Join our community of Solution Seekers!

How Do I Keep My Black Pants Black?

Real Simple answers your questions.

Black pants John Lawton
Q. I love the versatility of black plants, but mine fade too quickly. And please don’t say I need to take them to the dry cleaner. I just don’t have the time.
Mary Messinger
Albuquerque, New Mexico

A. Don’t wash them (as much). If you primarily wear your black pants indoors―in an office, for example―you can get away with wearing them four or five times between washings. A purse-size bottle of OxiClean Spray-A-Way Instant Stain Remover ($5 for two at drugstores) will help you spot-treat stains (blot; don’t rub) and avoid excessive washings. To eliminate chalky marks from makeup, deodorant, or powder, try a dry sponge like Miss Oops Rescue Sponge ($10,

When you are ready to do a load of laundry, turn the pants inside out to minimize color loss caused by the friction from rubbing against other clothes, then choose a short, delicate cycle. “The colder the temperature, the better, since warm water tends to break down fibers and fade clothes faster,” says Steve Boorstein, author of The Clothing Doctor’s 99 Secrets to Cleaning and Clothing Care ($5, A specialized detergent for cold-water loads, such as Tide Coldwater ($8 at drugstores), helps neutralize the color-sucking chlorine that can be found in tap water. Then hang or lay the pants flat to dry; don’t throw them in the dryer. And the next time you’re in the market for black trousers, look for a fabric that retains dark dyes, like a washable wool blend or nylon, as opposed to acetate or linen.

Ask a Question
Got a practical dilemma? Submit your question.

Your submission to, including contact information, gives us the right to modify, use, distribute, reproduce, publish and display the submission indefinitely in all media, means, and forms without any payment to you. You hereby represent that you haven't copied the content from a book, magazine, newspaper, or other commercial source. Your submission to, and your use of the website are subject to Real Simple's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

(For questions about your subscription, please visit the Customer Service Help Desk.)


Read More About:Ask Real Simple

Related Content

Eggs in a plastic ziplock freezer bag

Are There Any Foods You Can’t Freeze?

Most foods that contain a lot of water, such as celery and lettuce and certain cheeses. Read on for more details about which foods should never go in the freezer.

What do you think about this article? Share your own solutions and ideas

View Earlier Comments