wash white and dark clothes

What Happens When You Wash White Clothes with Dark Clothes?

Mixing light and dark clothes in your washing machine and running them through any type of wash cycle is never a good idea. 

Why Should You Never Mix Colours in the Wash?

prevent colour run on white clothes

Clothes that contain dye and colours are highly likely to bleed dye during a wash cycle, especially a hot wash, and the dye could seep into any lighter garments and leave them with either the hue of the dye that bled or simply leave them with a dull, grey tinge. 

Many coloured clothing items will not need to be washed at a high temperature, especially as hotter water will be more likely to cause the colours to run. 

However, white clothes are usually best to wash in a hot cycle as a hotter wash will keep them brighter and whiter for longer. 


Which Colours Are Most Likely to Run?

colour run on clothes

Red clothes are the most likely to bleed and cause other items to be stained. This is because red dye is a direct dye and is not fibre reactive. 

Most items made with fibre reactive dyes are less likely to run or cause your other items to be stained. 

Jeans are also highly likely to bleed if they are new, especially if they are dark denim. 

If you’re concerned about your new jeans in the wash then be sure to turn them inside out and run them on a cold wash, as a hot cycle could cause them to shrink. Keeping them inside out also stops the zippers from snagging on other clothes. 


How Should You Separate Your Clothes?

laundry types

The easiest way to split your loads would be to put white shirts, underwear, and socks into one pile. This pile should be items that would be able to run on a hot wash without being too agitated or shrinking. 

If you have any other very light items, such as tans and beiges, or pale pinks and purples. Never wash anything with colour that is newly purchased with your whites though. 

A dark wash would consist of anything that is black, grey, blue, red or any other darker colour. These should ideally be run on a colder wash cycle as the colours are less likely to bleed in cold water. 



If you’re ever uncertain whether the item you’re considering can go into the light pile, do not risk it. It is best to keep your whites completely separated if you can, but if you’re wanting to add in other items, be sure to wash them on their own first.