Black clothes rank top among fabric colors that require special care and maintenance. If you fall into the wrong technique of caring for them, be sure the fabrics will fade with time and have their longevity chopped off by half, or even more than half.
We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen, and that’s why we’ve published this knowledge guide to teach you how best to clean your black clothes in order keep them at optimal quality.
The best way to launder black clothes
1) Always find a reason to ditch the washer
It’s very important that you try as much as possible to keep your black clothes away from the washing machine whenever you can.
The washing machine is literally their worst enemy. This is because the more you put black clothes in there, the more the colors fade away and the more the structure disintegrates.
So whenever you launder black clothes, try to see how you can maintain their freshness as long as you can. One of the best ways to do so is to air dry them immediately after you pull them off.
You can also use an odor remover or laundry sanitizer on them to help remove bacteria that cause odor and also viruses and other pathogens.
2) Remove stains from black clothes before washing
This advice doesn’t just stop with black clothes, make sure you’re removing stains from every other type and color of clothes before you put them in the washer, and most especially, the dryer.
This would ensure your stains come off efficiently after laundry, and also prevent them from setting in due to the heat from the dryer.
There are numerous types of stains that can collect on your black clothes, and one million other ways to remove them. Make sure to tackle the stains with the appropriate stain removing technique or stain remover.
There are also all purpose stain removers that are meant to tackle a wide variety of stains from oil to grease and even water based stains. Follow the instructions on the product label for the best results.
One thing you can use for general stain removal at home is a paste of laundry detergent, preferably, heavy duty detergent.
Apply the paste to the affected spot using a repeated circular motion. Rinse the spot with warm water if the fabric permits, and then launder. Know however, that detergent paste is mostly effective against fresh stains or those that haven’t aged long.
3) Never use bleach on black clothes
I cannot overemphasize the importance of this point. Whatever you do, you have to make sure you’re not using bleach on black clothes. It will discolor your fabrics and ruin them forever.
Instead of bleach, opt for laundry sanitizers to achieve disinfection, or laundry boosters, stain removers, color safe bleach and natural remedies to boost color, and promote stain and soil removal.
4) Wash new blacks with ½ cups of salt
Whenever you purchase a black clothing, always wash it with a half cup of salt to maintain color and prevent the dyes from running off.
5) Wash blacks with blacks
Always wash blacks with blacks and avoid pairing them with other colors. Blacks can release dye when washed especially in hot water, and when they are paired with other types of clothes like whites or lighter colors, the dyes can transfer to the lighter colors. On the other hand also, washing blacks with colors that run can have the opposite effect.
6) Wash blacks according to weight
It is extremely important to wash black clothes according to their weights. You don’t want to pair jeans with tops and tees, because the jeans can render excessive friction to the surface of these lighter fabrics and cause their colors to fade, or delicate embellishments and finishes on them to damage.
7) Don’t wash very dirty blacks with lightly soiled blacks
It’s generally a good practice to avoid washing very dirty clothes with clothes that are lightly soiled. When you wash your black clothes also, you want to make sure you’re washing them inside out so the finish and overall aesthetics of the right side isn’t affected by the agitation of the washing machine.
8) Try to always wash blacks using cold water (60 to 75 °F is preferred), but avoid water that is too cold
Hot water causes the colors to loosen from the fibers and bleed into the wash water, no matter the color of cloth you’re washing. That’s why it’s always advised to make it a habit of washing clothes in cold water unless you need to disinfect a heavily dirty cloth.
When we talk of cold water, how cold the water is also matters. Very cold water would impede cleaning because most laundry detergents have enzymes that activate between the temperatures of 60 to 75 °F.
If your water is very cold, below the stated threshold, heat it up to at least the lower limit of the threshold to get efficient cleaning.
9) Try to always use the lowest cycle you think can get the fabric clean
Using the lowest time to wash black clothes in the washer would ensure that you’re not subjecting the clothes to prolonged agitation which would help preserve their integrity for a very long time.
You can easily guesstimate the approximate time needed to wash clothes by simply inspecting the level of soiling on them.
If the clothes are heavily soiled and they smell pretty bad also, you want to go for the full cycle your washer can offer, and if the clothes are lightly soiled however, you should opt for a half or a quarter of the time required for a full cycle (minus soaking time of course).
When it comes to the right kind of detergent you should be using to wash your black clothes, opt for liquid detergents and make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the quantity to use.
Try to avoid using powder detergent especially because you’ll be washing the black clothes in cold water. Cold water and powder detergent don’t really go well together, and that is because powder detergent doesn’t dissolve efficiently in cold water. So you may find streaks and spots on your black clothes when you use powdered detergent to wash them.
10) Add white vinegar to the final rinse cycle
Adding distilled white vinegar during the final rinse cycle of your laundry will help remove residues from detergents and laundry products which attach to clothes and make them look duller and unattractive. If you are adding, add 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar and feel free to use it together rinse additives like fabric softeners and other products.
11) Dry in shade, and inside out
After washing, you want to dry your black clothes in the shade and away from sunlight, because sunlight is literally your clothes worst enemy. You also want to make sure you’re drying it inside out to minimize the effects of sun rays on the right side of the fabric.
It’s very easy to fall into the rut of washing black clothes like you’d normally wash regular clothes, but blacks, just like whites, are somewhat unique and different, and if you really want to preserve their integrity, then you really have to go the extra mile with your laundry tactic.
You’ll find everything you ever wanted to know about black cloth care and maintenance discussed above.