I don’t know what’s inside Shout Color Catchers, but I used to think those laundry sheets were a genius creation. I still do, but now I’ve learned that it doesn’t really take a genius to make them.
Making your own Shout Color Catchers is actually a very simple DIY project with just one piece of fabric, water and one ingredient!
How to make Shout Color Catching Laundry Sheets:
- 10-12 white washcloths OR 12 squares of white felt OR a yard of white fabric
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of washing soda (see below for resources)
- If you’re using washcloths or felt squares cut each in half so they’re roughly 6″ by 12″
- Heat the water in a big bowl (a big Pyrex glass measuring cup worked great for this!) for about a minute in the microwave. Stir in the washing soda until it’s fully dissolved.
- Toss the fabric in and stir it up with a wooden spoon until all the pieces are soaked. They should all be just a bit moist, not dripping wet. If you need to, add a few more pieces of fabric to soak up the rest of the water.
- Hang the pieces to dry. Stack and store the dry fabric pieces near your washing machine.
How to use your homemade Shout color catchers sheets:
Add one of your homemade color catcher sheets to any mixed laundry load. Be sure to use your regular detergent and any other additives like Oxiclean or fabric softener.
If any dye from the clothes your washing bleeds into the water, your homemade color catcher will “trap” the dye molecules and keep them from bleeding on to the lighter fabrics!
How do homemade color catcher sheets work?
I don’t know what Shout’s Color Catchers are made of, but I do know that washing soda (also known as soda ash) is used in the tie-dying process to keep the various dyes from bleeding onto one another. It’s well-known among professional textile artists that washing soda and absorbant fabric captures stray dye particles.
Where can I find washing soda or soda ash?
Washing soda and soda ash are the same thing: pure sodium carbonate. You can find Arm & Hammer washing soda at most grocery stores–that’s usually the most inexpensive place to buy it. You can also find sodium carbonate at pool supply stores.
Amazon is also an excellent source for washing soda. Here are options with prices:
- Jacquard Soda Ash Dye Fixer :: 1 pound :: $5.32
- Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda :: 55 ounces (3.4 pounds) :: $9.04
- Jacquard Soda Ash Dye Fixer :: 5 pounds :: $14.95
All these items currently ship free with Amazon Prime or with a total purchase of $25 or more.
At those prices you can spend just a few dollars and end up with color catching sheets for a long, long time!
After your clothes are done in the washing machine, get the softest line-dried clothes! Then be sure to see how I’ve had my kids helping with laundry since they were toddlers!
Are you going to make your own color catching sheets? If you do, please tell me if you like them!
Like this tutorial? Learn how you can make your own homemade Hershey’s syrup with just 5 ingredients! It’s simple, cheap, delicious AND it’s not made with any of those crazy chemicals and preservatives.
Sarah @ Minnesota Mama's Must Haves says
Awesome idea Marybeth! I’m going to do this because I spend a small fortune on Shout! Can you reuse these again? Do you just have to do the same process of boiling and mixing the washing soda again? Awesome idea! Pinning and stumbling for you!
Thank you!!! I’ve been wanting to make a homemade version for the color catchers for a long time, but the only recipes I’ve seen are basically just dried salt on a towel & I didn’t think that would work very well. Do you know if these will work for multiple washes like the Shout ones do? Even if not, I’ll still be happy to have something that’s not disposable finally!
Meghan @JaMonkey says
These are great! Thank you pinned!
Lisa @ljenator says
This is awesome. Thank you for sharing!!!
Great info. Just like the other ladies asked, can you use them more than once, or once and done?
Marybeth Hamilton says
Great question! You can use them once, then the fabric will need to be soaked in the washing soda/water solution and dried again. SO, the fabric can be used over and over, but they need to be treated after each use.
I made these today. I made two types, one with washing soda and boiling water with coffee filters and the other with kosher salt and boiling water with coffee filters.
I washed a load of mixed color towels in hot water. The Shout Color Catcher caught the loose colors. The homemade ones with washing soda and the homemade ones with salt came out perfectly white.
Marybeth Hamilton says
Thanks for your reply, Juju!
I’m curious–why did you use salt? I’ve never heard of that before.
Also I have no idea what’s in Shout Color Catchers but it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s some sort of weird chemical that makes it more powerful than the washing soda method I wrote about.
Why not try a mixed load with just your homemade color catchers and see how they perform?
Lisa in Penna says
Hi Marybeth – I do a lot of dyeing and teach beginners on occasion. And I am not a chemist – I’ve just picked up a few things on the journey. Two things: washing soda and soda ash ARE both sodium carbonate, but they are different chemically. Washing soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate (I think I spelled that right) and soda ash is the pure form. As you might guess from the name, washing soda by weight contains a lot more water molecules than pure soda ash. None of that is terribly important – what is more significant is that sodium carbonate in one form or the other is the main ingredient in powder laundry soap. So all you’re really doing is adding a little more soap to the washload. Just my .02. – Lisa
Love this! I don’t use the color catchers too often but it will be nice to have one less thing to buy!
So JuJu you soak Coffee Filters rather than the washcloths?? They hold up in the wash?
Hi my dear
soda ash is one of most ingradients in laundry detergent
it,s solubelity is good in water
when it act as color catcher it solve in water like detergent
how it can act catcher?
Perhaps Juju was using the salt as a control. ??
Coffee filters are convenient and do hold up to washing but don’t have a large surface area and will not hold enough of the solution to be effective imo.
You can make soda ash from sodium carbonate by heating it (hence ‘dehydrate’ (dried)).
Thanks admin for sharing this information, it is worth to read.
I am a person who uses soda ash in the dying process. Arm and Hammer washing soda is not pure soda ash. You can purchase pure soda ash at a pool supply store inexpensively or buy it from a dye supplier. Washing soda is not as strong and I would not recommend it to make your dye catchers.
Can these color catchers be used with homemade detergent which is probably a powder? I over use color catchers 2-3 per load one time and throw them away. Possibly if I would use your color catchers I could still use my current detergent which is liquid.