In general it's best to wash your dark colours separately. But it's worth knowing if clothes (especially new ones) are colour fast before putting them in with a regular wash. That way you'll avoid dyes running into other clothes, leaving them an undesirable – and often indescribable shade!
So check the washing care label, and do this easy test for colour fastness.
Colour fastness test for soaking or washing
- Dampen a small area of hem or inside seam with water
- Iron a piece of white fabric or kitchen paper on to it
- If the paper soaks up any colour, your garment isn't colourfast, so should be washed separately
Colour fastness test for solvents
(i.e. eucalyptus oil, methylated spirits, white spirit/turpentine substitute, nail polish remover, etc.):
- Dampen an inconspicuous part of the garment with the solvent
- Blot area with a tissue
- If any colour blots off, the garment is not colourfast with the solvent used
Caution: Do not use an iron to test solvents.
How do I wash non-colour fast items?
- Non-colourfast items should be washed separately in cold water and rinsed immediately without soaking
- Dry cleaning is safer for garments that lose a lot of colour, but check the care label first
What should I do if dye runs into other clothes?
- If a non-colourfast item accidentally slips into your wash you could try using a reversal product available in your market
- If an article washed in your machine has released a lot of dye, put your machine on an empty wash cycle before doing the next load. This will stop the loose dye running into the next wash