The Best Way To Wash Dark Colors To Keep Them From Fading

It's not uncommon for dark-colored clothing, like black pants or a darkish shirt, to fade, but when it does happen, it's an instant problem, especially when you want to look your best. Sometimes even those bright reds and deep greens can wither, making them less vibrant and taking away from your look. But why do dark colors fade like this, especially in the wash?

According to Embassy Cleaners, it happens when the pigment, or coloring, within the clothing no longer maintains its molecular attraction to the fabric. During the pigmenting process, the manufacturer applies color to the strands of the fabric in layers. This is the most common method of coloring clothing. However, some manufacturers use dyes instead. The dyes are made up of chemical ingredients so that when applied to the garment, they become a component of that fabric. In both cases, fading is possible, but there are ways to stop that from occurring when washing clothes.

Start with getting to know your clothes

Always read the label on your clothing to learn what type of washing is best for that particular material as a first step. Some manufacturers state you should only wash in cold water, for example. That's because cold water washing could help reduce pigment separation from the fabric. Also, be sure the manufacturer recommends using a washing machine.

Some types of fabrics perform best when hand washed because the method is far less aggressive and less likely to damage the bond between the coloring and the clothing. Not only does reading the tag help with fading, but it also minimizes deterioration of the material over time, according to Whirlpool.

In some other situations, you may also want to turn the black clothes inside out. Doing this helps protect the coloring from separating from the fabric. It is particularly important to prevent fading of blacks and other very dark colors, so apply this method to your most dark-colored jeans as well.

Other tips to limit fade

The more careful you are with how you wash your clothing, the less likely they are to suffer color fade. For example, Perfectly Basics states you should always wash all blacks together and keep other colors out of the mix. At the same time, sort them not just by color but also by weight. That way, a heavy pair of jeans isn't going to damage a delicate black blouse because there's less friction involved, which helps protect both the colors and the materials.

They also recommend using only a liquid detergent for these types of clothes and skipping powdered products. Liquid soap is best because, unlike powders, it dissolves in the water easily (including in cold water). There are also specific laundry detergents on the market designed for dark colors worth buying if you have materials that typically fade. Finally, for a quick trick to protect your clothing even more, Perfectly Basics says to consider adding a dash of white vinegar into the washing machine to help keep the color in.