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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 By Cleanipedia Team

A pile of folded dark laundry in front of a washing machine

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.

Don’t forget to check the care labels of your clothes before washing black clothes. Not all materials are machine washable, and some may require hand washing.
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You will need
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RequiredComfort Fresh Sky Ultimate Care
Comfort Ultimate Care Fresh Sky bottle
  • Liquid detergent
  • Fabric conditioner
  • Water

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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

    Step 4: A close up of a red jumper’s clothes care label
  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. 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. 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.

    Step 7: Colourful and dark clothing soaking in a basin of water
  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. 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. 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.

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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

What colours can you wash with black?

If you find yourself asking, “can you wash black clothes with colours?” the answer is yes – but you need to be careful which colours you’re popping in that wash. Black coloured clothing, navy items, and other very dark colours can go together, but you should avoid colours that are lighter including pastels when washing black clothes.

How do you keep black clothes from fading?

Knowing the answer to the question, “can you wash blacks with colours” is one thing, but how do you stop them from fading? To prolong the shelf-life of your favourite black garments, there are four key components to black laundry care: Always turn your items inside out before washing, opt for a cooler wash temperature, always use a short cycle, and air dry clothes where possible.

What laundry detergent is best for black clothes?

Faded clothes are irksome for many of us, but luckily there are products on the market that can help. Surf’s Perfect Black detergent is specially formulated to keep black clothes black and combines colourfast technology, making it perfect for your black jeans. Make sure you opt for a liquid and not powder (which doesn’t always dissolve in cold washes).

Should I be washing black clothes in hot or cold water?

When it comes to preserving dark clothes, the wash temperature is crucial. Darks need a cooler, short cycle to best retain their colour – a hot wash can shrink and fade them. The ideal temperature to wash dark clothes on is 30°C, which is a safe temperature for most darks.

How do I treat stains on black clothes?

If your dark items are particularly dirty, soak them in cold water or spot clean before washing. You can spot clean stains using a damp cloth and Persil liquid detergent.

Originally published