Washing and care instructions

Washing and taking care of your yarn

Dyeing with natural colors is a slow and time consuming process and it takes time for the color to set on the fiber and yarn. At The Dutch Yarn Barn we set the natural colours for more than 4 hours, mostly overnight to result in the best setting of the dye to the fiber. We take great care in the rinsing cycle which can be up to 10 rounds (!) for some saturated colours, until the water runs clear. We use our wellwater for rinsing and washing.


Waterquality is of high importance. So eventhough the dyer has taken great care in the dyeing and rinsing process, it may be that your local water is of a lower or higher acidity, hard water vs soft water, presence of added chemicals such as fluoride, which are all of chemical influence on the natural dyed yarn. This may result in some color bleeding from the yarn in the first few washes. However, this will not stain other textiles, since there is no mordant present in the washing.


Wool rejects dirt naturally and doesn’t catch odours, so it seldom needs washing. You can clean your woolen textiles by airing them regularly.


The many natural colors of the wool create the base for our color scheme.

Unprocessed wool yarn requires gentle washing to avoid felting. Store the yarn airily, protected from direct sunlight and protect the yarn naturally from moths and other vermin with red cedar oil or pieces or actual red cedar wood.


Before starting a project

Take the safe route when creating something that uses different colourways to test for any ecessive bleeding or croaking. Bleeding is the leaking of small amounts of excess dye molecules into your washing water.

Use only a very little amount eco-woolwash or dishwashing liquid (too much causes leaking), wash your colours separately, soak for no longer than 20-30 minutes and rinse with cold water and then swatch.

Natural dyes are sensitive to changes in pH and strong alkaline detergents may alter the color of the yarn. So naturally we recommend a neutral laundry detergent or a lanolin-reach neutral woolwash. Yarns may run clear.


Vinegar is used to soften down the cuticles on the hair shaft which get opened up during the dye process. Wool is very similar in this regard so a little vinegar will soften the fibre, flatten down the cuticles. It won't set the dye, but may reduce bleeding.


Yarns that contain non-superwash wool and silk are more likely to be bleeders/crockers than chemically treated yarns.


Colours that are likely to bleed more than others: all saturated dark colours and pop-bright colours. Especially saturated ochres (Turmeric yellows), saturated greens (chlorophyl) saturated blues (Indigo).


If the colour is staying the same, you don't need to reset it, it's just excess dye that is coming away.



Crocking is the transfer of colour onto your hands when manipulated, by knitting or crocheting. It's the same thing as buying dark colour jeans and it has a tag that warns about dye transfer (but they use synthetic Indigo-blue). Crocking is caused by mechanical friction of the yarn and the pH-value of your skin pulling out the dye molecules from within and excess dye molecules from the surface. It is common in all yarns dyed with natural Indigo, and sometimes with Logwood (saturated purples) and Chlorophyl (saturated greens). Rinse the project in free flowing water before leaving to soak and swatching. Use of a handcream and metal needles reduce staining.


Resetting the dye

When excessive bleeding occurs you might want to try resetting it yourself. Use a stainless steel pan, one you'll never use again for food, fill with cold tap water, add a decent small cup of vinegar or a tablespoon or two of citric acid and put in your yarn or knitwear. Slowly heat the pan for about 30 minutes and occasionally stir very gently. You want it to simmer, you don't want to boil the water. Take the pan off the heat, put the lid on and leave it, preferably overnight. If you've used different colourways in a project and did not check for bleeding prior to knitting, try using a colour catcher when washing but it is always best to check for bleeding before you commence your project.


Some bleeding isn't a cause of alarm, unless it bleeds excessively and changes colours drastically. Please help us with our quality control and contact us when you experience this.