating from the treated fabric into the control fabric. Here, it is not important whether the dyestuff was exchanged via the aqueous solution or through direct contact between the fabrics.

How to Improve Color Fastness:

Under the term color fastness, a complex pattern of properties is summarized, including fastness to water, sweat, washing, crocking and rubbing, light, peroxide, chlorine and combinations, for example, weather fastness. In fact, many fastness properties are defined by the chemical principle of the dyestuff system used and by the molecular structure and stability of the respective dye.

Thus, the improvement of color fastness often concentrates on aspects where the chemical principle of the dyeing allows the dye to achieve mobility and re-equilibration. Establishment of a new exhaust equilibration leads to desorption of dyestuff molecules during conditions of use and care.

Polycationic compounds: Water fastness of direct dyeing and reactive dyeing can be improved by deposition of polycationic compounds. Polydadmac polydiallyl-dimethylammonium chloride  is a representative compound. The polycation forms insoluble ionic compounds with the anionic dyes and thus contributes to improved dyestuff fixation.

Direct dyes adhere to the fiber only through Van der Waals forces and hydrogen bonds; thus, establishing a new dissolution equilibrium under wet conditions is prevented.

The presence of such chemicals also influences other properties of the dyed product and can lead to the reduction of light fastness, color change, greying, increased soil uptake and reduced uptake of softeners.

Importance of Color Fastness:

Textile fabric has many properties. Color fastness property is one of the most important properties of them. The ability of the fabric to maintain primary color is one of the most important properties of textiles. It is a property of a colorant which allows it to retain its different characteristics despite degradation conditions such as exposure to light and dry cleaning. Product performance and evaluation to determine if the fabric is suitable for the intended end use. It is a identity for fabric. If colorfastness is good then fabric quality high and if poor fastness property then fabric quality is bad. So, colorfastness is the important factor for the buyer to justify which fabric is bad and which is better.

Color Fastness is Important for Several Reasons:

Aesthetics: Color is an important factor in the appearance of clothing and textiles. Consumers expect the colors of their clothing to remain consistent and vibrant over time, and poor color fastness can cause clothing to fade, bleed, or discolor.

Durability: Garments that lose color quickly are more likely to wear out quickly than fabrics with good color fastness. Therefore, fabrics with good color fastness have a longer life.

Quality: Color fastness is an indicator of quality. Fabrics and textiles that retain their color despite exposure to various environmental factors are considered to be of high quality.

Safety: Some dyes and pigments used in textiles can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. Poor color fastness can result in the release of these dyes and pigments, making them potentially harmful to the wearer.


Ultimately, ensuring excellent colorfastness in textile production not only enhances consumer satisfaction but also promotes sustainable practices by reducing the need for frequent replacement due to fading or discoloration issues. By employing advanced manufacturing techniques, utilizing high-quality dyes and finishes, adhering to appropriate after-care recommendations, and conducting rigorous testing protocols, manufacturers can produce fabrics that maintain their vibrant colors over extended periods while meeting consumers' expectations for long-lasting durability.

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