Learn how to keep dark and black clothes from fading in the laundry by following these preventative steps.
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Should it be washed?
Each time you wash or dry clean clothing, you cause a bit of damage to the fibers. No matter how careful you or your cleaner are, a little wear and tear occurs. So, first determine if the garment really needs cleaning.
Here are guidelines for how often to clean clothes:
Sort clothing carefully.
The first consideration when sorting clothes is whether a garment should be washed or dry cleaned. If you don't know what to do, read the clothing care label. You may be able to use a home dry cleaning kit to save money.
After you've sorted out the dry clean only items, sort your washable clothes. Never wash light colored clothing with dark items or lint producing fabrics. Lint from other fabrics will often adhere to dark items making them look "fuzzy" and faded.
Always use the coolest water temperature possible when washing dark clothing. Hot water will always fade dyes more quickly. Be sure that your washer is always set to use a cold water rinse cycle. There is never a need for hot or warm water to rinse clothes.
If you don't have a dark color product available, use the least amount of detergent necessary for cleaning your clothes. Using a liquid detergent instead of a powder detergent will prevent any undissolved particles from clinging to dark clothes leaving the finish dull. If you don't use an automated washer detergent dispenser, be sure to add the detergent to the washer drum first. Adding detergent after clothes are in the machine may cause problems with spotting or residue.
If you must pretreat a stain, test the cleaning solution first in an inconspicuous spot to ensure there is no fading.
Select the right washing cycle.
Unless your dark clothing is heavily caked with dirt, select a gentle or permanent press cycle for dark colors. These cycles have shorter wash cycles with less agitation that can damage fibers and cause them to look faded. Also, choose a slower spin cycle to avoid breakage of fibers.
This is a good place to mention that a front load washer or a top load washer without a center agitator is more gentle on clothing. More gentle means less fiber breakage that causes clothes to look worn and faded.
Handwashing is always a good option for delicate dark items.
Load the washing machine correctly.
Always turn dark colored garments inside out before washing. This will prevent fiber finishes from becoming damaged and showing frayed ends and attracting lint. And, be sure to load the washer correctly and never overload the capacity of your machine.