How to wash black clothes to avoid faded look (& restore the dark color)

restore faded black clothes

Black is the absence of any color. When other colors like white and grey creep into it (as lint, dye loss, etc.), we call the black faded.

Some people wear distressed worn-out black like a trophy, and may even pay a premium for special fading in black clothes.

this fading is welcome in the black jeans

But most dread this addition of colors, which dilutes the strength and elegance that black projects. On most clothes the faded black clothes gives off a careless, unprofessional, slouchy impression.

This post is about restoring the dark black color to black clothes by dyeing – naturally and using dyes, as well as by other means.

How does black clothes lose their color? And How to prevent this

Most black clothes start to lose their deep dark color and luster (it has a luster) with wearing and washing. It is usually black denim that loses its color the most, like this. Black t-shirts are also not behind.

The prints on them may still look vivid, but the color around looks faded. Black clothes seem to attract all the lint in the whole world and everything else.

What if you could bring them all back to life?

The first thing you should do is to be careful when washing black clothes.

How to wash black clothes to avoid discoloration

We are always careful when washing white clothes lest they catch some dye etc. from other colored clothes. But black clothes also need minimum attention – true, they do not catch colors; but fading is an equally horrible thing. It is the cotton fabrics that lose color this way. Synthetics do not lose dyes much.

Do not wash them with light-colored clothes. Especially those with pilling fabrics.

Do not put laundry detergent directly on them.

Do not use harsh laundry detergents – they will fade the bright black color

Remove lint

Lint can appear as an overlay over black fabric making it look faded. Try to remove the lint with a lint brush, as a first measure. Checkout this post on preventing and removing lint from clothes for some tips.

Restoring the clothes to the initial black color

Dyeing the clothes black again is the next obvious solution to already faded clothes. 

This would mean no premature goodbyes and no waste of good money that you can use for something else.

You can dye with the chemical dye available in shops or use natural dyeing solutions.

But you have to know that these methods can only be used with all black clothes – if your clothing has other prints in other colors, the dye will latch onto them too.

Natural Dyeing in Black

The easiest method is to use a Tannin solution. We all know tannin – that which gives color to tea. It is also present in a lot of things in nature like nuts and barks. Walnut hulls, acorn nits, chestnut, quebracho, tara, and oak galls are good sources of tannin.

tannin sources are oak galls, acorn nuts, chestnut barks

These things are boiled with water  – it is best to make them into powder before boiling – to extract the tannin present in them.

If you are using this method, You will also need about a cup of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of rust in addition to the tannin solution to dye your fabric black.

Tannin needs to be used with iron for it to work as a permanent solution; you can use rust from old nails for this. You also need a color fixative so Lemon juice or vinegar solution is used for this – that explains the ingredients list.

rusted iron pieces for dyeing

Scrape off the rust from old nails or keep rusted nails in water for a week or two; mix this with the vinegar. Add this to the tannin, and you have a perfect black dye solution.

This can even dye white fabric black, so would it not do the magic for your old black clothes?

How to dye faded black clothes with Chemical Dye

Using hair dye to dye your clothes

If it is pure black clothing, you can use hair dye – if you have black hair which is becoming silver, you may already have it at home. It is an inexpensive option to dye fabric black. Not the most permanent one, because as you know, with repeated washing, hair dye fades. 

Permanent dyeing

To restore the blackness of your pants permanently, you can use the regular fabric dye, of course. Most fabric dyes are hot water dyes. Just boil with the dye and get your color back. This is how it goes

You need to gather a good Black dye first. Which dye is used depends on your fabric. Most store-bought dyes work well for natural fabrics and blends. For synthetics, you need special dyes. So look out for jeans with a high percentage of spandex – the spandex fibers will resist taking normal dyes. 
Rubber gloves
Large pot or tub and something to mix the dye
Table salt or dye fixative

Step 1 Mix Dye and salt in hot water

Fill a large pan/pot (dedicated to dyeing) halfway full with very hot water and carefully empty the contents of the dye packet into it. Stir in a half cup of salt until it dissolves. If you’re using dye fixative, follow the directions on the bottle.

Step 2 Prepare the fabric.

Wash your clothing if soiled. If not, just soak the fabric and wring all water out – This is done to make the dye absorption better.

Step 3 Immerse the clothing into the dye.

Dip the clothing into the pan slowly, allowing them to absorb the water. Gently swirl the clothing in the saucepan to evenly disperse the color. Let it rest there for half an hour or so (follow instructions on your dye packet)

Allow the material to soak in the dye overnight for a darker tint.

Step 4 Rinse

The fabric should then be then washed separately and dried. Use cool water for this. Rinse until the water runs clear. You can use detergent to wash after the rinsing is done.

You will have to use gloves through the whole process or will live to regret it (at least for a few days because it is a black dye!)

Spot dyeing to remove faded patches

What if your black clothing has only portions that are faded? What is the best way to make them black? Solutions involve using fabric paint and also sharpies.

If you do not have black fabric paint, mix different colors to get black. You can get black by mixing Red + Yellow + Blue colors.

Related posts :How to wash dark clothes; How to prevent fading in clothes; How to dye fabric.

Updated on October 22, 2022 by Sarina Tariq

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