Can You Wash Grey, Black, and White Together?

Washing grey, black and white clothes together.

Facing some trouble sorting the many shades of grey into whites and blacks? Or just too tired of seeing another lovely pair of matte-dark ripped jeans fade into oblivion?

Well, you can fret no more! With these simple tips and tricks, your laundry woes are over!

The Science of Washing Lights and Darks

As a general rule of thumb, when it comes to washing, you should not mix your lighter-colored fabrics (say, white or light grey) with the dark ones.

Scientifically speaking, this helps you avoid any risk of color transference — a process through which colors or dyes tend to transfer from darker hues or shades onto lighter ones.

Past research shows when you are washing colors together, there are many factors to look out for! For starters, it is essential to set your washing machine at the right temperature — usually, a cold water wash is less likely to result in a color transfer.

In terms of wash duration, it has been found that using a shorter wash cycle is better when washing light and dark colors together.

However, to REALLY step up your laundry game, you need to understand how different colors and materials may be more (or less) likely to release color during a wash. Here’s a practical guide to sorting and washing to help you get started!

Material Matters!

The type of material or fabric is a key determinant of how risk-averse or risk-prone your clothes are to color transfer. When new textiles are manufactured, different dyes are used for different fabric types. As per industry experts, some types of garments are more susceptible to color bleeding than others!

For example, on the one hand, denim or heavier garments are more likely to shed color. On the other hand, synthetic material like polyester or nylon is less likely to do so.

Sort Before You Wash

Sort all your laundry items in three simple steps:

Step One: Organise Your Laundry Load

Use a laundry basket with partitions or make your own color sorter at home.

Of course, you can also have a little fun and have multiple baskets and use colored name tags for different colors and types of clothing! (No better use for that label-maker just lying around the house!)

Step Two: Sort by Color

Now, when sorting your clothes, divide them into three groups:

  • The Darks will contain all your Blacks, Dark Greys, Deep Purples, Dark Greens, Navies, Reds, and so on.
  • Your pile of Lights is where all light or pastel-type colors will go — Cream, Beige/Skin, Soft Pinks & Blues, Mauve, Teal, etc.
  • The Whites will contain all your plain white clothing exclusively (for example, white briefs or vests).

Step Three: Sort by Type

Regardless of their color, your clothes will naturally fall into several different categories or types — from gym trousers, cotton T-shirts, and button-downs to warm wooly sweaters and silky lingerie.

Once sorted, it is good to have a separate wash for your delicates because they get stained more easily from color transfer due to the fine materials they are made of.

In addition, as we have previously mentioned, certain types of garments are more prone to ‘donating’ their dyes, just like some particular dyes are more transferable than others. Denim, for instance, is more likely to bleed dye or color than other fabric types. For this reason, it is always better to wash denim-made garments, like jeans, or denim shirts and jackets, as a separate load.

To Wash Together or Not to Wash Together?

Can You Wash Grey and Black Together?

To nip it in the wash, this will depend on how light or how dark your grey is. Dark grey fabrics are safe to wash alongside your black garments. Light greys should be sorted and washed with other pastel- or light-colored items.

Can You Wash Grey and White Together?

Ideally, no. You should always wash your whites separately to avoid any possibility of bleaching and color-bleeding.

Can You Wash Black and Grey Together? The Gray Area

And finally, here is the age-old laundry dilemma: “How grey is your grey?”

As a standard color for both men’s and women’s clothing, greys come in a broad spectrum of shades. According to some laundry aficionados on the Internet, grey is usually meant to be sorted with the darks. While that may be true, there is, of course, the grey area (pun fully intended!).

At the end of the day, how you sort your greys is going to be a judgment call! Some greys should ideally go into your dark pile, that is, with the navies, reds, and greens. Other lighter grey tones wash better with pastel-type colors like soft greens, baby pinks, and pale blues!

4 Tips for Washing Lights (Greys) & Darks (Blacks) Together!

When washing your colored grays and blacks together, remember to follow these simple pointers to help you avoid another episode of laundry drama on an otherwise perfect Sunday!

  1. If you are washing light greys and blacks together, ALWAYS use cold water! Doing this can help you minimize the possibility of stronger black dyes leaking onto your light grey or white fabrics.
  2. Use a cold water detergent for any mix of colors except for the whites. Readily available in stores, this type of liquid is specifically designed for low-temperature washing. Also, these detergents contain dye transfer inhibitors to help you prevent leakage and transfer of dyes during a wash.
  3. Separately wash any new colored item of clothing. We advise you to do this a couple of times before washing brand-new greys and blacks with your regular old pile.
  4. Time your washing machine to shorter durations! A quicker rinse can help you minimize the risk of color transfer. It will also help you save clean water and be more energy-efficient when using your washing machine.

The Washing Line

Alas! Once your jet-black Tees bleed color or your white briefs stain, we all know they are not the same. In other words, how you choose to sort and wash your clothes will also decide how long you get to wear them!

Laundry done right can help you save up on your clothing expenses. More so, it enables you to do a positive bit for the environment by contributing to the sustainable use and re-use of your clothes.

Our simple, easy-to-do routine is all you need to make your sorting and washing more fun and stain-free!

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