How to keep clothes from fading in the wash

Are you fed up of your clothes looking tired after a wash? Here's how to keep the colour looking fresh...

Montpellier washing machine
Published: August 31, 2021 at 3:01 pm
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Wouldn’t it be amazing if your black jeans actually stayed black for longer than three months?


It’s a real nuisance when colour fades or bleeds from your favourite garments, so follow these steps to keep your clothes in tip-top shape for as long as possible…

How to stop clothes fading in the wash

Always check washing symbol labels first. Look for warnings such as ‘wash cold’ or ‘hand wash’ as these often indicate that the dyes used in the clothes are likely to bleed in the washing machine. If the label doesn’t have these warnings, the item is likely to be colour-fast and safe to wash without any extra precautions.

Pre-treat stains before washing with a small amount of detergent or a natural alternative, such as baking soda. Then, turn the garment inside out, especially if it’s new. Doing this reduces friction on the garment’s outside, which can transfer colour to other garments and lead to fading.

After you’ve checked the labels, separate your clothes according to colour. Group all of the pure white items together.

Any garments with coloured designs or patterns go into the coloured clothes pile, which is reserved for lighter colours, such as pinks, yellows, light greens and light blues.

Finally, the dark clothes load – think deep greys, navy, red, dark purple and black.

Once you’ve separated your laundry, load the washing machine but don’t overfill it as this can cause uneven cleaning. Set the machine to run a gentle wash in cold water, ideally at 30°C, which keeps fibres closed and traps the dye inside. Lots of liquid detergents are optimised for cold washes so you can get the same results while being gentle to your clothes.

Still concerned about your colours running? Try using colour run prevention sheets, which are designed to catch loose dyes before they transfer to clothes.


Feeling inspired? Take a look at the rest of our handy cleaning tips and household hacks!


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