Q. What is Colorant-Washing?

Color-Enhanced mulch is commonly manufactured by adding water-based dye to mulch.  Rain and sprinklers can wash away colorant if mulch does not have proper drying time. Mulch is typically stored in bags or piles so it is normally not exposed to air and does not have a chance to dry until it has been installed. Factors such as intensity and amount of rain can affect the degree of colorant washing.  Manufacturers typically recommend 24-48 hours of “dry time” for colorant to set (depending on temperature and amount of sunshine).  

Q. What should I do if colorant washing happens after installation?

Typically the outside layer is the only part that will lose color, but it can depend on the amount of time material had to dry and amount / intensity of rain. Raking up the top layer to expose mulch underneath usually brings back color. Adding a thin, fresh layer is an option, but not typically needed.

Q. Will I receive a refund if colorant washing happens to my mulch?

No. We’re not able to compensate if colorant washing occurs.  Colorant washing is something that occurs from factors outside of our control. 

Q. Can colorant washing happen while mulch is in a pile (before it’s applied)?

Yes, it can.  But similar to if it happens after installation, only the outside layer is typically affected (so a small percentage of total material).  During installation, material is typically mixed with unaffected material; normally resulting in colorant-washing not being noticeable. 

Q. Can mulch colorant stain my driveway?

Yes, it can. Unloading on a tarp can help protect your driveway against staining.  Washing your driveway with warm soapy water (dish detergent or other cleaners) and using a brush (or push-broom as a brush) will help reduce staining.  Removing stains before they have time to set will give better results.  Stains or marks left from product that is not color-enhanced is usually the result of fine material such as dirt or dust and can normally be cleaned simply using a garden hose or pressure washer.  A brush and soap might be needed in some situations.  

Q. Is mulch colorant that washes off safe to surrounding plants and areas?

In a nutshell: Yes. This is why it’s important to work with a reputable company.  There are lots of manufacturers.  We’re not familiar with all of them, so we don’t know what methods are being used or what ingredients are being used.  We’ve carried only Majestic Mulch (bags and bulk) since 2009.  Majestic Mulch has been manufactured since 1996 and is produced locally in the Holland / Zeeland (Michigan) area.  Majestic Mulch has proven itself to be an industry leader in terms of quality. 

Click here to learn more about Color Enhanced Mulch from an article posted by University of Massachusetts Amherst: 

If you feel more comfortable using mulch that has not been color-enhanced, check out our selection of un-dyed products! 


Q. How long should color enhanced mulch last?

Not all mulch types are equal.  Manufacturing processes affect longevity.  Majestic Mulch typically holds its color for a full season when installed correctly.  Approximately 50% of the color may fade over winter. Raking the outer layer can often expose new color or add a fresh layer to freshen color.