how to wash black clothes.

Posted by smol on



Just how exactly can we keep our black clothes from fading? 

We’ve all had jeans, tops and sweaters that start off velvety black and within a few washes just seem… well… greyer!

Sometimes it’s actually the quality of the dye that’s been used in the manufacture of the fabric but oftentimes it comes down to how we are washing our clothes. Our choice of detergent, the water temperatures we wash with, the length of cycles we are using… they can all add up to colour loss. 

But that’s something we change!

smol steps to success. 

So here’s our ULTIMATE guide of washing do’s & don’ts for staying on the dark side.

washing DO’s.

  1. If you fear your black clothing might bleed dye in your washing machine… try this test. Pop it in a sink with cool water and gently swirl it around. If after 30 minutes you see colour bleeding into the water… don’t use your washing machine to clean your item but instead handwash it from now on.

  2. Always check clothing care labels. This will ensure you know property washing instructions and how to best dry your clothing too. It will also save you accidentally machine washing dry clean-only items.

  3. Turn your clothing inside out whenever you run them through the washing machine. This is a great way to protect the colour on the outside of your clothes. It means the reverse side of the fabric will take the majority of the hurly-burly as your clothes are thrown around inside the spinning drum. 

  4. Stick to cooler washes with slower spin cycles! Hot water will fade your black clothing much faster so try to use machine cycles between 20ºC - 30ºC. Luckily, using a powerful bio such as smol bio will still give you fabulously clean laundry even at these cooler temperatures due to its clever enzyme technology. Picking a slower spin setting with a delicate wash cycle also means there’s less movement of your clothing during the wash which will protect fibres further from losing their dye.

  5. Choose a colour-safe detergent such as smol capsules or smol laundry liquid. These have been designed to keep colours safe and protect the bright vibrant clothing that you love; all the while giving a powerful clean and freshly scented laundry. 

washing DON’Ts.

  1. NEVER wash black coloured garments with lighter colours if you want to avoid colour bleeding.

  2. Avoid washing dark clothes with linen or fabrics that make a lot of lint. This fuzz can then easily coat your black items, giving a much lighter look! 
  3. Try not to wash black items with other laundry that has zippers, beads or buttons. These sharp trimmings will increase friction in the wash, weakening the fabric and releasing dye.

  4. Try to run full loads of laundry when possible. The more space your clothes have to roll around the more friction they will experience and the higher the risk for damage to dye levels. A full load will also save you money, water and carbon! Win Win!

  5. Avoid using detergents and products in your machine that rely on bleaching agents. smol laundry capsules, laundry liquid, stain gel and fabric conditioner are all bleach-free. Most powder detergents will contain bleaching products as a central ingredient and these are going to fade all your dark clothing over time. Powder can also leave undissolved residue on your clothing which will make them look dull and lacklustre.

and to dry?

If you can line dry indoors without using a tumble dryer that’s going to be your best protection for keeping clothing black. 

Heated Airers, de-humidifiers and even just a simple drying rack come out top in the battle for black. 

High temperatures from a tumble dryer will damage the fibres of your clothes, loosening the dyes further. 

Direct sunlight outside on a laundry line is also going to fade your clothing so if you are line drying outside, ensure your black clothing is hanging in the shade.

Top Tip: if you really can’t avoid the tumble dryer, choose the coolest cycle it has and regularly check your items so you can remove them as soon as they are almost dry. That way they can do that last little bit of drying in the air. 


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