I once had this black Tupac t-shirt, which made me feel super gangster and cool. Naturally, I wore it every chance I could, which equated to every second day of the week. However, with each wash I began to notice the black cotton slowly fading to a colour that resembled Lindsay Lohan – post Mean Girls. We all have that go-to piece of black clothing we all wear repeatedly – those black jeans, which flatter your butt, your favourite band t-shirt you bought overpriced at a gig. However, there will come a time and place when your black item will have to come face-to-face with their arch enemy, the washing machine. We share our top tips for preventing black clothes from fading and a secret my mum told me that will change your washing habits.
Sort your dirty clothes correctly
We all know it but how many of us actually do it? The first thing you should do is create two piles; one for black clothes to be washed and another for dry cleaned clothes. If you are unsure of what goes where, read the clothing care label. You should also sort your clothes into dark items and light items. That part should be easy.
Turn your black clothes inside out
I used to see my jeans turned inside out when my mum used to do my washing and never really understood why. Imagine if you were the surface of a fabric, nakedly exposed to the abrasive washing cycles and rubbing against others. Friction is the culprit behind dye fading and fibers breaking. Since the fabric is affected, the human eye sees less colour, even though no dye has actually been lost.
Tip: Close up all your zippers to further decrease the amount of friction to your black clothes
Use cold water
By washing your black clothes in basic cold water, you are extending the life expectancy of your garment. Why? Because warm water encourages dye to loosen from the fibers and bleed so it will fade faster. Your cold water temperature should range between 15 to 25 degrees celsius.
Avoid the sun
Think of your black clothes as goths who are sensitive to the sun. While drying your laundry outdoors is good for the planet, drying black clothes in sunlight can make them fade. No one wants dark grey, wannabe-black jeans do they? Use an indoor drying rack away from direct sunlight if possible.
Just a cup (250 ml) of… vinegar directly to the washing machine basin containing all your black clothes will help preserve your black clothes. Vinegar will strip fabric of detergent residue as well as act as a natural fabric softener.
So there you have it, top tips on how you can prevent black clothes from fading because I know how frustrating it can be.