How to Wash Different Fabrics and Colours

How to Wash Different Fabrics and Colours

If you need a hand when washing silk, cotton or wool clothes, or you want to be an expert at fabric care and know how to wash different colours together, Tide is here to help. Read our comprehensive guide and learn how you can pay special attention to each item when doing the laundry, so both you and your fabrics can look their best all the time.

How to wash the most common fabric types

Different fabric types may need different care, so separating your garments by fabric is always in important step you can take to ensure their health and longevity, and help them maintain their size and colours. Checking the fabric care label before washing is also crucial, as it contains all the special information you will need to take care of your clothes. Read on to discover how to care for the most common fabric types.

Natural fabrics

Breathable, comfortable and good for the environment, natural fiber fabrics are easy to clean, but their individual characteristics determine how they should be cared for. Let us take you through the different laundry methods recommended for washing cotton, wool and silk clothes.


Cotton is one of the most common fabrics, inexpensive and durable, and usually, clothes made out of cotton don’t require special care. For an efficient clean, wash your garments with Tide Double Power by hand or in a washing machine.

Denim is generally made from cotton or a blend of cotton and another fiber, so when it comes to washing denim garments, less is more. It’s a relatively tough material, so you don’t have to wash a pair of jeans every time you wear it.


Wool is made from the fur of the sheep, and is very warm and durable. Wool fabrics can usually be washed in a machine, but make sure to check your garments’ care label for specific instructions. To best take care of wool clothes, wash them with a detergent like Tide Matic 4-in-1 PODS®, then let them air dry.


Silk is known as a high quality and expensive material, and it requires special care. To preserve its longevity, make sure you check your garments’ care label to see if there are any specific instructions, and use Tide Matic 4-in-1 PODS® for the best result.

Synthetic fabrics

Synthetic fabrics are great, because they’re all-purpose. Wash them in warm water with Tide Matic or Tide Ultra when you’re handwashing, but try to hang them out to dry in a lower temperature to avoid your garments becoming exceedingly wrinkled.


Most often found in winter sweaters, acrylic is machine washable in warm water. Although, since it’s often paired with other fibers, it’s essential to check the fabric care label before you start your wasing machine. In addition, acrylic garments also tend to pill heavily, this is something to look out for.


Nylon is made from one of the most commonly used polymers in the world. Similarly to other synthetic materials, caring for nylon is fairly easy. You can wash your nylon garments safely by hand or in a washing machine, on both cold and warm water settingm using Tide Double Power. However, in case of white nylon fabrics, it’s best to stick with a cold wash.


Often made from recycled soda bottles, polyester is less durable than nylon, but it’s still plenty strong. Its low cost and wrinkle resistance make it one of the most commonly used fabrics in the world – it’s typically used together with cotton to make shirts.Polyester clothing is usually machine washable on a warm cycle, but it’s best to always check the fabric care label for further information.

Tips for washing clothes of different colour

Now that you know how to wash different fabrics, it’s time to learn how to wash your white, light- and dark-coloured clothing properly to keep your clothes looking their best for longer.

Sort your clothes by colour

If we wash an item with a dark colour together with a light-coloured item, the darker tones may transfer onto the light item. This can be especially inconvenient in case of white garments, so make sure you sort your clothes ideally into three piles before putting them into your wasing machiner:

  • White clothing

  • Light-coloured clothing

  • Dark-coloured clothing

Whites should always go separately

White laundry is the most receptive when it comes to colour bleeding, so make sure to always wash plain white clothes and white clothes with light-coloured patterns in a separate batch. This way you can avoid your favourite shirts turning grey slowly over time from dark-coloured clothes in the washing machine. When it comes to keeping your clothes white and bright, nothing beats Tide Double Power. For further information, read our detailed guide on how to wash white clothes.

What are light-coloured clothes?

Light-coloured clothes are less likely to make colours transfer, so they’re perfectly safe to be washed together. That means light-blue, light-brown, pink, light-green, lavender, yellow, beige, cream, orange, fuchsia and other pastel shades can go into the light-coloured pile with light grey and garments with white bacground prints.

What are dark-coloured clothes?

Garments with colours like black, grey, dark-brown, dark-green, olive, purple, indigo, navy blue, dark-red, crimson, etc. have dye in them that can easily seep into lighter clothes during the laundry process, so it’s best to wash them separately.

Can you wash different colours together?

Although it might save you some time and energy, washing different shades of colours together is not a good idea, since the colour bleeding can easily ruin your clothes. If you can’t avoid having to wash different colours together, however, make sure you always use cold water, since it can mostly prevent transference.

You should also keep in mind that clothes should be separated by fabric type too. Mixing denser fabrics with lighter ones can wear out the lighter clothing quicker and easier from the constant friction with the harder and denser fabric.

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