Faded blacks happen, especially when you're dealing with natural fibers such as cotton. But when your dark clothes start to look a little gray, they're not necessarily a lost cause. Your best bet for restoring faded fabrics to their deep, dark newness lies in off-the-shelf liquid dyes. After prewashing your clothes, you can use liquid dye and a top-loading washing machine to return them to their former glory.
Fill It Up
Fill the washing machine with hot water. Thoroughly shake the liquid dye and pour in the amount recommended by the manufacturer, which will depend on the weight of the clothes.
Put on a pair of rubber gloves and mix the water with a clean wooden spoon. This helps ensure that the dye is evenly distributed.
Add the Clothes
Wet the prewashed clothes and place them in the dye. To help lock in the dye for natural fibers such as cotton or linen, add one cup of salt dissolved in four cups of hot tap water. For synthetics, such as nylon or silk, add a cup of white vinegar instead. Stir the additives in.
Wait and Wash
Allow the clothes to rest in the black dye for 30 to 60 minutes, and then start the machine's hot-water rinse cycle. Rinse them once again in the cold-water cycle to remove excess dye, and then wash them as usual with warm water and a mild detergent before hanging the clothes out to air dry.
Whether you've revitalized your duds with fresh dye or you're trying to keep the original garment looking new, prevention is key to keeping your blacks black.
Wash black and dyed items in their own laundry load, using cold water and a small amount of gentle, non-bleaching detergent. Before washing, turn black jeans inside-out to maintain their color. Just as when dyeing, adding a cup of white vinegar or 1/2 cup of salt to the wash helps your clothes retain their color.
When it's time to dry them, avoid machine drying whenever possible -- it may fade your blacks or give them a foggy, felted look. Air dry your clothes in the shade to keep colors bright and blacks dark.
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With a diverse professional background and a decade of experience as a freelance writer, Dan has contributed lifestyle content -- from fashion to travel to fitness and more -- to publishers including Chron, Fortune, Sony, GlobalPost, ModernMom, Moviefone, Salon.com, Techwalla and dozens of others.