how to wash dark clothes
in 7 easy steps

How to wash dark clothes? There's one laundry rule you should never break: Always wash dark clothes in cold water.

Washing dark clothes in warm or hot water can quickly cause the colors to fade. (Not to mention the risk of shrinkage.)  

If you take the time wash dark clothes safely, you'll be rewarded with clothes that last longer and look brighter and cleaner. Relax - it's really not that complicated.

Here's how to wash darks safely in 7 easy steps.

  1  sorting made simple: washing dark clothes requires the solo treatment

When washing dark clothes, you'll want to sort according to color shades.

Separate light colors from darks, and darks from black clothes, and wash each separately. 

  2  check for stains before washing

There's more to the sorting game than just keeping dark clothes away from lights and whites.

You'll also want to be on the lookout for stained stains, and set stained items aside for pretreating before you toss them into the washing machine. Treat any stains you encounter with a small amount of laundry detergent that doesn't contain bleach. Pour a bit of detergent on the stained area and gently rub the detergent into the fibers.

  3  turn new dark clothes inside out and wash in cold water

For a first washing, turn dark clothes inside out and wash in cold water (60 to 80 degrees F) in the gentle wash cycle. 

That's because dark clothes are usually dyed with water-based colors that wash away with each spin in the wash cycle.

Cold water slows the dye transfer process, while warmer water loosens up fabrics and has the opposite effect, allowing color to be released from the fabric more quickly.

Always select "cold" for the rinse-water temperature - and this goes for all your clothes, regardless of color.  

A cold rinse cycle saves energy and is just as effective as warm or hot water and helps prevent dark clothes from fading.

  4  wash dark clothes in the shortest cycle that will get them clean

Washing dark clothes in the shortest cycle appropriate for the soil level and the fabric is the best way to minimize color fading.

Regular cycle is fine for most clothes; but if you've just worn a pair of dark pants a time or two and they are without stains, you can choose a light wash to get them clean. The less time dark clothes are soaking in soapy water, the better chance they have for retaining their original color.

  5  use a laundry detergent without bleach

Choose a laundry detergent laundry specially formulated for dark clothes, or stick to a basic, additive-free detergent when washing dark clothes.

Specifically, avoid laundry detergent that has added boosters such as color-safe bleach, as it will quickly strip the color from your dark clothes.

If dark clothes are heavily soiled, or if you're washing a large load of darks, add extra laundry detergent to ensure the load gets clean the first time.

The one thing you will want to add, however, is a fabric softener to protect against fading and fuzz.

  6  remove dark clothes from the washing machine promptly

Remove dark clothes from the washer as soon as the cycle finished. Allowing dark clothes to sit in the machine may cause the colors to leech onto other items in your load.

  7  hang your dark clothes to dry

Avoid machine drying your dark clothes if possible to keep them from fading. In addition, a dryer can set any missed stains. So avoid it altogether. Instead, hang your dark clothes to dry away from direct sunlight, which can quickly fade colors.

› How to Wash Dark Clothes


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