Can You Dry Colored and White Clothes Together?

Everyone loves clean and unblemished clothes, which is why it’s important to know how to care for your family’s favorite outfits. Learning how to wash and dry white and colored clothes properly is a vital process during laundry. How you dry your clothes can affect how long they last and how they look. So, when drying your clothes, can you dry colored and white clothes together?

White and colored clothes shouldn’t be put together to dry, primarily because of colorfastness or color bleeding. Dark-colored clothes or even slightly damp dark-colored clothes can transfer dye or stains to white clothes. If you combine colors and whites, the whites will pick up some of the colors from dark clothes and have a grey hue.

Can You Dry Colored and White Clothes Together
Can You Dry Colored and White Clothes Together

Sometimes you can dry white and colored clothes together. However, this will depend on a few factors as discussed below. But the bottom line is, don’t mix them.

If you’re wondering why you shouldn’t dry white and colored clothes together, read through this article and learn amazing facts. Perhaps you’re afraid that you’ll turn that bright white T-shirt pink, but we’ve got you covered.

In this article, you’ll get to know what happens whenever you put white and colored clothes to dry together and also understand what colors you can dry together. Read on.

Can You Dry Colored and White Clothes Together?

I used to wonder whether the colors will mesh into one another if I wash my colored and white clothes separately, but dry them together. Or, maybe the white clothes will still stay white.

While it might sound perfect to mix different fabrics and different colored clothes to dry them together, doing so isn’t a good idea.

This is because if you mix both colored and white clothes in a dryer, you might not be able to prevent dye dry transfer from darks from turning white clothes dingy, or causing outright staining.

Colored clothes are made from dyes, which can bleed on white clothes or transfer from fibers due to agitation from the dryer’s temperature.

Some dyes especially those used in dark-colored clothes such as dark blue jeans or brightly colored towels can leach for several washes. If you dry them together with white clothes, they’ll distribute color to any white clothes they touch as they stumble together in the dryer.

Remember the clothes are still wet and so color bleeding is inevitable.

It’s safe to dry colored and white clothes together. Though, it also depends on how old your clothes are. The older the clothes, the less likely any stains will occur.

However, this can’t be the same with new clothing. New clothes tend to leak their dye more than older clothing because the dye is still new and fresh. Therefore, if you’re dry for example, a new dark shirt for the first time, it may not be in your best interest to throw it in the drier with a bunch of whites.

Never dry brand-new bold colored clothes together with white or light colored clothes. The deep bold color on clothing is more likely to bleed onto the white ones, more so when they are brand new.

Also, you can still dry colored and white clothes together especially if you’ve used a color catcher such as one from Shout during washing. Color catchers absorb the extra dye from everything so you should be able to dry everything together without worry.

But to be safe, always separate colored and white clothes while drying to avoid any possible mishaps.

What Happens if You Put White Clothes with Colored Clothes to Dry Together?

If you put your white clothes with colored clothes to dry together, you might encounter an expected outcome particularly on the appearance of some of your white clothes.

Below are some of the possible consequences you might experience if you insist on drying your white and colored clothes together.

  • The white clothes might pick up some of the dye and look greyish instead of bright white.
  • Bleeding of color into another garment: Also known as cloth bleeding, it’s when one fabric stains another, especially when the clothes are still wet. When you put white clothes with colored clothes to dry together, the dry will run off the clothes while they are wet and stain the water which then stains the white clothes.
  • You’ll get lint from all the colors: If you dry your white clothes and colored clothes together, you may see some staining or dye transfers from one garment to another and you will certainly get lint from all the colors. The lint will stick to anything that holds lint, so you might have a dark sweater with multicolor lint bits on it, or a light sweater with dark lint bits stuck to it.
  • You might not experience greyish hue or stains on white clothes if your dryer is lightly loaded with clothes. Try to load the dryer so the deeper colors, especially red things, don’t touch the whites, then close the door and start the program quickly.
  • Fabric damage: Most of the colored clothes are stronger and thicker fabrics whereas most of the white clothes are lighter. If you dry them together in a dryer, the clothes might wear or tear. For instance, a zippered winter coat or heavy wet jeans can rough up or possibly even damage lighter weight items, such as blouses or delicate lingerie.
  • Unwanted coloration: if you dry white clothes with colored clothes you might get a different outcome from the drier. For instance, if you dry brand new black underwear with white t-shirts, you’ll come away with a gray t-shirt. If you dry a brand new red bra with a white t-shirt, the t-shirt will turn pink.
  • Some clothes will have static electricity: Some clothes, whether white or colored, especially synthetic fabrics have static electricity after drying. The clothes become too fluffy. Knitwear and woolen clothes do not get completely dry in the dryer. Clothes with static wear out early and the edges of fabrics fray.
  •  Most delicate clothes shrink on repeated exposure to heat from the dryer.

If you air-dry white clothes and colored clothes together outside on a clothesline, instead of using a tumble dryer, the clothes might not experience the same outcome.

However, the best way to avoid some of the negative outcomes of putting white clothes and colored clothes to dry together is to identify which colors you can dry together. 

What Colors Can You Dry Together?

The secret to perfect clothes dry is to separate them according to colors. Dry the dark colors together, and white or bright colors in a separate load.

White clothes can be dried together with most of the light colors since the coloring is not intense. Meaning, it can’t dye white clothes.

On the other hand, dark colors are intense in coloring. The dye in dark-colored clothing can seep into lighter-colored or white clothing during the drying process and can turn white clothes or lighter clothes into off-shade colors and be ruined.

Hence, you should dry them separately.

Below are colors that can be dried together with white clothes;

White plus light colorsExplanation
White and light greyWhite colors can be dried together with grey. Light grey can’t cause clothes bleeding.
White and off whiteOff white color has no coloring that can transfer to white clothes
White and light blueSince any light color can dry well with white, light blue is a perfect one
White and sky blueSky blue color has no dye added to it.
White and pinkThe light pink color is more adaptable to white than dark pink

Besides white blending in well with light colors, dark-colored clothes can also be dried together.

Here are examples of dark colors that can blend together;

Dark colorsExplanation
Black and greygrey can be dried together with black, but if it’s dark
Black and yellowDon’t mix black with light yellow
Black and redThe red should be too light
Grey and blueDry grey color together with blue if the grey is not too dark
Red and maroonThe maroon color is closely related to red
Red and brownBrown can’t interfere with red as you dry. Choose dark brown instead of light.
Red and blueRed and blue make the part of RGB coloring and therefore, drying them together might have no implications.

Clothes with light colors only can also be dried together

Light colorsExplanation
Light blue and light greenLight blue and light green can’t stain or clothe bleed each other.
Red and light orangeOrange can easily be dried together with red, especially if it’s very light

Black and dark-colored clothes should primarily be dried together if they are brand new. However, you can, later on, dry them together with white clothes after several days of washing.

Annika Vallgren

The old housewives, in general, were in charge of everything in a household. From doing budget deliberations, meal planning to implementing actions and everything in between, they are simply the right person for the job, period. A major portion of their time was spent doing laundry, cleaning, and feeding her hungry children, who would come home tired from school. I believe we have a lot to learn from her. So, here you will find old housewife tips mixed with modern life hacks, knowledge about washing and cleaning, and much more the modern housewife needs!

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