Feeling a little faded? Try These 10 Black Clothes Detergents

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There’s something incredibly satisfying about a black outfit. It’s an easy way to get the Parisian look I personally go for all the time, without worrying too much about wrinkles. Also, with a little extra weight since Covid, I’m leaning desperately into the idea that black is a slimming color.

And so, over the past few years, I’ve amassed my fair share of black t-shirts, jeans, beanies, and even a pair of overalls. It’s easy to put together and I can pretend to look put together when I just rolled out of bed for my next Zoom meeting. But there is a downside to this uniform. Yes, you guessed it: discoloration. What was once my ultra-chic head-to-toe black ensemble is now a little more gray, which just doesn’t have the same Alain Delon (a famous French actor) effect that I always go for. On top of that, it’s pitiful trying to pair black jeans with a distressed, gray t-shirt. There is something wrong. It spoils the mood.

Why black clothes fade

Darker clothes contain dye. It’s a simple fact, it doesn’t matter if it has been modified before or after being assembled. Washing a darker garment will not only clean dirt and debris from its surface, but will also remove the dye very slowly. He is washing himself. Wear can also do this, as abrasions reveal light spots (see: raw denim) and the loosening of the fibers causes less refraction of light (making the shirt appear brighter). The sun, despite the tan of the skin, also fades colored clothes.

How Black Detergents Work

Detergents designed for darker clothes contain chemicals that slow down the process. They technically cannot restore the color, but they will trap the ink before it comes off the material. (I’ve heard coffee can bring back some of the lost black.) Some detergents tighten the fiber to reduce the overall vibrancy of the shirt.

The best detergents for black clothes

If you’re looking to save those perfectly inked Levi’s or that vintage band t-shirt, keep reading.


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Best Overall Detergent for Black Clothes

Renew Black 3D Liquid Detergent

This is perhaps the holy grail of detergents on this list, given the cult status of the Perwoll product. While other detergents prevent color fading, Perwoll actively renews faded color. Fading can occur in two ways: either the dye itself fades over time on a garment, or the fibers of the garment break and loosen, resulting in less light refraction (and therefore vibrancy). This solves the latter. By washing with Perwoll, the detergent coats the fibers to strengthen them a little and add a little more color to your otherwise dull pair of jeans.

  • Depending on how much black is in your wardrobe, this bottle could last you a while
  • nature friendly
  • Concentrated formula
  • Very expensive compared to other brands
  • Henkel (the parent company of Perwoll) faced allegations of animal testing
  • Product for use with black/dark garments only, not mixed loads

Best Upgrade Detergent for Black Clothes

Studio Liquid Laundry Detergent for Darks and Colors

While its orange bottled cousin may be the companion detergent, Studio by Tide takes it to the next level. Like others on the list, it flattens the fibers of your black clothes to minimize pilling, which in turn keeps your clothes less faded and the dye intact. This was launched in place of other discounted Tide darks detergents.

  • Paraben and phosphate free
  • The dosing cap is easy to follow with a tiered system
  • Good for bright colors too
  • Reviewers complain of an overpowering scent
  • Not completely chemical-free or hypoallergenic

The Best Affordable Detergent for Black Clothes

Woolite Darks Liquid Detergent

The ubiquitous favorite at most grocery stores, Woolite Darks is an easy-to-find and popular favorite for anyone worried about a little fading. It promises your favorite black t-shirt won’t fade even after 20 washes. It’s the trusted detergent whenever you need to wash that (new) vintage t-shirt you just bought, as its formula prevents pilling and stretching.

  • Easy to find in most grocery stores
  • Available in two sizes: 50 and 100 oz
  • Features Woolite’s EverCare formula, which helps prevent stretching and pilling in sweaters and heavier garments
  • Designed for synthetic and natural materials
  • Not hypoallergenic
  • Scent is a little dull and seems to fade faster than other competitors
  • More expensive than other leading detergent brands

Darks Pacs Laundry Detergent Pods

Woolite is back on the list, but in an easier-to-use form. If you’re like me and hate fiddling with some of the bulkier detergent bottles, then a detergent pack might be your best friend. What the Woolite Dark packs lack in size, they make up for in efficiency, offering the same fade-resistant technology as its liquid counterpart.

  • Packs are convenient for storage and measurement
  • Same formula as standard bottled detergent
  • Easy to find in most grocery stores
  • Not hypoallergenic
  • Being in a pack makes it difficult to account for smaller loads and single pieces
  • Pay more for less fillers than the liquid form

natural laundry detergent

Puracy’s popularity is due to its eco-derived ingredients that actually work. Puracy, while not as well known as other detergents, is no less effective at keeping clothes fresh. Blacks in particular do well with his formula.

  • Without chemicals
  • Ultra-concentrated
  • Fragrance-free, if you’re looking for that just-washed-in smell
  • May not be as strong against color fading as other detergents specially formulated for black clothes.
  • Harder to find in some stores

Darks Classic Liquid Detergent

This detergent somehow balances the old-school charm with the trendy, modern cottage heart. Branding aside, this is a good product for those who want an alternative to big box store selections. To that end, The Laundress is an innovative brand in an outdated space, offering a range of products that are as eco-friendly (all formulas are plant-based) as they are labor-intensive. And not to mention that black detergent has a nice clean smell that I wish I had in a candle.

  • This detergent is designed for dark and colored clothes, so your loads can get double duty.
  • A highly concentrated formula, the 33 oz bottle can make up to 64 loads
  • The bottle is 100% recyclable
  • Harder to find in more rural areas/may require shipping
  • High concentration formula makes it hard to know how much to use for a load
  • The smell fades quickly

Dark protection powder

Oxiclean’s reputation precedes it. For nearly a decade – remember those midnight Billy Mays commercials? – it is the best stain remover for laundry. Of course, they also have a fade protection product. Oxiclean Dark Protect is technically not a detergent, but it works with your detergent to maintain fabric integrity and reduce fading from pilling and pulling after prolonged washing. Depending on your washing machine, you sprinkle it either with the clothes in the basin itself or directly with the liquid detergent. Either way, it’s just that little extra you need to keep your blacks looking their best.

  • Use only when needed, so one box will last
  • Doubles as a stain remover
  • Reviewers with sensitive skin complain of irritation from this product compared to other alternatives
  • Has a scent that can rival your liquid laundry detergent
  • May not be for those with limited storage space

Liquid laundry detergent

A perennial favorite for many who love a clean home, Ms. Meyers is a trusted brand through and through. Their lavender laundry detergent might not say “blacks” in the title, but it doesn’t have to: it works on all the clothes you throw away. Because the formula relies on natural enzymes and plant derivatives, discoloration is less likely to occur after regular use. washing than a chemical-based detergent. It’s as much about prevention as it is about laundry maintenance, and Ms. Meyers is a good fit for both.

  • Not only formulated for colors, you can use it for any laundry load.
  • Highly concentrated, this 64 oz bottle can make approximately 64 loads
  • Can also be used as a stain remover for clothes
  • The smell is not strong
  • High concentration formula makes it hard to know how much to use for a load
  • Made with essential oils which may interact with some sensitive skin

Ultra Concentrated Laundry Detergent

Seventh Generation is known as one of the best-selling natural detergents and its ultra-concentrated formula is testament to its own popularity. With a self-dosing nozzle, a formula that relies on enzymes instead of chemicals, and a concentrated amount of 66 loads in a 23-ounce bottle, this product is a great all-around detergent. And, being naturally derived, it’s equally safe on dark and light tones, reducing color fading for any wash.

  • Without chemicals
  • Automatic dosing nozzle
  • Ultra-concentrated formula
  • Fragrance-free, if you’re looking for that just-washed-in smell
  • May not be as strong against color fading as other detergents specially formulated for black clothes.

Liquid laundry detergent

Tide remains the OG detergent and as such makes an appearance on this list. A complete favorite for college grads and grandmas, its popularity is down to one thing: it works! With its wide pour spout and easy-to-read measuring cup, the ubiquitous orange bottle is a good place to start when you start to realize your blacks might not be a bit dull, but you don’t want to break the bank. on a new detergent for now. It will do more good than harm.

  • Good for all types of clothing
  • The dosing cap is easy to follow with a tiered system
  • A clean and fresh scent
  • Non-hypoallergenic and chemical-based
  • May not be as strong against color fading as other detergents specially formulated for black clothes.

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Elizabeth J. Harless