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How to wash your coloured clothes to keep them bright

Care | 6 minute read |

Washing coloured clothes can sometimes seem a bit tricky, especially when you're unsure about the dos and don'ts. The vibrant shades add a lively spark to our wardrobes, but they also require a little extra care to maintain their bright appearance.


In this guide, we'll navigate through the simple steps to keep your coloured garments looking bright, even after numerous washes, and address the common question: 'What colours can you wash together?' to simplify your laundry routine.

Why it may be tempting to wash colours and whites together


At times, the laundry pile seems never-ending, and the temptation to wash colours and whites together grows. Especially on busy days, the idea of saving some time by combining loads may appear quite appealing. However, this shortcut comes with the risk of colour bleeding, which could turn your pristine whites into unintended pastels.

In the next section, we'll delve into why it's advisable to resist this temptation, and the consequences you might face if your colours and whites mix in the wash.

Why you shouldn’t wash colours and whites together


Why you shouldn’t wash colours and whites together 
Combining colours and whites may seem like a time-saver, but it's a practice best avoided. Here are three reasons why:

1. Colour bleeding: Colour bleeding is the most common issue. When mixed, the dye from coloured clothes can transfer to whites, leaving them discoloured.
2. Fabric damage: Different fabrics have distinct care needs. Mixing them can result in damage or unwanted stretching, affecting the longevity of your garments.
3. Detergent effectiveness: Detergents work optimally at specific temperatures. Whites and colours often require different settings, which could affect the effectiveness of your wash.
If pressed for time, a cold wash cycle might be a safer bet to prevent colour transfer, although it's not a foolproof solution.

Wash tips:

A cold wash cycle is safer because it helps to prevent colour bleeding. Cold water is less likely to cause the dye in coloured fabrics to bleed compared to warm or hot water. When the water is cold, the fibres in the clothing are less likely to loosen and release dye.

Therefore, if you find yourself in a pinch and decide to wash whites and colours together, opting for a cold wash cycle reduces the risk of colour transfer, helping to keep your whites bright and your colours vibrant.

See more tips to wash your coloured and white clothes:


How to wash colours to keep them bright: A step-by-step guide

How to wash colours to keep them bright: A step-by-step guide


To ensure your vibrant garments remain colourful and fade-free, we've outlined a series of essential steps to help guide you. By following these carefully curated guidelines, you'll not only preserve the vibrancy of your coloured clothing but also extend their longevity.

Step 1: Check labels

Care labels provide crucial information on how to wash each garment without causing damage. They indicate the maximum temperature, washing cycle, and whether or not the item can be tumble dried.


Step 2: Sort clothing

As mentioned, it isn't advisable to wash colours and whites together because of the risk of colour bleeding, therefore, sorting clothes into different loads based on colour is crucial. Separating whites, darks, and bright colours will help maintain the integrity of each garment's colour and prevent any colour transfer during washing. See more clothing care tips in our article.


Step 3: Pretreat clothes

Before you even begin to wash your clothes, it's also important to pretreat them. This process involves applying a stain remover to specific spots or stains before starting the washing machine. Pretreating is essential for effectively removing stubborn stains and ensuring that your clothes come out of the wash looking clean and fresh.


Step 4: Load the washing machine

Overloading the washer can result in clothes not being cleaned properly. Ensure there's enough space for clothes to move freely.


Check out our expert tips to how to use a washing machine.


Step 5: Add the right amount of detergent

Ensuring that you use the correct amount of detergent is essential for achieving clean clothes without any unwanted residue. Too much detergent can lead to a soapy buildup on your garments, which not only attracts dirt but can also make your clothes appear dull and dingy.


>>> Read more:
Which type of detergent is the best for front load washing machines?


Step 6: Set water temperature

Opting for a cold or lukewarm water setting is generally a safe choice for coloured garments as it effectively cleans your clothes while minimising the stress on the fabric's dyes, ensuring your colours remain vibrant for longer.


Step 7: Set cycle type

A gentle or regular cycle is usually suitable for coloured garments. These cycles offer effective cleaning while being gentle on the fabric. Avoid using overly harsh cycles, such as heavy-duty or prolonged washes, as they can cause unnecessary wear and tear on your clothes.


Step 8: Dry with low heat

After washing, how you dry your coloured clothes is equally important. High heat can have adverse effects, causing clothes to shrink and colours to fade. Opt for drying them on a low heat setting in your dryer or, even better, consider air-drying.


>>> Read more:
How to wash a jacket in washing machine: A step-by-step guide


Keep the colour in your life with Electrolux washing machines


Keep the colour in your life with Electrolux washing machines

Caring for your coloured clothes is easier with the right washing machine. Electrolux offers a range of washing machines that are not only efficient but also designed to protect the vibrancy of your coloured garments.


Check out our Washing machine buying guide to find more helpful tips on how to choose the right washing machine for your home.


Here are some features you can find in Electrolux washing machines:


Customised wash cycles

Electrolux washing machines often come with a variety of wash cycles, including those specifically tailored for coloured clothes. These cycles use gentle agitation and lower water temperatures to prevent colour fading while ensuring thorough cleaning.


Smart dosing

Electrolux's smart dosing technology ensures you use the right amount of detergent for every load. This helps prevent detergent buildup and keeps your coloured clothes free from residue, maintaining their brightness.


Cold wash option

Many Electrolux washing machines offer a cold wash option. Washing coloured clothes in cold water is gentle on fabrics and minimises the risk of colour bleeding, keeping your garments looking vibrant.


Efficient water usage

Electrolux washing machines are known for their water efficiency. They use just the right amount of water to clean your clothes effectively, reducing the environmental impact and saving you money on your water bill.

Advanced drum design

The drum design in Electrolux washing machines ensures that clothes are treated gently during the wash. This prevents excessive wear and tear on fabrics, preserving the colours and extending the lifespan of your garments.

Energy efficiency

Electrolux appliances are designed with energy efficiency in mind. Washing machines with high energy efficiency ratings not only save you money but also reduce your carbon footprint.

Discover how Electrolux washing machines keep your clothes last longer in this video:


Explore our high-quality front-load washing machines for your effortless clothing care:

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Frequently asked questions on washing coloured clothes in the washing machine

  • Can I use any detergent for coloured clothes?

    While most detergents are suitable for coloured clothes, it's important to choose one that is specifically designed for the type of washing machine you use (e.g., high-efficiency or standard).


    Additionally, always follow the detergent manufacturer's recommendations for the correct amount to avoid residue buildup on your coloured garments.

  • Should I dry coloured clothes in the sun?

    While sunlight can help freshen and disinfect clothes, excessive exposure to direct sunlight can cause colours to fade over time. If you choose to sun-dry your coloured clothes, do so briefly and avoid leaving them out for extended periods.


    Alternatively, consider shade drying or using an indoor drying rack to preserve the vibrancy of your colours.

  • Can I use bleach on coloured clothes?

    Using bleach on coloured clothes is not recommended, as it can lead to colour fading and damage the fabric. Instead, use colour-safe or oxygen bleach sparingly, following the product's instructions.


    Alternatively, opt for stain removers designed for coloured fabrics to address specific stains without affecting the overall colour.

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