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Tips on how to avoid colors fading when washing

I like bright, solid colors in clothes and garments. Solid colors look great on garments until they fade. A vibrant red shirt that you really like can easily become a shirt you dislike when it loses its original color.  Here are some tips to help prevent discoloration on some of your favorite garments:

1. Look at the care label
It requires a couple of seconds, but looking at care labels might spare you from much distress whenever your clothes go through the washing machine. Reading the washing directions, like hand wash only in cold water, might save the garment of choice from color loss. Nothing is worse than having a new garment ruined or damaged within just a couple of weeks of purchase.  Remember to also to read the drying instructions. The label should explain what to do.

2. Separate your wash into darks, whites, and colors
This seems obvious, but be sure to separate your clothing into darks, whites and colors. Anyone who has mistakenly put in one brightly colored piece of clothing with a whole load of whites knows the distress of seeing the whites come out of the wash in a new shade of pink. To avoid having the discoloration of whites, keep those darks and colors separate. Never be tempted for the sake time to put it all in one load, even if you are just washing a few items.

3. Turn clothing inside out
Much of the discoloration of clothing can be avoided by turning your clothing inside out prior to placing them into your washer or dryer. Washing and drying can be a little rough on your clothing, so by reversing the garments you will decrease the possibility of pilling that can fade the color of the fabric. Also, if you dry your clothes under natural sunshine, be sure to keep them inside out. Prolonged exposure to the sun when drying can increase the chance of color loss.

4. Don't put too many garments in the washer at once
This seems to be inconvenient, especially when you are washing a big load, but you have to keep in mind that if you have too many clothes in the washer then the clothes in center of the tumbler will not get the same amount of detergent as the outer garments will. This can result in some clothing not being fully cleaned and other garments receiving too much detergent; both can be bad for the clothes, so resist the temptation to do too many at once.  It is better to spend the extra time then to damage your clothes.

5. Wash in cold water
Even though modern detergent has come a long way and is now suitable for washing colored clothing in hot water, it is still better to be on the safe side and wash your colors in cold water.

6. Don't leave in the dryer on too long
Even though no one enjoys wearing damp clothes, over drying will result in the fading of the colored garments. Set your dryer to the minimum amount of time necessary to dry your clothes and don't leave them in the dryer after the time is up. Ideally you should be taking your clothes out of the dryer while they are still a little damp.

7. Add vinegar
Vinegar is obviously not designed for clothes and often can initially give off an unattractive odor, but including a cup of vinegar in your wash will make your fabric softer and will also help reduce the risk of discoloration. Also, don’t worry about the vinegar giving off a lasting odor; the smell will not be there after the wash.

8. Use the soft cycle or a softer detergent
Should you still be worried about fading and discoloration, put your clothes in a lighter spin cycle with a detergent that is labeled as beneficial for colored clothing.