How to Wash Dark Clothes: Temperature Guide & Tips


Dark clothing is a wardrobe staple. From navy blue jeans to black sweaters, dark-colored garments add classic style and versatility to any outfit. But it’s important to know how to care for these items so that they last. To ensure that dark clothes remain looking their best, it’s important to understand the importance of washing them properly, including what temperature to use.

A Guide to Washing Dark Clothes: What Temperature is Best?

When it comes to washing dark clothes, cold water is always the best choice. Hot water can cause colors to fade and fabrics to shrink, while cold water helps preserve both color and fabric integrity. Cold water also uses less energy than hot water and can help reduce costs when doing laundry.

It can be tricky to determine the right temperature for washing dark clothes. In general, you should aim for water that is between 65°F and 85°F. You can adjust the temperature on most washing machines, or you can use a thermometer to check the temperature of the water coming out of the tap. If the water is too hot or too cold, you may need to adjust the settings on your washing machine.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Laundering Dark Clothes

In addition to choosing the right temperature, there are certain steps you should take to ensure your dark clothes come out looking great. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when laundering dark clothes.


  • Separate whites and darks. This will help prevent any unwanted color transfer.

  • Read care labels before washing. Different fabrics require different temperatures and treatment.

  • Pre-treat stains. This will help remove stubborn spots and save your garment from further damage.

  • Add color catcher sheets. These will help prevent any excess dye from bleeding onto other items in the wash.


  • Don’t use hot water. Hot water can cause colors to fade and fabrics to shrink.

  • Don’t overload the washer. Overloading the machine can cause clothes to rub together, leading to color fading.

  • Don’t use too much detergent. Too much detergent can leave a residue on fabrics that can cause fading over time.

  • Don’t dry in direct sunlight. Sunlight can quickly fade dark colors.

How to Wash Dark Clothes: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you know the basics of washing dark clothes, here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started.

Step 1: Sort Clothes

Before putting any clothes in the washing machine, it’s important to sort them by color. Separate whites and light-colored items from dark-colored items. This will help prevent any unwanted color transfer.

Step 2: Pre-Treat Stains

If there are any stubborn stains on your dark clothes, pre-treat them with a stain remover before washing. This will help loosen the stain and make it easier to remove during the wash cycle.

Step 3: Choose Appropriate Setting and Temperature

Once your clothes are sorted and pre-treated, it’s time to choose the right setting and temperature for your dark items. Most dark clothes should be washed in cold water. However, if the care label recommends a different temperature, follow those instructions.

Step 4: Add Detergent and Color Catcher Sheets

Add the appropriate amount of detergent to the washer. For extra protection against color transfer, add a color catcher sheet to the load. These sheets absorb any loose dyes that could potentially transfer onto other items in the wash.

Step 5: Dry Clothes

Once the washing cycle is complete, it’s time to dry your dark clothes. If possible, air-dry them on an indoor drying rack. Hang them away from direct sunlight to prevent fading. If you must use a dryer, set it to low heat.

What You Need to Know Before Washing Dark Clothing

Before washing any item of clothing, it’s important to read the care label. Different fabrics require different temperatures and treatments, so it’s important to follow the instructions provided. Additionally, different colors may require different temperatures. For example, navy blue may require a cooler temperature than black.

Proper laundering techniques are key to maintaining dark clothes. Taking the time to read the care label, separate items by color, pre-treat stains, and use the appropriate settings and temperatures will help keep dark clothes looking their best for years to come.

The Benefits of Washing Dark Clothes in Cold Water
The Benefits of Washing Dark Clothes in Cold Water

The Benefits of Washing Dark Clothes in Cold Water

Washing dark clothes in cold water has many benefits. It helps preserve color, reduce energy costs, and protect fabrics from damage. Cold water also helps maintain the shape and texture of dark fabrics, so that they look better for longer.


Dark clothes can be tricky to care for, but following the tips provided in this article will help keep them looking their best. Remember to always read the care label, separate whites and darks, pre-treat stains, and use cold water whenever possible. Doing so will help maintain the color and shape of dark fabrics and keep them looking like new for years to come.

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