Washing black clothes without fading them: Top tips and tricks

Read on for our guide to refreshing your black clothes from tips for washing black clothes, what temperature to use, and finding out the answers to questions such as “can you wash black with colours”?

Updated 2 October 2023


AuthorBy Cleanipedia Team

Reading Time5 minutes

Cleanipedia UK logo Want to save this article? Create a Cleanipedia account and you'll be able to bookmark and revisit articles. It's free!
Already have an Account? Log in
A pile of folded dark laundry in front of a washing machine

Sign up here for new product info and offers!

CleaningSign upCleaning

Black and other dark pieces of clothing are wardrobe staples. But, as with all good things, there is a downside to this trusted and reliable shade. Washing black clothes can cause fading, leaving your favourite black jeans looking dull and your dark outfits lacklustre. Read on to discover tips for washing black clothes, temperature setting, cycle choice and other tricks to keep your dark wardrobe essentials looking good as new for a whole lot longer.

Welcome to #CleanTok™

The home of cleaning on TikTok. Brought to you by Cleanipedia.

TikTokCleanipedia UK

Proud Supporter of #CleanTok™

  • Our simple how to guide for washing black clothes

    From understanding what temperature to wash black clothes at to finding out what colours you can wash with your black clothing, we’ve got you covered with these ten simple steps:

    1. 1

      Separate your laundry by colour

      Found yourself wondering, “can black clothes be washed with colours?” The answer is yes. However, if you want to ensure you are washing black clothes without fading, always wash darks separately from lights. It’s well known that to keep whites bright, we need to wash them separately, but few people realise that dark clothes also need to be washed together to maintain their colour. Dark clothing washed with coloured or light clothing will start to fade, or leach dye.

    2. 2

      Separate your washing by material type

      Not all dark or black items are created equally – and you should try to avoid popping them all in the wash together to save time. There are three key things to consider: the weight of your fabric, how soiled the items are, and how delicate an item is. A light-weight top shouldn’t be washed in the same cycle as heavy denim, as coarse fabrics can gradually erode delicate ones. Additionally, avoid mixing heavily soiled items with those that are only slightly dirty.

    3. 3

      Don’t forget to empty the pockets

      A big pile of black clothes can blend into one mass, but if there’s one forgotten tissue in there, you’re going to have a tough time getting rid of the white residue afterwards. If you – or a family member – are prone to forgetting to empty your pockets when getting changed, be sure to check them all before placing any items into your washing machine.

    4. 4

      Pay attention to the clothes-care label

      It might seem like a bit of a faff but checking the manufacturer’s guidelines for washing could save you some washing disasters and help your clothes to look like new for longer. For example, silk, cashmere, and other delicate materials are often dry-clean only, delicate items like underwear should be washed separately and some items will be handwash only – but don’t panic, we have a guide to show you how to handwash clothes with ease.

      A close up of a red jumper’s clothes care label
    5. 5

      Use the shortest wash cycle possible

      Not only will this help to protect your black clothing during the wash, but it will also help your darks maintain their colour and avoid fading.

    6. 6

      Make sure you know what temperature to wash black clothes at

      When it comes to dark clothes, the wash temperature is very important in preserving their colour. Higher temperatures can cause the dye to run or fade, so choose the coldest wash possible for your darks.

    7. 7

      Soak particularly soiled dark clothes in cold water

      Before a wash, soak off the worst of the dirt on more soiled items of clothing in a bowl of cold water. This way you can wash the clothing on a cold cycle, and they’ll stay looking good-as-new for longer. You can also pre-treat stains with a damp cloth and a dab of laundry detergent.

      Colourful and dark clothing soaking in a basin of water
    8. 8

      Use a suitable detergent and fabric conditioner

      When washing black clothes, choose a mild detergent that’s suitable for dark colours and cold washes such as Persil Non-Bio Liquid Detergent, and combine it with a good quality fabric conditioner such as Comfort Ultimate Care Fresh Sky fabric conditioner which helps to protect your clothes against damage. Take care to avoid additives such as bleach, which can be damaging. We have more in-depth details about the truth about bleach right here on Cleanipedia.

    9. 9

      Turn dark clothes inside out

      It may take a few minutes extra to put the laundry on to wash, but we highly recommend you don’t skip this step. This simple hack helps the colour stay in longer because the water and detergent work primarily on the outer layer (which if turned inside out becomes the inner layer) and this can be a major cause of colour fading.

      Try and get into good habits early on by either turning your jeans or dark clothing inside out when taking them off and pop them in your laundry basket.
    10. 10

      Be careful how you dry your clothes

      It’s not just washing that can cause your clothing to fade. Tumble drying may be the quickest way to dry your clothes, but it could also contribute to your black clothes fading. The heat and friction can result in the clothes fibres becoming distressed, causing the colour to fade. If air-drying, make sure you hang items out of direct sunlight to avoid fading. If you’re worried about drying your clothes indoors without using the dryer, we’ve got you covered with our guide to drying clothes in winter.

With just ten super easy steps, we’ve shown you how to best care for your dark clothing and prevent fading when washing black clothes.

Frequently asked questions about washing black clothes

Make your voice matter

Which brand of dishwasher tablets do you usually purchase?

0 Votes

Was this article helpful?