By far the most popular color when it comes to clothes, black is also the most difficult to lauder correctly. Many theories exist when it comes to keeping your black clothes black and reducing fading. Prior to washing your black clothes, determine if they do indeed need to be washed or if they could be re-worn. Washing is the number one way to damage your black clothes, so if it is not absolutely necessary avoid doing so. For small stains or odor, spot clean your black clothing with a damp rag and apply a fabric freshener, such as Febreeze.
- Before their first wash, soak your black garments overnight in lightly salted water, or a solution of vinegar and water. Both salt and vinegar are known to set colors. Vinegar may also be used in the final rinse cycle and black clothes will appear brighter. Any scent should disappear after the clothes have dried. Make sure to wash all your black clothes with like dark colored clothing. Never mix your blacks with light colored clothing when laundering. Lint from light items tends to adhere to darks, causing them to appear fuzz laden. Since black clothes attract lint like magnets, always keep a lint brush handy for quick touch ups.
- Use the coolest water temperature setting and gentle cycle when washing your black clothes. Use a liquid detergent meant for dark colors to ensure the least amount of fading. There are several of these detergents now on the market. Powdered detergents may not dissolve entirely and can stick to black clothing. Turning your clothing inside out prior to placing in the washer may also help to prevent damage and fading.
- Never dry your black clothes in direct sunlight which causes fading. Automatic dryers also tend to add wear and age to your garments. If possible, dry your black clothes on a drying rack placed in indirect light. If using an automatic dryer, be sure to first remove any existing lint from the dryer filter.
Following these steps will help you keep your black clothes black and increase their life span. If all else fails, never underestimate the power of black clothing dye. Black clothing dye can be the perfect quick fix for those garments that have faded beyond the point of recognition. Keep a bottle on hand to breath life back into the black clothes you do not want to part with.