Laundry basket

What Does “Wash With Like Colours” Actually Mean?

There are plenty of riddles that clothing companies love to throw into garments that can make washing them a real headache. That is, unless you are up to date with all washing requirement by-laws, of course!

One of these riddles is “wash with like colours”, which can also be written as “wash with similar colours” or “wash similar colours together”.

What does it mean? Well, thankfully, wash with like colours is one of the simpler washing riddles.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to wash your clothes in a magical bathtub full of unicorn tears or anything like that!

Let’s see what wash with like colours really means and find out how it can affect your washing piles, shall we?

Clothing care label on denim

What Does “Wash With Like Colours” Actually Mean?

Wash with like colours simply means that you need to wash a garment with other garments of the same or similar colours.

Let’s say you have some blue denim jeans that say “wash with like colours”, for example. These should be washed with other blue denim jeans and shouldn’t be thrown in the wash with black or grey jeans.

But why? Why should you wash these special jeans with other jeans that are the same colour?

Well, when a garment says “wash with like colours” it means that the dye in that particular garment is likely to come out in the wash.

So, if you wash your blue jeans with some white jeans, for example, both pairs may become a light blue colour.

Basically, “wash with like colours” means wash with similar colours otherwise when the dye runs, it may ruin other garments.


Does Washing with Similar Colours Stop the Dye from Running?

No. when you wash your blue jeans with other blue jeans, the dye will still work its way out of the fabric. However, because you are washing your blue jeans with other blue jeans, you won’t notice any difference.

You may find that if any of your blue jeans are old and faded, the blue may be a bit more pronounced, but that is about it.

Jeans in washing machine

Should You Wash “Wash with Like Colours” Garments Alone First?

It is best to follow the clothing company’s advice on this.

If your new clothes have a label that states “wash with like colours” though, the colours will likely run in the wash. This means that the first few washes will bring out a large amount of dye.

So, if you are worried, wash your new clothes separately first. If you don’t, you may notice a massive change with any garments you wash with these new clothes.



That everything about “wash with like colours” clothes you need to know. So, go forth and wash with confidence!

Don’t forget to check out our other laundry articles while you’re here. We have loads of tips about washing on here and reviews of the best washing machines in the UK too. Happy washing!