What Happens If You Wash White Clothes And Dark Clothes Together?

Washing your white clothes together with your dark clothes might seem like a time-saving idea, but what happens when you do it? 

Well, there’s always the possibility that your white clothing may get stained once the dye from the dark clothes bleeds out. Washing white and dark clothes together has a risk that your white garments may end up with unsightly stains. 

Why does this happen? In this article, we’ll tell you why you’re better off doing separate laundry loads and give a few tips to keep your clothes looking their best.

Why Separate Clothes by Colour When Washing Them

Have you ever washed coloured clothes with your whites, only for the latter to end up with stains from the colours that are difficult to remove? 

This happens because clothes that are dyed have a tendency to bleed, which could be bad for white garments that can easily get stained. 

person wringing clothes by hand

This is why it’s better to separate coloured garments from white ones, especially if you’re washing outside clothes you’d hate to ruin. 

NOTE:  Be wary of using hot washes when doing your laundry. Due to the high temperature, hot cycles exceeding 60 degrees Celsius tend to wash out the garment and increase the likelihood of dye transfer.

Which Colours or Fabrics Tend to Bleed More?

When it comes to colour, red and orange clothing is notorious for bleeding. Many manufactured shades of red and orange use direct dye that can get washed off, especially poorly dyed ones that didn’t have the colour stick to their fibres completely. 

Clothes on a clothes line

So, if you have quite a few orange and red clothes in your closet, separating them from your whites will always be the best idea.

Have you ever bought jeans and noticed they’re quite bright in colour before they’re washed? When it comes to fabric, keep an eye on your denim as they also tend to bleed from the dye. If you have a new denim jacket or jeans, wash them separately until you’re sure the colour is stable before mixing them in with your other clothes. 

The Right Way of Separating Your Laundry

The best and simplest way to separate your laundry to avoid colour transfer is to make sure that the white clothes are washed in a separate load from coloured clothing

A person putting clothes into a washing machine

Don’t have the patience to do several loads? 

To save your valuable time and energy, you can include your socks and underwear when you wash your whites, as long as you use the appropriate temperature and wash cycle as indicated on their care labels.

Washing Light-Coloured Clothes

As a general rule, you should always wash your white clothes separately. But what about pastels, muted, or light-coloured garments? 

If you have light-coloured clothes, you can include them in your whites to save time, as long as you’re already sure that they don’t bleed. This will only be a good idea if you’ve already had these clothes for a long time and confirm that their dye is stable. 

As always, If the light-coloured clothes are still new, always wash them separately or soak them in a basin with water first to see if their dye will bleed.

TIP: Want to make your whites appear crisp? Add a cup of vinegar or baking soda when washing to keep them sparkly white. 

Washing Dark-Coloured Clothes

Dark-coloured clothes are best washed together because if there’s a colour transfer, there’s no need to worry because it will not be as noticeable. 

However, it’s always good practice to wash new clothes separately. After all, you don’t know if the colour is stable yet or if there is excess dye that needs to be washed off first.

TIP: Check the labels of your clothes! You may have garments that are colourfast – which means their dye wouldn’t bleed. In this case, even if they’re red or blue you can include them when you wash your white or light-coloured clothes. 

Other Things to Consider When Separating Your Laundry

Aside from the colour itself, you should separate your laundry by: 

The Type of Fabric

Different types of fabric need to be washed in different ways, which you can check on their care labels. 

Cotton, for example, can generally be mixed with other fabrics, but wool or delicate fabrics may require their own loads. Always pay attention to these labels to ensure your clothes receive the proper care.

Always check the wash care labels

How Dirty the Garment Is

Consider the level of dirtiness when sorting your laundry. If you’re washing your workout clothes with your pyjamas, think of the germs that your clothes are getting unnecessarily exposed to!

It’s best to wash very dirty clothes (like those worn outdoors) separately from cleaner clothes (like those worn at home). After all, mixing extremely soiled items with cleaner ones can lead to cross-contamination of dirt and stains.

A stain on a white shirt

Keep Your Clothes In Their Best Condition

Washing white and dark clothes together is not advisable due to the risk of colour bleeding. Who would want their white shirt to turn pink after being in the wash?

By following these tips and paying attention to your garments, you can keep your laundry looking fresh and vibrant while avoiding unwanted stains.

Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask them below!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you wash clothes that are both black and white?

To wash clothes that are both black and white, it’s best to separate them into two loads: one for the black items and one for the white ones. Washing them together increases the risk of colour bleeding and stains.

Is it OK to wash all clothes together?

It’s not recommended to wash all clothes together. To avoid colour bleeding and maintain your clothing’s quality, separate your laundry by colour and fabric type.

How do you remove colour bleed from clothes?

To remove colour bleed from clothes, try rewashing them immediately using cold water and colour-safe detergent. Alternatively, use a commercial colour-removing product following the instructions on the label.

What colours can you wash together?

You can wash similar colours together. Whites with whites, darks with darks, and light colours with light colours. This minimises the risk of colour bleeding.

Can I wash white with grey?

Yes, you can typically wash white with grey since they are similar in colour. However, it’s essential to ensure that the grey items do not bleed or have excess dye before mixing them with white clothes.

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