How to Keep Dark Clothing from Fading

If you've been following along, we recently discussed 3 Ways to Keep Your White Clothing White. Well, what about your dark clothing? If you regularly wear black t-shirts or black denim, then there's nothing worse than your favorite piece of clothing fading in the wash. As such, today we'll share 5 ways to keep your dark clothing from fading.

1. Use Vinegar to Keep Dark Clothing from Fading

The next time you go to the grocery store, make sure to pick up a bottle of vinegar. Vinegar has been known to serve multiple purposes, but very few people know that vinegar is incredibly effective at keeping your dark clothing from fading.

Simply add 1/2 cup of vinegar to your wash cycle. It can either be applied straight to the load, or mixed with your detergent, or added to the fabric softener dispenser. If you have "hard water," the vinegar will help get rid of any detergent build-up of minerals in the water that tends to make dark clothing fade or appear dingy. We find that the smell of vinegar usually disappears once clothing is dry.

2. Always Wash Dark Clothing COLD to Prevent Fading 

Another tried and true approach to keeping your dark clothing from fading is to always wash your darks in cold water. Hot and warm water settings will cause fibers in your clothing to break down faster, which is the primary reason that darks fade. You can typically extend the life of dark-colored clothing by switching to cold water. Subsequently, you'll also save money by using cold water rather than hot water.

3. Use a Gentle Cycle to Prevent Dark Clothes From Fading 

Anytime you have a special piece of clothing, we recommend that you wash it separately or with similar items. But, if you really want to reduce fading, use the gentle cycle. The gentle cycle is designed to add extra protection to your fabric. As such, it tends to do a better job of keeping brights brighter and darks darker. Alternatively, you could also use a hand-wash cycle.

4. Try Special "Darks" Detergents

Recently, detergent companies have started focusing their attention on dark clothing. For example, Woolite Darks with Color Renew is designed to smooth fibers, remove pilling and revive colors, so that your dark clothes can look like new even after 30 washes. If you're regularly washing dark clothing, it may be worth the added expense to start washing those dark pieces with dark-specific detergent.

If you really like the idea of using special detergents, we also found a detergent for denim.

4. Wash Your Dark Clothing Inside Out

Another way to keep your dark clothing (particularly denim or black pants), is to wash them inside out. We actually recommend this approach for any piece of clothing that you'd want to protect. It's quick and easy and will protect your darks from fading.

5. Use Black Dye To Refresh Dark Clothing

Even if your jeans don’t aren't terribly faded, you can use a black dye bath to refresh the color, especially around worn areas such as seams and pockets, so that your jeans look new again. Stay tuned for a feature article on how to use dye to refresh your dark clothing.


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