How to Prevent Color Fading in Laundry

Written by dan gaz
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How to Prevent Color Fading in Laundry
Keep the colours looking new. (laundry image by timur1970 from

There's nothing worse than when your favourite shirt or pair of trousers loses its bright colours and begins to fade into a shadow of its former self. From sweaters to chinos, polo shirts to skirts, every piece of clothing needs to be cared for differently, depending on the material and colour of the fabric. It's easy to throw everything into the washing machine and clean it on the same cycle, but it can be detrimental to the look and feel of your clothing in the long run.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Separate all your clothes into whites, light colours, dark colours and anything that might need to be washed separately, based on fabric or filth level. If some of your clothing is delicate or you have a lot of dirty work clothes, you don't want to mix them with the rest of your laundry.

  2. 2

    Turn all of your clothing inside out. This will prevent the outer portion of your clothing from facing the brunt of the rinse and spin cycles, and will keep it from fading if you dry your clothes outdoors in the sun and breeze.

  3. 3

    Read the washing instructions on the tags of your clothing. Look for temperature settings, cycle settings, as well as drying instructions on the tags and separate your current piles into smaller ones that share the same washing instructions, as well.

  4. 4

    Use the recommended washing powder amounts, based on the size of the load you're washing. Feel free to use a variety of detergents that suit your clothing's needs. These include detergents for delicate clothing, outdoor clothing, gentle wash cycles and bright colours.

Tips and warnings

  • Adding vinegar to your laundry can provide a wide variety of benefits, ranging from stain removal to colour maintenance. By adding half a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle, your bright clothes will stay brighter. If you want to enhance your whites, you can soak items in a vinegar/hot water solution overnight, and then run through a cycle as directed.

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