1. Read the Care Label
It takes a few seconds, but reading the care labels may save a lot of heartache when your clothes come out of the wash. Check for instructions that may say to wash only in cold, or with like colors. Don’t forget to check for drying instructions as well. The label may indicate that the clothing needs to be dried on low, or drip dried.
2. Wash Dark Colors Together
Sorting clothes is a great opportunity to check the care label, and place your clothing in the correct pile. Anyone who has ever washed one red sock with an entire load of whites, knows the pain that can happen when colors fade away. To prevent dark colors from fading, keep like colors together.
3. Turn Clothes Inside Out
Some of the wear and tear that happens on your clothing can be prevented by turning your clothing inside out before washing and drying. Washing and drying clothing is rough on the outside of your clothing. Turning garments inside out will reduce pilling which dulls the look of the fabric. Don’t forget to turn clothing inside out when you hang clothes outside to dry. While the sun is an excellent and efficient drying tool, it will zap the color right out of your clothing.
4. Don’t Stuff the Washer
Stuffing the washer is tempting. It will help us save time, right? Well, actually stuffing the washer can cost us quite a bit. It makes the machine work harder and it is tougher on our clothes. Clothing can’t come clean or have soap evenly deposited when it is packed into a washing machine. Similarly clothing takes a lot longer to dry when a dryer is stuffed with wet cloths. Clothes need to move freely.
5. Wash in Cold
Colors in cold. This was the unofficial motto of my home growing up. If there is one thing I learned about laundry from my mother, it is that colors get washed in cold. If you want to prevent fading from your colored clothing, wash them in cold water. Detergents have come a long way in the last several years, and most do as well in cold water as the do in hot or warm.
6. Don’t Over Dry
It’s easy to let our clothing over. While this is bad for all of our laundry, it is particularly bad for our bright and dark colors. Over drying will cause your colors to fade. Set a timer and don’t forget about your clothes. Clothes should be slightly damp when they are pulled from the dryer.
7. Add Vinegar
Vinegar doesn’t have the most pleasant smell, but adding a cup to your washing machine will not only give you a natural fabric softener, but also help prevent colors from fading. The good news? The vinegar smell goes away in the wash.
8. Use the Gentle Cycle or a Gentle Detergent
If you still want to make sure your colors last as long as possible, you can wash on your machine’s gentle cycle or hand wash your special clothing. There are several detergents on the market that are formulated to prevent fading and color loss.