Everything Goths and Witchy Folk Ever Wanted To Know About Laundering Black Clothing

published Oct 29, 2019
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Hey you, Divine Being of the Night: If you want your clothes to stay as black as your soul, you’ve got to treat them right. Your favorite high rise skinny jeans? They might survive a few mindless cycles in the wash, but by the next new moon they’ll start looking worn and grey, doomed for the donation bin.

Luckily, washing them isn’t all that mysterious. Here’s how to get them through the laundry without bringing harm to everything else in the process.

Credit: Chloe Berk

We chatted with the bewitching Laura Goodman, Senior Scientist for Tide & Downy, and she shared a few tips and tricks to keep your darks looking fab, as well as an enchanted service called “Back to Black” offered at Tide Cleaners nationwide.

Button Buttons, Zip Zippers and Turn All Your Ghastly Garments Inside Out.

The less friction in the wash, the better. So before washing, turn your garments inside out before, buckle all the buckles, button all the buttons, and zip all the zippers. Mesh garment bags are also great for keeping anything with excess straps and ribbons from getting tangled up in the washing machine. Grab bags in a few different sizes for various sized items, place the garments inside, zip the bag, and simply toss in the machine.

Use the Right Products to Avoid an Unexpected Scare

If you’re short on newt’s eye or lizard’s leg, skip the cauldron all together and rely on the right mix of common household items to bring back that black magic. Try adding 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to the wash basin to help preserve your black clothing. Vinegar also helps set colors, and strips clothing of soap residue that has built up over many washes that makes your dark clothing appear faded. Worried about the smell? Don’t be! It evaporates as your clothing dries.

If you’re washing dark clothes, you’ll want to steer clear of powder detergents that won’t fully dissolve in cold water and leave chalky residue on your clothing. Goodman also suggests using a fabric conditioner like Downy to “protect clothes from a frightful amount of fading as well as dreadful stretching and fuzzing/pilling.”

Credit: Ashley Poskin/Apartment Therapy

And here are just a few more items to help you on your way to becoming The Monarch of the Dark (dark laundry, that is): Dry sponges are great for removing deodorant stains on black clothing. And black Rit dye helps bring faded clothing back from the brink of certain donation death.

Credit: zentradyi3ell/Shutterstock

Wash in Frigid Water, Only On the Full Moon

“Go ahead… wash in terrifyingly cold water, not only to protect dyes from leaching, but also to save energy. It’s really ghoul-d for the environment AND your wallet,” says Goodman.

If protecting the color is a priority, you might also opt to wash your garments less frequently. Wear black clothes more than once (unless you sweat excessively or your clothing picks up unpleasant smells) before laundering, and spot clean between washes.

Avoid the Dryer like the Plague

Instead of machine-drying, you should hang your dark-colored wardrobe to dry. “Avoid using the dryer if possible since tumbling in heat can cause clothing to fade faster,” says Goodman. “The dryer may also set in any missed stains from your spooky adventures.”

Air-drying is ideal, but not outside: The sun acts as a natural bleach and will quickly fade your dark clothing. Instead, opt for a drying rack you can stash indoors to keep dark clothing from fading—especially if you don’t have a low setting on your dryer.