How to Wash Dark/Black Clothes Properly

How to Wash Dark/Black Clothes Properly
Photo by Irma Sophia on Unsplash

Dark clothes are an essential part of every closet. Whether it’s formal, neutrals or gothic pieces, black or darker colors can pretty much fit into any type of scenario or aesthetic.

An age old problem with darker clothes however is that they fade all too quickly. Now that might not be a bad thing if you’re into that sort of look, but if you’re not it can be a drag buying new dark tees and jeans every so often.

So, how do you properly wash black clothes without them fading out? 

No despair, we have some convenient and simple, yet effective tips to share with you so you can get the results you’re looking for. Continue reading the article below for tips and tricks on how to wash dark or black clothes properly.

What Temperature To Wash Dark Clothes

How to Wash a Black Shirt?
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60-80 degrees is the magic number when it comes to washing dark or black clothes if you are looking to prevent them from fading out.

Most machines have a specific temperature control setting. If yours does not, you should use whatever the warmest water option is.

What Soap To Use on Black/Dark Clothes?

There are dozens and dozens of washing soap on the market and choosing the right one can be intimidating. When it comes to black or darker clothes, you must ensure that the detergent you choose is not too harsh as this can cause leaching of the colors into the water used for washing.

Milder detergent is the way to go, but oftentimes these lack cleaning power.

If this is an issue for you, then your best bet is to use a special formula for darks. Several brands on the market have these formulas available. These include Puracy, Perwoll and Woolite. While these might be a bit more expensive than the regular options, they will be worth it in the long run. 

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Adding Laundry Boosters

Laundry detergent boosters come in many different forms, including organic homemade laundry soap or store bought. They’re usually added in during washing to help the effectiveness of your laundry detergent.

For dark or black colored clothing we recommend 2 organic laundry boosters:


Vinegar is a common item in many kitchens which surprisingly has many other uses. Adding a cup of regular table vinegar to the water when washing your dark colored clothing should prevent the fabric’s color leaching into the water. This method can be used as a presoak before starting your wash. A thirty-minute soak should be enough to seal the color. If you’re worried about the smell, simply rinse with fabric softener and plenty of water. 


The salt hack is supposed to work in the same way as the vinegar method. Adding a table spoon of regular table salt should prevent leaching of color from your clothes. Besides adding the salt, you wash the clothes as normal.

Dark/Black Clothes Machine Wash Settings

Washing Machine Setting For Dark/Black Clothes
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If you plan on washing your dark colors in the washing machine, here are some settings you should consider.

Cold Water Only:

The first rule of washing dark clothes in a clothing machine is to use room temperature or cold water. Warm water is known for causing fading and as such should be avoided at all costs. 

Dark Colors Only:

While sorting clothes can be time consuming, it’s highly recommended if you want to maintain their color. Only wash dark colored clothing with other similar colors to avoid fading and general discoloration. 

Inside Out:

Washing your clothes inside out is a great hack to preserve the fabric. Dark colors in particular which are prone to fading, will benefit from being turned inside out. 

Dark Clothes Setting:

Some machines come with preset options for dark clothes. If this is available, then use it as it is generally shorter and gentler than other options which will prevent fading. 

Drying Black/Dark Clothes 

If you live in a location where the weather gets sufficiently warm, then hanging your dark clothes out to dry in the open air is ideal.

Try to avoid the direct sunlight however.

This will help to preserve both their color and the fabric as they will dry gently. If you do not have this option and must use a dryer, then ensure that it is used at the lowest heat setting. 

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Bonus Tip:

 Before you toss that dark article of clothing in the washer, consider if it really needs to be washed. Most darker clothes do not need to be washed after every wear. Some items, like jeans or jackets, can be worn two to three times before washing is necessary.

This consideration is especially important because regardless of how well you wash your clothes, there will be some amount of damage to the fibers that make up the fabric. Therefore, less washing translates to less fabric damage and slower fading. 

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