The most popular colors for clothing are either black or white. But they can be tough to keep looking good. Black dyes can fade if you’re not careful, and whites can turn dingy or yellowish.
To keep your black clothes looking their darkest, wash them only when you have to, says Consumer Reports’ textile experts. And when you do, wash them with dark clothes of similar fabric. Turn them inside out and use the short cycle. Using cold water helps keep the fibers from losing their color.
Never put black clothes in the dryer. Banging about with other clothes roughs up the surface of the fibers, creating a “halo” of fuzz that catches light and actually makes them look lighter. Instead, keep them inside out and hang the clothes to dry. And never dry black clothing in the sun.
When it comes to white clothes, one big culprit is graying, which is caused by soil from dirty clothes transferring in the washing machine. To avoid that, use the right amount of detergent. Mark the fill line on the cap to take out the guesswork, and wash your white clothes separately.
What about bleach? Use chlorine bleach only on 100% cotton. It can damage stretch fabric and other delicate items. For fabric blends or anything with spandex, instead of bleach, add an oxygen cleaner like OxiClean or a generic product.
Another other complaint about white clothes is that they turn yellow. Consumer Reports says try soaking the clothes overnight in a mixture of warm water and an oxygen cleaner, then launder.
And don’t underestimate the bleaching power of the sun. Leave washed white clothes in the sun to dry and it will help keep them white.