how to wash dark clothes

How to wash dark clothes? Success in the laundry room requires a few simple laundry preparation steps to keep your dark clothes dark, and get them clean in the process.

If followed, your efforts will be rewarded with dark clothes that retain their original color and get clean in the process.

Here are the simple steps to success to use when you wash dark clothes.


Wash Dark Clothes Separately

The secret behind getting everything clean safely is to sort your laundry into loads of similar colors, wash cycles and water temperature needs. 

Read fabric care labels before you wash. Your clothes will last longer (regardless of color, if you launder them as recommended. 

Washing lights and darks together is a recipe for color transfer between clothes - and both will emerge looking worse for wear. It's less expensive to wash dark clothes correctly than to replace them, so keep that in mind as you sort.

You'll also want to be on the lookout for stains, and set stained items aside for pretreating before you toss them into the washing machine.

Treat stains you encounter with a small amount of laundry detergent that doesn't contain bleach. Pour a bit of the detergent directly on the stained area and gently rub into the fibers, then allow it to sit for several minutes before washing,

Wash New Dark Clothes Inside Out in Cold Water the First Time

For a first washing, turn dark clothes inside out and machine wash cold (60 to 80 degrees F) in the gentle wash cycle. This is the key to preventing dark clothes from fading.

Using a cold wash cycle the first time slows the dye transfer process, while a warm wash 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.

Wash Dark Clothes in the Shortest Cycle

Wash dark clothes in the shortest cycle appropriate for the soil level to minimize color fading.

The 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 spend soaking in soapy water, the better chance they have of retaining their original color.


Minimize Abrasion During the Wash Cycle

To keep abrasion, snags, and lint to a minimum, zip zippers, button buttons, brush away lint, empty pockets and turn dark clothes inside out. Also, only wash items of similar weight together - that is, don't wash a cashmere sweater and jeans in the same load because they're black.

Choose a Laundry Detergent That Won't Fade Dark Clothes

Choose a laundry detergent 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 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. This is because laundry detergent is generally made to activate fully at warmer temperatures. When washing in cold water, you'll want to increase the amount of detergent to one-and-a-half to two times the recommended amount. 

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

Remove Dark Clothes Promptly from the Washing Machine


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

Avoid Machine Drying to Prevent Fading

Avoid machine drying your dark clothes if possible to keep them from fading. In addition, a dryer can set any missed stains. 

Instead, hang your dark clothes to dry away from direct sunlight, which can quickly fade colors. Or invest in a space-saving clothes drying rack.

Shop Laundry Detergent & Stain Removal







› How to Wash Dark Clothes