When you wash dark clothes, they can lose some of their dye and therefore some of its color. The more they’re washed, the more they fade. Therefore, to keep your darks looking as good as the day you bought them, take special precautions during laundry day to protect them.
Before you throw your washing into the machine, read the labels to make sure that you’re using the correct washing procedures for each type of garment. Sort all dark clothing into separate laundry piles, making sure to separate delicate items from more sturdy ones such as denim jeans.
This ensures that your clothes don’t get misshapen in the washer. Furthermore, you’ll want to use the gentle cycle for delicates and heavier cycles for sturdier items.
While it’s possible to wash dark clothing in the washing machine with other colors, it’s best to give them a cycle on their own. Separating clothing keeps the load in the washing machine manageable and reduces the amount that your clothing will rub against each other.
Turn all dark items inside out, which will help to keep the outside of your clothing looking nice, and exposes the visible side to less water, detergent, and agitation.
How to Wash Dark Clothes
Washing your clothes in cold water (80F) is the best thing you can do as hot water tends to cause dark fabrics to run. Furthermore, the wrong temperature can result in fabric shrinking. Cold water not only helps dark clothes keep their pigments, but it’s also the most ecologically friendly.
Make sure that the detergent you choose does not contain bleach (even if it’s labeled as color safe). A mild detergent without anything added is the best for dark clothing. Measure the detergent out carefully and be sure not to use too much, as it may not wash out completely. You actually need a lot less than you think, especially if it’s high-efficiency detergent.
Special liquid detergent works better for dark clothing than powdered. If you use powdered, put it in the water before adding your clothes, so it has time to dissolve, as powdered laundry detergent doesn’t dissolve well in cold water. You can also add some vinegar to your wash to preserve dark coloring.
Don’t wash dark clothing more often than necessary. Even oil stains can usually be removed without putting your item of clothing in the washing machine. Use oxygen bleach or non-chlorine bleach, if you decide you have to use bleach.
You should also make sure that your water is not too hard for your laundry as well. Hard water can damage clothes and decrease the power of your detergent. If you have hard water, you can buy special detergents or use a water softener.
Drying Dark Clothing
If, despite your very best efforts, your dark garments bleed onto other clothing, don’t put them in the dryer, as this will set the dye and cause stains. You should rewash them before drying.
In fact, it’s a good idea to hang dry (not in direct sunlight though) most dark pieces of clothing instead of running them through a hot drying cycle. If you must use a dryer, set it to the lowest heat possible to avoid fading, below 130F.
How to Keep Black Clothes from Fading
On top of all of the above, if you want to prevent your dark clothes from fading, only wash them when necessary.
When you’re getting ready to do some laundry, take a look at your dark clothes and decide whether they need washing or not. If you can go another week without washing them, do it – the fewer times they’re washed, the better, as they lose dye with every trip to the laundry machine.