Colored clothing looks nice when the colors are bold and vibrant. But once their colors fade, you start getting anxious about the drab and unappealing look these faded clothes can give you.
To make your garments look their best again, here are the best household hacks to restore faded clothes.
4 Effective Hacks to Restore Color in Garments
Hack 1: Revive your clothes with salt
Are you worried about looking shabby because your clothes look old?
Here are three different ways how you can use salt to bring life to your faded clothes so you’ll never look unpleasant again.
One way you can use salt is to add it to your wash load.
Begin by placing your faded garments in the washing machine. Next, put in your regular detergent at the right amount.
If your garments look faded after wearing and washing them a few times, detergent accumulation could be to blame, especially if you’re using washing powder.
Adding salt to your usual wash cycle can help dissolve the buildup, making your garments seem new again.
- Pour ½ cup of salt into your laundry during the wash cycle. In addition to bringing back your garments’ colors, salt can also prevent new clothes from fading as well.
- If you want, you can throw in salt to each wash cycle.
- Ensure you use regular table salt since sea salt may not dissolve completely in the wash because they are coarse.
- Take your clothing out and inspect the color after the cycle is completed.
- If you’re satisfied with the outcome, you can either air-dry your clothes or put them in your dryer.
If your garments still appear faded, you can try another hack instead.
- Another workaround with salt is soaking your faded clothes in salt water before washing them. All you need to do is put ¼ cup of salt into a bucket of water, throw in your faded garments, and let them sit overnight.
- Make sure you soak your faded garments in warm or cold water, never hot.
- Also, another hack you can try with salt is putting your faded garments in a drum or container with water. Sprinkle your clothes with some salt, then cover the container with ice.
- Allow it to work for several minutes before washing the items as usual in the washer.
Hack 2: Use vinegar to counter detergent accumulation
Pour 1/2 cup or 120 milliliters of distilled white vinegar into your washer.
If you’re using a top-loading washer, you can add the vinegar directly into the load. But if yours is a front-loading washer, you can mix the vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser.
Your faded garments will look more dazzling since the vinegar will break up minerals from hard water or any detergent.
For even deeper cleaning, you can soak the faded garment in a mixture of 1 cup or 240 milliliters distilled white vinegar and 1 gallon or 3.8 liters of warm water for around 20-30 minutes before washing it.
Now, your faded garment is ready for washing!
Start your washing machine, pour in laundry detergent, and drop your faded garments in it. In many instances, all it takes to make your clothes look brighter is soaking them in vinegar and washing them.
Set the washing machine on a usual cycle appropriate for the clothes you want to brighten. For example, if you’re washing delicate materials like lace or silk, you should use a mild wash. A standard wash works for made to last textiles such as denim or cotton.
Don’t worry about the smell of vinegar because it will wash out in the rinsing cycle.
Next, hang your garments to dry or put them in the dryer based on the recommendations on the care labels.
If a lingering odor persists, hang the garment to dry outdoors or use a fabric softener dryer sheet to dry it. Once it’s dry, the smell should have already vanished.
Hack 3: Dye your faded garments to restore color
First, read the care tag to see if the faded garment has a dyeable fabric or not.
If you have clothes that are synthetic and natural fibers combined, they may not appear as dark or bright as apparel made of all-natural fibers.
If your faded garments are spandex, acrylic, polyester, or metallic fibers, or if the label reads “Dry Clean Only,” they will most likely not accept dye at all.
But some textiles absorb dye easily than others. These garments are at least 60% natural fibers, such as silk, linen, cotton, wool, or ramie.
Nylon and rayon also take dye well. They happen to be very porous and won’t shrink even though they are synthetic.
If possible, use a dye that is as near to the original color. Take your faded garment to a fabric or craft store to compare its fabric to the dyes available. Look for the nearest match you can to achieve the most natural-looking outcome possible.
To make the dye
When you’re ready to dye, prepare a container of hot water, around 120–140 °F or 49–60 °C.
If you prefer hotter water, you can simmer water on your stove to around 200 °F (93 °C).
Fill in a bucket, large pot, or tub with hot water. If you have a top-loading machine, you can fill it with water and set it at the hottest temperature.
Next, dissolve the salt and the dye in a cup of warm water. The salt will help set the dye better.
Refer to instructions on the dye’s packaging to figure out the amount to use. Generally, you need around ½ bottle of fabric dye and ½ cup of salt for every 1 lb or 0.45 kg of fabric.
Mix the salt and dye well. Then, pour the mixture into the container and begin stirring with tongs or a long-handled metal spoon.
Soak your faded garments for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring constantly. Push the garments down into the water with your spoon or tongs until they’re soaked.
Stir the garments at least every 5-10 minutes to make the dye spread evenly and prevent it from being blocked by any folds in the garments.
Ensure that you keep the dye away to avoid irritating your hands and skin. Always wear thick gloves and old clothes.
Protect your work area by using newspaper or trash bags to cover your table. If the dye splashes, it doesn’t stain your counter, table, or flooring.
Also, keep some paper towels or old rags on hand if you need to wipe any spills.
Once the specified time is over or when the garments look dark enough, remove them from the dye using your spoon or tongs.
Thoroughly rinse them in cold running water until it runs clear.
So that the dye doesn’t discolor your sink or tub, clean it right away!
If you’re satisfied with the outcome, turn the clothes inside out to keep their color and throw them in the washing machine. Set the washer in a cold cycle.
You’ll lose more dye in the washer even if you’ve previously rinsed the garments by hand, so don’t put other garments in less they’ll be discolored as well.
Dry the garments by hanging or putting them in the dryer. In either case, check the garments afterward to make sure they’re dyed evenly.
You can dye the garments again if necessary.
Hack 4: Use other household ingredients for various colors
To make your white garments look bright again, try adding baking soda as it works best on whites. Pour 1/2 cup and your ordinary detergent in your wash load, and you’re good to go.
Another way to brighten white clothes is by washing them with hydrogen peroxide. It’s tempting to bleach your whites if they’re faded, but this can weaken the garment over time. Just add 1 cup to your regular detergent, and then wash your garments as usual.
To revive black clothes, immerse them in strong black coffee. All you need to do is brew two cups of coffee, then add in the coffee once the rinse cycle has begun.
Allow the cycle to finish before hanging your clothes to dry. Do not machine dry since it fades black garments.
Turmeric is a natural way to freshen yellow clothes. Simmer enough water, then add a cup of salt. Immerse the garment for half an hour in the hot, yellowish water. Once the fabric is cool, wring it out.
Next, empty the pot and add 2-3 tablespoons of turmeric and extra water. Simmer for a few minutes before adding the cloth you want to revive.
Remove the pot from the stove and soak the garment for 30 minutes. Pull the garment out afterward and rinse it under running water. Air dry after wringing.
You don’t have to keep buying new clothes if you can revive the color of the ones you have even if they’re already faded.
Keeping your clothes brighter is easier if the best household hacks to restore faded clothes mentioned above are followed. Your clothes will look new once more!
Jessica Oliver is a fashion enthusiast with more than ten years of experience in the industry. She previously managed her own clothing store in New York before becoming a mother of three. With a passion for sustainability and a desire to share clothing care and recycling tips.