How to Keep Black Pants from Fading {12 Must-Know Tips}

Don’t you just love the look of brand-new black pants? They are dark and beautiful. Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, it only takes a few washes for them to fade and look worn out. Even the best quality black-colored pants and jeans will bleed if you do not take good care of them.

The secret to keeping black pants from fading is to wash them less often, hand wash them in cold water and inside out, and treat the water with things like vinegar, baking soda, dark color laundry detergent, or black coffee. With extra care, your black pants will retain their dark color for a longer time.

What Causes Black Pants and Jeans to Fade?

In some materials such as denim, the color pigments are not adequately attached to the fabric and this causes the pigment to easily run when the fabric soaks in water.

Therefore, regular washing or using the wrong washing method will always cause black pants and jeans to lose color. Regular washing rubs the cloth’s fibers together, causing the pigments to bleed. This case becomes accentuated when the pants are washed in a stuffed and rapid machine washer because this stresses the fabric’s structure.

Harsh detergents, hot water, or over dying in the dryer or the sun are known to break down the chemical composition of the color pigments, leading to loss of original color in any garment.

Unfortunately, your black jeans will always fade at some point but you can delay the process by adopting proper cleaning and drying guidelines and also taking care of your jeans. Here are some methods to prevent black jeans from fading:

A man in a faded black pair of jeans and the same man in a dark black pair of jeans. Our guide will help you know how to keep black pants from fading, how to keep black jeans from fading
                    Faded vs dark black jeans

How to Keep Black Pants from Fading

1. Wash your jeans and pants inside out

Turning your jeans inside out during laundry prevents excessive friction on the outside. It’s not only a good way to reduce tear and wear on your clothes but it also helps them to retain color. Since the dye is darker on the outside, you need to reduce friction on the outside which in turn reduces bleeding of color.

2. Wash your black pants separately

Washing your dark-colored jeans and pants separately helps to prevent them from bleeding onto other lighter-colored outfits. Who knows, perhaps the mixing of clothing with contrasting color pigments may cause them to react when they bleed, thus accelerating fading.

Washing similar colored garments will also enable you to treat them together with an anti fade detergent.

3. Keep a good rotation of pants so that you wear each less often

Owning several pairs of dark-colored pants is one of the surest ways to keep them looking new longer. It will take you longer before you return to specific pants in the lineup and so this means that you won’t have to wash them regularly.

Every time you wash a pair of black pants you reduce the color quality much more than any other color, so wearing them less often means less fading and infrequent need for replacement.

4. Wash in cold water

Hot water can cause fiber elasticity to break down and this may cause the color to run faster as compared to brighter clothing.

Washing non-colorfast clothes in cold water is the ideal method to maintain a dark shade. Cold water is gentle on fabrics so it does not fade the dye like hot water. Unfortunately, using cold water might not be ideal for removing stubborn stains and sweat.

5. Hand wash or machine wash in the gentlest cycle

When trying to preserve the color of dark clothes, the goal is to reduce friction when washing. If you are washing your pants by hand, rub gently, just enough to remove the dust or mud. In case you toss them into the clothes washer, adjust the setting to the gentlest cycle.

I think here it should go without saying that you should purpose to wear your precious dark-colored pants only to the places where they’re likely to gather easy-to-remove dirt such as dust. Not oils, sap, and chemicals that will require rough washing.

6. Air dry the pants indoors

Avoid sun exposure as much as possible when drying any of your non-colorfast outfits. If possible, air dry them indoors. Because of accelerated wear and tear, excessive sun can cause certain color pigments to evaporate, thus fading your garment.

In case you cannot dry them indoors, air dry them on a day when the weather is cloudy and take them back to them back indoors as soon as they stop dripping.

7. Use only a little detergent plus a tablespoon of salt or ½ cup of baking soda

Many detergent ingredients such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Formaldehyde, and Chlorine bleach are not only toxic to humans but also harsh on some fabrics and dyes. So if you are going to use detergent to wash your black pants, make sure that you use as little of it as possible.

Consider adding a tablespoon of salt or bi-carbonate of soda into the water to reduce the harshness of the detergent, thus preserving the fabric’s dye.

8. Use a laundry detergent specific for dark colors

If you decide to use detergent to clean your black pants, make sure that you go for a specific one. A laundry detergent such as the OxiClean Dark Protect Liquid Laundry Booster helps to bind the color pigments to the fabric, thus preventing normal bleeding and fading.

The OxiClean Dark Protect Liquid Laundry Booster, Laundry Stain Remover for Black and other Dark-Colored Clothes, 50 Fluid Ounces.

9. Soak in a solution of half-cup vinegar in a bucket of cold water

Vinegar is ideal for locking in the dye in fabrics. It has a mild acid called acetic acid that prevents fading of black cloth pants and jeans.

Before you start hand washing, add half a cup of vinegar to a bucket of cold water and soak the pants for about 30 minutes. After that, you can go ahead and wash your jeans. You will notice less color run happening because the color is already locked in.

The Wedderspoon Apple Cider Vinegar with Monofloral Manuka Honey & The Mother, 25 fl oz

10. Dusting and spot cleaning instead of washing

You do not have to wash your black pants every time you wear them if at all you want to keep looking new. Avoid washing them and instead, do some dusting and spot cleaning. You can use a damp piece of cloth to rub the dirty areas and later air the pants to dry. Dusting and spot cleaning prevents loss of color because you do not have to soak your pants in water.

11. Spot-treat the stains using alcohol or stain removers

If you have been wearing your pants for a long time without washing them, you will start noticing some not-so-nice odors. Instead of washing, you can clean the stains by rubbing alcohol or a stain remover instead of immersing your garment in water. After cleaning all the stains, put the pants in the freezer to remove the bad odor.

Resolve Spray 'n Wash Laundry Stain Remover 22 Ounce

12. How to Use Coffee or Tea to Prevent Black Clothes from Fading

Add brewed coffee or tea to the rinse cycle

If you notice that your black pants have started fading, it is time to add brewed coffee or tea. This is a natural dye so it is pretty safe to dye your pants at home without worrying about safety. It will help you to restore the dark color but it is not a permanent solution. You can do it several times a year just to retain the color.


The wrong methods and routine of caring for your black pants such as sun drying, harsh chemicals, and washing in hot water will fade them in a couple of months demanding a replacement. But the right methods such as washing them inside out, washing them separately and air drying, spot cleaning, and use of a dark color laundry booster like the OxiClean Dark Protect Liquid Laundry Booster will preserve the depth of color for a few or more years. Our guide has all you need to keep black pants from fading.

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